The first staging of the opera “Porgy and Bess” by George Gershwin

Recently, on September 26, the music public celebrated the birthday of the outstanding American composer and pianist of the first half of the 20th century - George Gershwin. The formation and heyday of the composer’s creative work fell on the time that the greatest American writer of the 20th century, Francis Scott Fitzgerald designated and called the Jazz Age. Gershwin always tried to express the spirit of the time in which he lived in his music. The jazz rhythms played a fundamental role in the composer's work. Gershwin considered jazz to be the folk music. He wrote, "I hear the musical kaleidoscope of America in jazz - our huge seething cauldron, our ... national vital pulse, our songs".

More details about the creative work and biography of the composer are in the section "Authors".

The Music Library of the museum Collection features the composer’s works and recordings of George Gershwin performances. One of them - "Rhapsody in Blue" was already posted in our Music Library. It was recorded on paper music roll in the author’s version of performance. The opera “Porgy and Bess”, that was rightfully called by the composer himself the folk drama and considered his highest creative achievement, is presented in our musical selection, dedicated to the anniversary of its first staging on September 30, 1935 in Boston.

The musical drama “Porgy and Bess” has become a part of the American people history. There were many expressive choirs in the opera, which comprised the culmination point of the action and interlaced with all solo performances. For Gershwin, the ordinary folk in the opera was the main character, and this elucidated the importance of its role in the opera. The melodiousness is a distinctive feature of the “Porgy and Bess” style. Gershwin's generous melodic talent was revealed there in all its fascination and abundance. The melodies of the opera are peculiar, they are flowing easily, “from the soul”, captivate the listener and are retained in memory. The composer does not quote the black people melodies and rhythms, nevertheless, all the opera music originates from folk sources. Gershwin managed to express the melodiousness, harmony and rhythm of black people folklore, elements of their national genres - blues pieces and spirituals. Opera rightfully remains in the repertoire of modern opera houses.

We have prepared a musical selection of G. Gershwin compositions recorded from Duo-Art music paper rolls, gramophone records and music boxes that are presented in museum Collection repository.