“True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today” – George Gershwin
George Gershwin was born on September 26 1898 and is widely regarded as the most important and influencial composer of American fok and popular music. He also composed work for the orchestra which include his most famous Rhapsody in Blue which made its debut in an afternoon concert on 12 February 1924 led by Paul Whiteman and his band in New York City. This enduring masterpiece was unique for its combination of classical music form and jazzy overtures.
The style of his compositions was whimsical yet classy, emotional yet humorous. Most of all, his tunes were simple and yet, full of substance. Standards such as Summertime, Embraceable You, S’wonderful, Someone To Watch Over Me and countless other hits have withstood the test of time and have remained all time favourites among leading recording artists and musicians today. Together with the lyrical ingenuity of his elder brother, Ira Gershwin, their works are being hailed as some of the most important compositions of popular and contemporary music of the 20th century.
I enjoy Gershwin because his music allows me to be who I am. He gives me inner-strength in self-belief, and flexibility in creativity. He allows me to wander beyond far away places to my heart’s content. I am in a dream, a wonderfully melodious dream where beautiful sounds evoke emotions and memories. It’s like a past lover suddenly coming back to being upon a beautiful and familiar scent. Because of this, Gershwin is wonderfully addictive and truly intoxicating.
It was tragic that Gerswhin died at a young age of 38 in 1937. Just how much richer will music be had he stayed for a little while longer? Our consolation is he left us with a beautiful legacy whereby his spirit comes alive within me each time I am by the piano.