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George GershwinHis Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248649

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248649.001.0001

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(p.701) Conclusion
George Gershwin

Howard Pollack

University of California Press

Twentieth-century depictions of Gershwin tended toward one of two scenarios. The first viewed him as a childlike genius who scaled the heights without benefit of formal instruction, a modest and somewhat naive man scorned by disdainful critics and envious colleagues. The second regarded him, more darkly, as a flawed genius incapable of sustained study, but ambitious, vain and eager for critical approbation. However, it was clear that Gershwin placed great value on academic work, and diligently studied music throughout his short life. Irving Berlin proved to be a crucial linchpin who helped chart a path for him. In his varied work, Gershwin consistently aimed to reflect American life, in ways accessible to the listener, such as in Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris. In any event, his music, with all its powerful emotions and novel ideas, proved to have broad universal appeal.

Keywords:   George Gershwin, composer, music studies, Irving Berlin, Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris

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