Fascinating Rhythm: 2the Collaboration of Georg and Ira Gershwin

Deena Rosenberg, Author, Penelope Hobhouse, Author Dutton Books $29.95 (544p) ISBN 978-0-525-93356-4
The enduring appeal of the music of George and Ira Gershwin has spawned several biographies of the talented brothers who created more than 700 popular songs before George's untimely death at age 39 in 1937--Ira died in 1983 at age 87. But never before has the collaboration itself been the subject of such intelligent and fruitful scrutiny as in this intriguing study. Rosenberg, chair of the musical theater program of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, has a gift for making scholarly points in accessible, albeit mundane language. Readers require no particular musical background in order to enjoy and respond to her original theories about the connections between George's music and Ira's lyrics. Points of comparison are frequently illustrated with side-by-side measures of music, and the striking thematic relationships between such songs as Embraceable You and The Man I Love are also compared dramatically to George's orchestral composition, including the well-known Rhapsody in Blue. This is a rich feast for music historians, musicians and connoisseurs of musical theater as well as inveterate hummers who like a Gershwin tune. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
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