Monday, November 21, 2011

Rhapsody in Blue Term Paper

Rhapsody in Blue Research Paper

Morris Gershovitz immigrated to New York from Russia in search of great opportunities. He had lost his Uncle's address, his only contact in the new world. He would have no where to sleep or eat until he found him. He later would win food money in a card game, sleep in an alley, and eventually find his Uncle. He would fall in love and marry a friend Rose Bruskin, who came to New York sometime before. He had many jobs and had to move the family through twenty-eight different homes. In the temporary home that could change at anytime, Morris and Rose would have four children: Ira born on December 6, 1896, George on September 26, 1898, Arthur on March 14, 1900, and Frances on December 6, 1906. As the family changed the last name would change as well, Morris would use the name Gershvin. Ira would keep that name, but George would change is to Gershwin (Jablonski and Stewart).

In school George was always being a trouble maker. His teacher Miss Smith would always have to talk to him about disciplinary problems. Music didn't really interest him, he liked to spend his time with the boys, causing trouble in the streets. He would find his love of music while walking through the streets of New York. He went inside a penny arcade to find a mechanical piano. He put some money in the machine and listened to the sounds of Ruben stein's "Melody in F". George was in awe. Although the music stopped, the music in his soul would never leave him (Jablonski and Stewart).


He would later meet a boy, named Maxie Rosenzweig, that would get him started on his path to stardom. They would become the best of friends. Maxie taught George everything that he knew about what went into making music. George would keep a musical scrapbook where he would keep programs and sketches of his favorite musical things (Kresh).

In 1910, the Gershwin's bought a piano for Ira. However, it was George that took lessons from a neighborhood lady. He would progress very quickly. She would not be able to teach him anymore, so she referred him to a new teacher, Charles Hambitzer. He was very fond of George's hidden talents. George would always want to move on to more modern things like jazz, but Charles would never allow it. He wanted George to have a classical base before he moved on. Hambitzer would turn George over to Edward Kilenyi for additional instruction. Both teachers would encourage George to engage in music experimentation. He would write his first ragtime songs in classical forms. The songs were entitled "Since I Found You" and "Ragging the Traumerei," they were rough in style, but they showed a merge between ragtime and classical (Kresh).

One day after school, he met a man named Moses Gumble that worked for a publishing house, Jerome H. Remick & Company. Moses liked the way he played the piano, and how he could sight read well. He offered George a job as a song plugger, a pianist that played new tunes in hopes of selling sheet music. It paid fifteen dollars a week which was much better than the four he was making at his father's restaurant. However, this job would cause him to drop out of school. His mom and him disagreed on this, but she would later give in. So at the age of fifteen, George would drop out of school and become a musician (Jablonski and Stewart).

Against his mother's wishes George was heading in to his new career at Tin Pin Ally in New York. His job was to play over a tune and induce the performers that they wanted it in their acts. He would become the best at his job. He could alter the song to a higher or lower pitch so it would be easier on the singer. In fact, being a song plugger wasn't that bad, he would get to see a lot of New York. He traveled to different hotels, restaurants, and theaters, where the singers performed. However, George had bigger inspirations than just being a song plugger. He wanted to create songs that would later become Broadway shows, or even operas and symphonies (Kresh).

After a while of working at the Remick, he grew weary of his piano plugging. So he would play the classics. His fellow employees were in awe because most of them couldn't ever read music, let alone perform the classics. George would finally start composing music, he would the first one there and the last one to leave. He had so many songs he had to keep a notebook called "GT" good tunes. He was greatly influenced by music and lyrics of other contemporary composers. Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern were the major influences on George's musical life. He liked Berlin's musical vitality, and Kern's melodic lines and harmonies. He would write many jazz tunes for Broadway musicals. However it wasn't until his brother Ira saw a newspaper ad announcing that George agreed to write a jazz concerto that would be performed by Paul Whiteman in his program "An Experiment in Modern Music at Aoelian Hall." The work was to be completed in a month, and George hadn't started on it yet. The next day, he was listening to the rhythms of train wheels, while traveling to Boston. This would help him write the composition. The night of the concert had finally come. George was nervous, because he felt he might not have anything to offer the audience. The concert was very long and the audience was becoming bored.

Years later George and his brother had teamed up to write musicals for such performers such as Fred and Adele Astaire, Gertrude Lawrence, W.C. Fields, Jeanette MacDonald, Ruby Keeler, Jimmy Durante, Fannie Brice, and Bob Hope.

After the opera, he turned his interest to films. He moved to California and wrote Shall We Dance for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and a damsel in distress for Astaire, Joan Fontaine, and Gracie Allen. Early in 1937, he began to suffer headaches, dizzy spells, and blackouts. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he fell in to a coma on July 9. The White House sent two destroyers to bring one of the country's most prominent specialists from his yacht. But by the time the doctor made it to the airport to go to Hollywood, local surgeons found it necessary to operate and discovered the situation hopeless. He would never wake from his coma and he would die on July 11, 1937, two-in-one-half months short of his 39th birthday, ending the life of one of America's great musical voices (Kresh).

Rhapsody in Blue was released in 1945 by Warner Brothers. It was directed by Irving Rapper, produced by Jesse L. Lasky, and written by Howard Koch, and Elliot Paul. Gershwin himself was the composer of the film. Robert Alda played George, while Herbert Rudley played his brother Ira. His mother and father were played by Morris Carnovsky, and Rosemary DeCamp. Alexis Smith played Christine Gilbert, one of George's love interest in the film. The other one was played by Joan Leslie, and was named Julie Adams.

The movie traces Gershwin's rise from a "song plugger" for a Manhattan music publishing company, to his peak of success. It shows his magical performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" at Aeolian Hall in 1924. It also shows many of his other masterpieces such as, "An American Paris", "Cuban Overture", "Concerto in F", and the 1935 folk opera Porgy and Bess. He does not allow himself to rest on his success, mercilessly pushing to top all his previous accomplishments. Finally his work proves to much, and he dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in the movie. Julie Bishop, who plays Ira's wife Lee, had one of the most memorable lines in the movie, "Ira, promise me that you will never become a genius." (Rapper and Lasky)

The movie had many differences mainly, the two women that played George's love interests. They were completely fictional, neither one of them ever existed. They both realize in the movie that they will always have to play second fiddle to George's music. Other differences were he didn't die from a cerebral hemorrhage , he died from a brain tumor (Rapper and Lasky).

Warning!!! All free sample term papers and college term paper examples on Rhapsody in Blue topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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