Contact: Helen Dalrymple (Library of Congress) (202) 707-1940, Steven D. Bowen (212) 865-0720
April 6, 1994
Library of Congress Launches Second Phase of Gershwin Publishing Project
The Leonore S. Gershwin-Library of Congress Recording and Publishing Project has begun work on a series of scholarly printed editions of Gershwin musicals as the second phase of the project, which was originally initiated in 1989.
The series of printed editions will use manuscripts housed in the Music Division of the Library of Congress, as well as those preserved at the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts, to assemble piano-vocal editions of the classic Gershwin scores.
Since the initiation of the first phase of the Gershwin-Library of Congress Project, complete recordings of four musical theater works have been prepared: "Girl Crazy"; "Strike Up the Band"; "Lady, Be Good!"; and "Pardon My English" (soon to be released).
The first score in the series of printed editions to be completed will be "Strike Up the Band," the landmark collaboration among the Gershwin brothers and librettist George S.Kaufman. It is expected that it will be available in 1995.
A biting satire of war profiteering and jingoism, "Strike Up the Band" opened in Philadelphia in September 1927 to critical cheers. But its subject matter proved too controversial for Jazz Age audiences, and by the time the show reached New York -- nearly three years later -- it had been heavily revised.
In 1991 Roxbury Recordings produced the first recording of the original "Strike Up the Band" as part of the Leonore S. Gershwin-Library of Congress Recording and Publishing Project. Stephen Holden in The New York Times predicted, "It should broaden the reputation of a composer who is still identified in most people's minds with his two-dozen best-known popular standards, the opera Porgy and Bess and Rhapsody in Blue." Now the score will be preserved in printed form as well.
Orchestrator and conductor Steven D. Bowen, who served as musical supervisor on the acclaimed 1991 recording, will work on the score. Collaborating with Mr. Bowen will be James W. Pruett, chief of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, and Tommy Krasker, president of Roxbury Recordings, the company created in 1989 by Leonore (Mrs. Ira) Gershwin to document and celebrate the Gershwin brothers' rich and rewarding legacy.
The George and Ira Gershwin Collection at the Library of Congress is the world's preeminent source for original materials documenting the lives and works of the Gershwins. It contains extraordinary holdings of manuscript and printed music for virtually every important type of work, from the concert pieces of George Gershwin, such as Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, and An American in Paris, to the stage and screen collaborations of George and Ira Gershwin, including "Porgy and Bess," "Of Thee I Sing," and "Girl Crazy." In addition, the collection contains photographs, programs, scrapbooks, paintings and drawings, correspondence, and other memorabilia. These materials are available for use by researchers and scholars in the Performing Arts Reading Room of the Library of Congress.
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