Gershwin playing his own prelude No 2 (excerpt)
Gershwin’s piano prelude reveals Classical Music playing The Blues. It’s international music, and yet quintessentially American.
For me, something clicked immediately with Gershwin’s music. The reason is that terribly false dichotomy between highbrow and lowbrow, between popular and classical.
Gershwin writes great music, not because he fuses styles, but because he refuses to see any barrier between them.
Gershwin always sees the common thread in humanity. And he applies natural ability and a highly inquisitive mind, with dilligence and emotional sensitivity. Not to mention wit and humour.
All this, with the can-do New York immigrant swagger.
Gershwin never made the error of trying to make music that was eternal. He spoke of what was around him and what was in him. He composes delightfully in the idiom of his day, and yet at the same time feels the “centuries of hereditary feeling back of me.” With Gershwin, you get ability matched with feeling. Gershwin’s music sounds as fresh today as it must have almost a century ago.
It’s art of the highest order, free of artifice, dogma, or pretense.
Gershwin is musical freedom.