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Thread: A Concerto, by George!

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    Senior Member brianvds's Avatar
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    Default A Concerto, by George!

    An interesting article about the genesis of Gershwin's piano concerto:

    Music History Monday: A Concerto, by George!

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    I've loved Gershwin's concerto from when I first heard it in my youth. It has this sense of pizzazz and raw energy, from the Charleston infused opening to the bluesy middle movement and the modernism meets Broadway finale. Gershwin had this natural talent which the likes of Berg, Ravel and Stravinsky admired. He did have some formal training (including with Rubin Goldmark, who had studied under Dvorak) but he did feel the need to brush up by studying a textbook when composing the concerto. I really like Walter Damrosch's description of the piece, they certainly don't write like this anymore:

    “He [Gershwin] had done it boldly by dressing this extremely independent and up-to-date young lady in the classic garb of a concerto. Yet he has not detracted one whit from her fascinating personality. He is the Prince who has taken Cinderella by the hand and openly proclaimed her a princess to the astonished world, no doubt to the fury of her envious sisters.”

    Incidentally, Copland's concerto which was written the following year provides an interesting contrast to Gershwin's one. While Gershwin's has this sense of optimism, Copland's comes across as being quite ambiguous. One speaks to the excitement of the city, the other to its alienation. Copland reminisced about when he met Gershwin at a party, and he said that they had nothing in common. The differences in character of the two composers is reflected by their concertos.

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