A JOURNEY TO GREATNESS by David Ewen

A JOURNEY TO GREATNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A vibrant biography of George Gershwin which while never strictly personal always effects immediacy and gives a well organized view of Gershwin's development as an artist and of what he produced -- and the fabric of a life devoted to the achievement of artistic validity in popular music. From boyhood this was the ideal of the dynamic Gershwin, who realized his love of music when he heard Max Rosen practicing (Gershwin was then ten). From teachers better forgotten to Hambitzer, then to Tin Pan Alley and Broadway with Jolson singing Swanee, Gershwin and his star rose. We see Gershwin as a person whose self esteem and need to be the center of attraction was tempered by generosity toward colleagues and by his great gifts. He wanted to put Roualt into music; he ""shouted"" with the Gullah Negroes to gather material for his Porgy; he consulted Zilboorg for his ""composer's stomach""; he entertained lavishly and trained in his own gym; he loved the ladies and was stricken when Paulette Goddard would not leave Chaplin for him. This is the dramatic figure dominating pages that also appraise his works. The comparison of Ira Gershwin and George, devoted and successful together, is delightful. Somehow the pulse of Gershwin and show business enters here. Lists of recordings recommended, the plot of Porgy and Bess; best songs and first performers -- appendix.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1955
Publisher: Henry Holt