Fujiko Hemming - Summer Time for piano and string quartet
The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as "without doubt... one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote....Gershwin's highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of negroes in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century." Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has characterized Heyward's lyrics for "Summertime" and "My Man's Gone Now" as "the best lyrics in the musical theater". The song is recognized as one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, with more than 33,000 covers by groups and solo performers.
Porgy and Bess
Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the negro folk music of the period. Gershwin had completed setting DuBose Heyward's poem to music by February 1934, and spent the next 20 months completing and orchestrating the score of the opera.
The song is sung multiple times throughout Porgy and Bess, first by Clara in Act I as a lullaby and soon after as counterpoint to the craps game scene, in Act II in a reprise by Clara, and in Act III by Bess, singing to Clara's baby.
It was recorded for the first time by Abbie Mitchell on July 19, 1935, with George Gershwin playing the piano and conducting the orchestra (on: George Gershwin Conducts Excerpts from Porgy & Bess, Mark 56 667).
Musicologist K. J. McElrath wrote of the song:
"Gershwin was remarkably successful in his intent to have this sound like a folk song. This is reinforced by his extensive use of the pentatonic scale (C-D-E-G-A) in the context of the A minor tonality and a slow-moving harmonic progression that suggests a “blues.” Because of these factors, this tune has been a favorite of jazz performers for decades and can be done in a variety of tempos and styles."
Heyward’s inspiration for the lyrics was the southern folk spiritual-lullaby All My Trials, of which he had Clara sing a snippet in his play Porgy. While in his own description, Gershwin did not use any previously composed spirituals in his opera, Summertime is often considered an adaptation of the negro spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, which ended the play version of Porgy. Alternatively, the song has been proposed as an amalgamation of that spiritual and the South-Russian Yiddish lullaby Pipi-pipipee. The Ukrainian-Canadian composer and singer Alexis Kochan has suggested that some part of Gershwin's inspiration may have come from having heard the Ukrainian lullaby, Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon (A Dream Passes By The Windows) at a New York City performance by Oleksander Koshetz's Ukrainian National Chorus in 1929 (or 1926).
Gershwin comenzó a componer la canción en diciembre de 1933, tratando de crear su propio espiritual inspirándose en el estilo de la música popular afro-americana de la época. La canción se interpreta varias veces a lo largo de la ópera Porgy y Bess, La primera vez, por Clara en el acto I, como una canción de cuna, mientras arrulla a su bebé. Poco después, es nuevamente interpretada por Clara como contrapunto a la escena del juego de dados en el acto II. Finalmente, en el acto III, interpretada por Bess, cantándole al bebé de Clara.
Fue grabada por primera vez por Abbie Mitchell el 19 de julio de 1935, con George Gershwin tocando el piano y dirigiendo la orquesta.
Forma parte del Great American Songbook. Se ha convertido en una de las canciones más versionadas a lo largo del siglo XX, con unos 38.000 diferentes versiones registradas.1
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