By Lara Legath
On Monday April 3, 2017 The Department of Fine Arts St. Francis College presented “George Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythms”. It took place at 12:30 o’clock at Founders Hall located next to Callahan Center. Preforming the event was Jimmy Roberts on the piano.
Jimmy Roberts is a composer, performer, vocalist and poet. He composed music for a number of successful theater shows like “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” which is the second longest running Off Broadway musical in New York. He also had some educational programs here at St. Francis College.
The event featured pieces from different eras of music and Gershwin’s contributions to them.
For the introduction of the concert Roberts played “Fascinating Rhythms” which is from 1924, music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
The first act played was titled “The Teens (George’s and America’s) And The Ragtime Craze.” This consisted of the songs “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin from 1902, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” by Irving Berlin from 1911, “Prelude #1 in C-sharp minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff from 1892 and “Russian Rag” by George L. Cobb from 1918.
Also included were the songs “The Real American Folk Song” music by George Gershwin and Lyrics by Ira Gershwin from 1918, “Rialto Ripples” by George Gershwin and Will Donaldson from 1917, “When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get Em…” music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Murray Roth from 1916, “Hindustan” music by Harold Weeks and lyrics by Oliver Wallace from 1918 and “Swanee” with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Irving Caesar.
The second act was titled “The Twenties – Blue Notes In A Frenzied Decade.” This act included songs such as “St. Louis Blues” by W.C. Handy from 1924 and “The Man I Love” with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
Following these pieces is a list of songs solely composed by George Gershwin. This includes “Prelude #2” from 1926, “Rhapsody in Blue” from 1924, “Concerto in F” from 1925 and “An American in Paris” from 1928. Then the act finished with “I Got Rhythm” with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
The next act was titled “The Thirties – Economic Depression, Political Satire.” This act featured songs composed by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. The pieces were “Strike Up The Band” from 1927 & 1930, “Union Square” and “Down With Everything That’s Up” both from 1933.
Then came the fourth act titled “Porgy And Bess (1935) – Gershwin Write His Great American Opera.” The act was comprised of the songs “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’,” “Bess, You Is My Women Now,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “Oh Lawd, I’m On My Way.” This set of songs for this act had all music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Dubose Heyward.
Lastly the final act was titled “Hollywood – The Last Years, The Last Songs” with pieces with music by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin from 1937. The show finished with the songs “They All Laughed,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and “Love Is Here to Stay.”
The show was well preformed and had the audience captivated with the range of music and emotion conveyed through the piano recital. The music of Gershwin’s career was given a respected revival.