“Rhapsody in blues tones” by Georges Gershwin
“Lady Jazz, adorned with intriguing rhythms, walked a dancewalk through the whole world. But nowhere did she meet a knight who would introduce her as a respected guest into the higher musical community. George Gershwin did this miracle. He boldly dressed this extremely independent and modern lady in classic concert clothes. However, did not diminish the charm. He is the prince who took Cinderella’s hand and openly proclaimed her a princess, provoking the wonder of the world and the rage of her envious sisters, ”said American conductor Walter Damrosh about his compatriot.
The magic of music
George Gershwin’s parents did not violate customs laws when, at the end of the century before last, they moved from Odessa to hospitable New York. The family “violated” another law – the law of social stratification, when, in an incomprehensible way, the children of a completely different flight appeared in the family of Maurice, a shoemaker in a factory of women’s shoes, and Rosa, the daughter of a furrier,. George was the second child in the family. Jacob Gershovitz was born on September 26, 1898. Parents changed their name to Gershwin long before their children became famous.
At school, George was not a diligent student and studied mediocre, which upset a mother who wanted to see her children as school teachers in the future. In 1912 he was enrolled in the Commercial School, but he did not become a businessman either. composer George Gershwin Fate prepared a completely different path for the boy.
Friends of the boy often observed that the street champion on skates sometimes ceases to notice the environment. The reason was always the same – music. The deep impression on the 8-year-old George was made by Max Rosenzweig, later a famous violinist in America. He played Dvorak’s Humoresque at a school concert. An hour and a half after the concert George was waiting for the musician, not paying attention to the pouring rain, and, noticing that he had left the other way, rushed to his house.
They became friends. In the house of Rosenzweig, George himself learned to play the piano, picked up popular melodies by ear. One can imagine the surprise of the parents when it soon became clear that in a short time he had been so successful in playing the piano that he left his brother Ira far behind. To the great joy of both, the parents decided that George should do the music.
George Gershwin’s Way to the Dream
George Gershwin and his brother Ira George and Ira Gershwin
The young musician had to learn at several piano “schools”. At first, he was tormented by three old ladies, the fourth teacher did not engage in technology at all, but raised his student in a potpourri of operas. And only Charles Hambitser turned out to be exactly the musician that Gershwin needed. Since 1915, George, according to his recommendations, took lessons in harmony and orchestration.
One fine day, a fifteen-year-old musician appeared before the manager of Remik & Co. Publishing House. George Gershwin played the piano, not even counting on success. However, surprisingly, he was accepted to the position of pianist-popularizer with a payment of $ 15 per week.
“Why do you play Bach Fugues, do you want to become a concert pianist?” – asked colleagues at work in the store. “No,” George answered, “I study Bach in order to write popular music.”
Debut, failure and faith
In 1916, the fashionable revue singer Sophie Tucker became interested in Gershwin’s song “When the Composer George Gershwinva Wanted” and successfully performed it. Gradually, he became famous in the music circles of Broadway. In February 1918, the young composer met with Max Dreyfus, who headed the Harms publishing house. He offered the composer a job with a pay of $ 35 per week. George could not even dream of a better one at that time. There was no need to sit in the office or learn parties with singers. Only one thing is needed – to write.
On Monday, December 9, 1918, George Gershwin made his debut on Broadway, which composer George Gershwin turned into real torment for him. The stage life of the revue ended that same week – on Friday. The producer could not provide the composition of the female troupe announced on the poster, and this decided the fate of the revue.
The name of George Gershwin in the 1920s increasingly began to appear on the pages of newspapers and magazines. On September 6, 1922, Beryl Rubinstein, a well-known American pianist and teacher, in a newspaper interview called Gershwin “an outstanding composer.” “There is a spark of genius in this young man,” he maintained. “I really believe that America will be proud of him in the near future …”
Gershwin’s successful experiment
From January 7 to February 4, 1924, Gershwin’s apartment on 110th Street was under siege. The guarded silence was occasionally interrupted by short remarks. They worked like this: Gershwin wrote the rhapsody clavier for two pianos, leaving empty lines for solo improvisations by the pianist. As soon as the next page was finished, it was taken by Fred Grof (arranger of the Whiteman Orchestra) and orchestrated music for jazz composition. He then rehearsed them with his orchestra. And finally, “Rhapsody in Blues” was born. Composer George Gershwin