Gershwin – “I Got Rhythm” Variations

by Max Derrickson

George Gershwin   (Born in Brooklyn, NY, 1898; died in Hollywood, CA, 1937)

“I Got Rhythm” Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1934)

[. . .]      With Rhapsody in Blue (1924), Gershwin became world famous.  In 1930 his show Girl Crazy was a gigantic success.  One of its many hit tunes, “I Got Rhythm,” has become one of the great popular songs in the American songbook.  Its lyric “… who could ask for anything more?” could rightly sum up the philosophical place that Gershwin had achieved for himself at the age of 32.  The tragedy of his death from a brain tumor in 1937 seems all the more unfair given his talent and joy for his life in music.


“I’ve heard many pianists and composers play for informal gatherings, but I know of not one who did it with such genuine delight and verve.  George at the piano was George happy” said famous stage director Rouben Mamolian.  About his ability to improvise, he continued that Gershwin “could play ‘I Got Rhythm’ for the thousandth time, yet do it with such freshness and exuberance as if he had written it the night before.”  Before Gershwin went    [. . .]