Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Dr. Bob Prescribes George Gershwin Songs

George Gershwin (1898-1937)

Two weeks ago, my Dr. Bob Prescribes post featured the guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, despite the fact that it would have been entirely appropriate – given the Music History Monday post the day before on Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice – to feature a post on that opera. Given yesterday’s Music History Monday post on Franz Schubert’s song Gretchen am Spinnrade, today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes might appropriately feature a recording of Schubert’s songs or, perhaps, some relatively obscure work by Schubert.

However, like two weeks ago, I have chosen to take a different path in today’s Dr. Bob Prescribes because I personally require (at present) a rather different sort of music, given the state of things “out there”. Color me escapist, but there you have it. And since I long ago realized that there is nothing particularly special about what I think, I naturally assume that we all presently require regular doses of joyful escapism to get us through these times. For some people it comes from the out-of-doors; for some it is food and drink; for many it is non-prescription pharmaceuticals (I judge not!); for myself, it is music (and yes, food and drink). Early in the pandemic it was the music (particularly the keyboard music) of J. S. Bach. However, over the last few months the political situation and NoCal fires have compelled me to find brighter and greener (if somewhat “simpler” and more straightforward) musical pastures. Consequently, I’ve moved on to recordings of the so-called American Songbook, that transcendent period of popular American song that stretched from (roughly) 1915 to 1955.

Music History Monday and Dr. Bob Prescribes of May 11 and May 12 featured, respectively Irving Berlin and his songs. Music History Monday and Dr. Bob Prescribes of June 15 and June 16 featured Ella Fitzgerald and her ground-breaking, multi-disc recordings of the songs of the American Songbook.

Today it’s George Gershwin’s turn, and it’s about time!

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