Author Topic: Gershwin's Galligaskins  (Read 17068 times)

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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #120 on: April 03, 2020, 03:49:03 PM »
Right!  I have three CDs of Finnissy's Gershwin arrangements...fantastic stuff.  Edit: this one below, by pianist Nicolas Hodges (no relation to me  ;D), is marvelous.
 :)
--Bruce
So, is this album strictly piano?  Just curious.   :)  Am not familiar with the pianist's work.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #121 on: April 03, 2020, 03:59:33 PM »
Wife & I are BIG FANS of American popular song from the first half of the 20th century - Gershwin, Kern, Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, and so many others - have the complete Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks, if you like vocals - all, including Gershwin, are excellent.

I agree 100%!  If you do not know of the book American Popular Song by Alec Wilder (a good songwriter in his own right) then it will be a treat for you to read. 



American Popular Song by Alec Wilder


Also, there is a (or used to be a) series from the Smithsonian devoting a CD to different songwriters.  I got them all and they feature performances of their greatest songs from when they were first featured in a show or film, or in whatever manner they were originally premiered.  Not only are there hundreds of great songs but valuable recordings of singers and stars as well.



American Songbook Series

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #122 on: April 03, 2020, 04:01:30 PM »
I should say that, years ago (now) I had became firmly jaded against the Rhapsody in Blue. I could not with any hope of accuracy report why.  Furthermore, while as a general thing my feeling was that, if I never heard the piece again, that would be just fine by me—nevertheless, I really enjoyed its use in the soundtrack of Woody Allen's Manhattan.  Enjoyed it without snickering, genuine, pure enjoyment.  But otherwise, instant channel-switch.

The recording which snapped me out of it, and which remains one of the my favorite versions of the piece, is Marcus Roberts' jazz combo version:

[flash=560,315]http://www.youtube.com/v/Xrs135MAvJc[/flash
Hmm...if there was a fainting emogi, I would have inserted it here.   ;)  For me:  I don't listen to him often, but boy, it does hit the spot!  It's quintessentially American...big, bold, and jazzy wow!  You gotta love the guy!   ;D  My views, I know.  Need to search out the 'jazz combo' version.

Best wishes to all,

PD
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 04:07:03 PM by Pohjolas Daughter »

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #123 on: April 03, 2020, 04:09:01 PM »
I agree 100%!  If you do not know of the book American Popular Song by Alec Wilder (a good songwriter in his own right) then it will be a treat for you to read. 



American Popular Song by Alec Wilder


Also, there is a (or used to be a) series from the Smithsonian devoting a CD to different songwriters.  I got them all and they feature performances of their greatest songs from when they were first featured in a show or film, or in whatever manner they were originally premiered.  Not only are there hundreds of great songs but valuable recordings of singers and stars as well.



American Songbook Series
I am not familiar with that CD nor the book; that said, I do also have a soft spot for Rogers and Hart for instance.   :)

PD

Offline San Antone

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #124 on: April 03, 2020, 04:16:59 PM »
I am not familiar with that CD nor the book; that said, I do also have a soft spot for Rogers and Hart for instance.   :)

PD

The Smithsonian series has a CD for them:



There is also a 5CD box from the Smithsonian of this music:



It comes with a fantastic book discussing the songwriters and songs in detail.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #125 on: April 03, 2020, 04:45:50 PM »
One more post on The American Popular Songbook, arguably the best current interpreter of this repertory is Michael Feinstein.  He's recorded 28 studio albums often focusing on a single composer's work (several on Gershwin), or a theme.  Not everyone will like his voice or style, but he has spent his career preserving, advocating for and performing this catalog of classic songs.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #126 on: April 03, 2020, 04:57:12 PM »
One more post on The American Popular Songbook, arguably the best current interpreter of this repertory is Michael Feinstein.  He's recorded 28 studio albums often focusing on a single composer's work (several on Gershwin), or a theme.  Not everyone will like his voice or style, but he has spent his career preserving, advocating for and performing this catalog of classic songs.

I'll have to check him out. The "Great American Songbook" is a huge gap in my knowledge/appreciation of music. If I know any of these tunes, it's usually because they've become jazz standards after the fact. But a lot of these songs are really beautiful, so I think I owe it to myself to spend more time with this kind of music.

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #127 on: April 03, 2020, 07:42:55 PM »
*** bump ***

I found this quote in the new biography of Gershwin I just finished reading:

A spoken memorial broadcast from Los Angeles the day after George died included this tribute from Arnold Schoenberg: "Music to him was the air he breathed, the food which nourished him, the drink that refreshed him. Music was what made him feel, and music was the feeling he expressed. Directness of this kind is given only to great men, and there is no doubt that he was a great composer. What he achieved was not only to the benefit of a national American music but also a contribution to the music of the whole world.”

— Summertime: George Gershwin's Life in Music by Richard Crawford

Very nice!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #128 on: April 03, 2020, 07:46:22 PM »
Hmm...if there was a fainting emogi, I would have inserted it here.   ;)  For me:  I don't listen to him often, but boy, it does hit the spot!  It's quintessentially American...big, bold, and jazzy wow!  You gotta love the guy!   ;D  My views, I know.  Need to search out the 'jazz combo' version.

Best wishes to all,

PD

I've long since seen the Light, and I'm now a big fan of Gershwin.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #129 on: April 03, 2020, 07:52:46 PM »
I don't care for the Concerto in F and not much for the "Rhapsody" but Porgy and Bess is a masterpiece and he wrote dozens of great tunes that deservedly becames standards. I think the problem is that nowadays these musicals are hard to take as a whole production. Maybe with creative staging, I don't know. I have a CD with "Girl crazy" that contains about three famous standards (I got rhythm, But not for me, Embraceable you) and the rest is listenable but not quite memorable,

The first few times I listened to the Concerto in F, I ran consistently cool on it. But now I think very highly of it.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #130 on: April 04, 2020, 09:04:28 AM »
I'll have to check him out. The "Great American Songbook" is a huge gap in my knowledge/appreciation of music. If I know any of these tunes, it's usually because they've become jazz standards after the fact. But a lot of these songs are really beautiful, so I think I owe it to myself to spend more time with this kind of music.

The Great American Songbook is an amazing resource of some extraordinary music.  The "problem" with the whole jazz standard thing is that it fundamentally changes the feel/style of how many of the songs were conceived.  Gershwin is a case in point - a lot of the songs as written are brighter (usually sung at a higher pitch even) than the moody torch songs they have morphed into.  Not that the jazz standard approach isn't great too - its just that it distorts the original a lot.  This also goes for big band swing treatments.  Remember that in effect Gershwin wrote all his songs BEFORE the big band - in the sense of a Glen Miller/ Count Basie / Ellington 1940's and later conceived it came into being.

On a different tack - Jerome Kern is probably the greatest yet least appreciated of the great song writers.  Of course everyone knows many of his songs but I wonder how many appreciate just how sophisticated they are in a a way that even Berlin, Rodgers and Gershwin have to give way to.  But to be fair all of those "Golden Age" composers - and many others too - write at a level of harmonic and formal skill that few equivalent contemporary popular song writers come close to.

Wondering what Gershwin might have achieved is of course a slightly pointless task but I would direct listeners towards late Duke Ellington who experimented with form and harmony in a way they I think Gershwin might have explored too.  I don't think Gershwin would have gone down the Copland path.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #131 on: April 04, 2020, 09:57:38 AM »
On a different tack - Jerome Kern is probably the greatest yet least appreciated of the great song writers.  Of course everyone knows many of his songs but I wonder how many appreciate just how sophisticated they are in a a way that even Berlin, Rodgers and Gershwin have to give way to.  But to be fair all of those "Golden Age" composers - and many others too - write at a level of harmonic and formal skill that few equivalent contemporary popular song writers come close to.

I agree that the composers of the Great American Songbook were writing at a high level.  I consider these songs the American lieder equal to the best art songs written in prior periods.  However, I do not place Kern above the rest.  If I were to single out one, I'd name Berlin as a songwriter of rare ability, a talent able to capture complex emotions in simple language that everyone can feel and understand.  That ability is very rare and extremely hard to master. One example is the song "How Deep is the Ocean", which is just amazing, IMO.

As far a post 1960s songwriters matching the quality, it is futile to make comparisons.  For decades, Broadway was the primary avenue for songs to appear, once that was no longer the case, styles and the reason a song was written changed so drastically that these two periods constitute two mutually exclusive repertories.  But I would put forward Jimmy Webb as a composer whose writing comes closest to resembling the kind of song Gershwin or Berlin or Kern wrote.


Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Gershwin's Galligaskins
« Reply #132 on: April 05, 2020, 02:37:48 AM »
I agree that the composers of the Great American Songbook were writing at a high level.  I consider these songs the American lieder equal to the best art songs written in prior periods.  However, I do not place Kern above the rest.  If I were to single out one, I'd name Berlin as a songwriter of rare ability, a talent able to capture complex emotions in simple language that everyone can feel and understand.  That ability is very rare and extremely hard to master. One example is the song "How Deep is the Ocean", which is just amazing, IMO.

As far a post 1960s songwriters matching the quality, it is futile to make comparisons.  For decades, Broadway was the primary avenue for songs to appear, once that was no longer the case, styles and the reason a song was written changed so drastically that these two periods constitute two mutually exclusive repertories.  But I would put forward Jimmy Webb as a composer whose writing comes closest to resembling the kind of song Gershwin or Berlin or Kern wrote.

I wouldn't disagree with you regarding Berlin.  My point - that I don't think I expressed clearly enough - was skill relative to fame.  Of course people know Kern's standards from "Old Man River" to "The way you look tonight" but there is a general level of sophistication in his writing that Berlin does not try or indeed wish to emulate.  That doesn't make them "better" than Berlin's songs just different.  Berlin's great skill - as you say - was the common touch and  his ability to strike a common chord (pun intended).  I wouldn't want to be without either - or all the other great American songwriters too!

There are still many great writers producing songs for Musical Theatre right up to this day.  The change - as you allude to - is that while the material is still being written, it is not the path to wide-spread popularity with a very few exceptions - "Memory" / "Send in the Clowns" etc.  It will be interesting to see if the release of the new Spielberg West Side Story will result in those songs suddenly becoming known to a new/younger/wider audience.