Commentary Magazine


George Gershwin

To the Editor:

I was amazed to find that an article about George Gershwin and the influences on his work [“Gershwin at 100” by Terry Teachout,” September] could have left out the fact that Gershwin was also taught by Joseph Schillinger.

Joel Waldman
Palo Alto, California

_____________

 

To the Editor:

I usually find COMMENTARY reliable and Terry Teachout’s insights into the musical scene informative, but I was dismayed by an obvious error in his September article. George Gershwin an old man, a centenarian, a relic of an antique past, gone from us for more than a half-century? Nonsense. Not while the youthful exuberance and joie de vivre of his melodies and harmonies sparkle so freshly and irresistibly that they could have been minted this morning.

John O’Hara was absolutely right when, on hearing the report of Gershwin’s death, he said, “I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.” Neither do we.

Rosanne Klass
New York City

_____________

 

Terry Teachout writes:

Joel Waldman is absolutely right—I should have at least mentioned the fact that George Gershwin studied with Joseph Schillinger, one of the most interesting and least-known figures in American music between the wars. Though Schillinger’s “mathematical” approach to theory and composition long ago fell into critical disrepute, at least two famous American musicians, Gershwin and Glenn Miller, seem to have found it creatively stimulating. Presumably some ambitious Gershwin scholar will one day produce a paper about the influence of Schillinger’s method on Porgy and Bess.

I could not agree more with Rosanne Klass’s charming letter, and will take the opportunity to note that anyone seeking further evidence of Gershwin’s continuing freshness need only listen to George Gershwin: The 100th Birthday Celebration (RCA Victor Red Seal 09026-68931-2). Released too late to figure in my discography, this two-CD set contains superlative performances of An American in Paris, the Concerto in F, the Second Rhapsody, and excerpts from Porgy and Bess by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (about whom I hope to have more to say in the future). Judging by this album and the related all-Gershwin concert he gave at Carnegie Hall in September, I feel confident in saying that Thomas is the outstanding Gershwin conductor of our time.

_____________

About the Author




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.