Superhite XX century. George Gershwin "Summertime"
Probably everyone heard the melody “Summertime”. This is an aria from the opera Porgy and Bess, a work called by critics the main American opera. At present, up to 20,000 variants of the performance of this hit are known; by the number of cover versions, this composition surpassed even “Yesterday” and hit the top 10 best jazz tunes in history. There is a version that the famous hit was written under the impression of a lullaby once heard by the composer.
The author of the opera "Porgy and Bess" George Gershwin
The libretto of the opera was written by Duboz Hayward and Ira Gershwin based on the play by Dorothy and Dubose Hayward “Porgy”. In turn, the play was a reworking of the novel of the same name by Duboz Hayward about the life of the Negro poor. The plot is based on pictures of the life of a small African-American fishing village in the South of the USA. Event time - the end of the 1920s.
The process of working on the opera "Porgy and Bess"
The process of working on the opera * Porgy and Bess *
Brothers George and Ira Gershwin
Before creating the opera, George Gershwin lived for several months in one of the provincial Negro villages, striving for maximum accuracy in the reproduction of everyday life, speech,behavior of local residents. It is not for nothing that the opera Porgy and Bess is called a folk one, although its conflict is of a private nature — the soulful throwing of the beautiful Bess between the true love of her poor beggarly cripple Porgy and the corrupt morality of the drug dealer and the frequenter of the New York tavern Sportin Life.
Taking into account the themes of the opera, African-American folklore can be called the main source of inspiration for the composer: lyrical blues, psalms and hymns, spirituals - spiritual chants performed by the choir. However, there is a version that the basis of the most famous aria from the opera “Porgy and Bess” is the Ukrainian lullaby “Oh, go to sleep kolo wikon”, heard by the composer during the tours of the Ukrainian National Choir in America.
Aria “Summertime” sounds in opera 4 times - twice the heroine performs it as a lullaby. This song has become a kind of lyrical exposition of the play. However, in this melody, the intonations are recognizable not only of the Ukrainian lullaby, but also of the African-American blues, which give the lyrical music a sensual sound.
Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
The composition "Summertime" won nationwide fame after its performance by the duo of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
The massive popularity of the melody “Summertime” was not won immediately, despite the success of the opera Porgy and Bess. The composition gained national fame after its performance by the duo of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald in the 1950s. After that, the aria began to live an independent life and became a global hit. Jazz compositions were also created by Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.
The cover version of The Zombies is considered to be one of the best interpretations of the 1960s Summertime. With this song, The Zombies won in 1964 a competition among British young bands. At the moment “Summertime” is a record holder in the number of cover versions.
Billie Holiday, the legend of American jazz, performed one of the first jazz treatments of the song "Summertime"
George Gershwin lived a short life - at 39 he died from a brain tumor, but during this time he managed to create more than a hundred musical compositions, most of which became popular after his death. However, the most famous all over the world still remains “Summertime”.
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