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Dvorák to Duke EllingtonA Conductor Rediscovers America's Music and Its African-American Roots$
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Maurice Peress

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195098228.001.0001

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George Gershwin and African American Music

George Gershwin and African American Music

(p.67) 8 George Gershwin and African American Music
Dvorák to Duke Ellington

Maurice Peress

Oxford University Press

This chapter details Gershwin's early contacts with African American music and musicians. His Blue Monday Blues of 1922, a failed attempt at writing an operatic scene about Negro characters, is sung by whites in blackface. The chapter also discusses his thoughts on Jewish artists and African American music. Fifteen years later, Gershwin's masterpiece, a folk opera, Porgy and Bess, comes to Broadway and receives mixed reviews. The orchestration question is resolved at the end of the chapter.

Keywords:   Blue Monday Blues, Leonard Bernstein, Porgy and Bess, blackface, Jewish artists, African American music, Broadway

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