Summertime: George Gershwin's Life in Music (Paperback)
“Elegant and authoritative.” —Thomas Brothers, author of Help!: The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration
New York City native and gifted pianist George Gershwin (1898–1937) blossomed as an accompanist before his talent as a songwriter opened the way to Broadway, where he composed a long run of musical comedies, many with his brother Ira as lyricist. But his aspirations reached beyond commercial success. Appealing to listeners on both sides of the purported popular-classical divide, his first instrumental composition, Rhapsody in Blue, was an instant classic. He pushed boundaries again a decade later with the groundbreaking folk opera, Porgy and Bess—his magnum opus. In 1936, he and Ira moved west to write songs for Hollywood, but their work was cut short when George developed a brain tumor. He died at thirty-eight, a beloved artist who had fashioned his own brand of American music. Drawing extensively from letters and contemporaneous accounts, acclaimed music historian Richard Crawford traces the arc of Gershwin’s remarkable life, seamlessly blending colorful anecdotes with a celebration of his unforgettable music-making.
About the Author
Richard Crawford, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and past president of the American Musicological Society, has published ten books on American music. He lives in Michigan.
Crawford’s Summertime gives as close a glimpse of [Gershwin’s] productivity as can be imagined.
— Geoffrey O’Brien - New York Review of Books
Balancing massively rich research with detailed yet always lucid analysis and a master’s knack for storytelling, Crawford… makes Gershwin and his music both come alive afresh.
— Larry Stempel, author of Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theater, professor of music and American Studies, Fordham University