Description Ill build a stairway to paradise You cannot overwrite this file.
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This page was last edited on 16 May , at Files are available under licenses specified on their description page. This readiness was vividly demonstrated in his score for the Scandals, which included "Stairway to Paradise. Wilson's introduction to The Gershwins. Near the beginning of his career as a lyricist, Ira Gershwin , George's older brother, more often than not, chose to write under a pseudonym, most commonly Arthur Francis -- "Arthur" after the third Gershwin brother and "Francis," after their sister.
He too had had his forays onto Broadway before joining up with George to form probably the most brilliant songwriting brother act in the history of American musical theater. Ira was flattered to be asked, and, as it happened, he and George were having dinner with Buddy at his Greenwich Village apartment soon after. After dinner they got to work on rewriting what had been a "simple ditty" into a full fledged song.
After several hours they had "Stairway to Paradise. The new song had a complicated, for those days, twenty-four-bar verse , replete with sixteenth notes and thick chords, plus a refrain with key changes.
That was, he wrote, "enough to support me for a year" Lyrics on Several Occasions , pp. The finale was titled "The Patent Leather Forest" an impressive and surprising production number with dancers clad in patent leather, with the song being sung by all the principal members of the cast, which included producer and, by earlier trade, dancer George White himself.
The orchestra was led by Paul Whiteman. George Gershwin biographer Howard Pollack notes that the "daring and brilliance" of the number was "rendered with such panache.
Pollack , pp. Though very different from the original production in Scandals , this production number resembles the original in several ways: both were grand productions, both included lots of chorus girls, and both featured spectacular stairways that were ascended by members of the casts. George himself describes the number as follows: "Two circular staircases surrounded the orchestra on the stage, leading high up into theatrical paradise or the flies, which in everyday language means the ceiling.
White had draped fifty of his most beautiful girls in a black patent leather material which brilliantly reflected the spotlights. A dance was staged in the song and those girls didn't need much coaxing to do their stuff to the accompaniment of Whiteman's music" The Gershwins , p.
In , "Stairway to Paradise" was sung by Eva Gauthier in a New York City recital of "ancient and modern music" including songs by classical composers as well as by Gershwin, Berlin, and Kern. The recital received a mixed response from both audience and critics, but overall the popular "jazz" songs held their own against the classical repertoire, even with the snobbier members of the audience as well as the many critics in attendance. Gershwin accompanied Gauthier for the popular songs and aware of the controversial nature of the program introduced several bars of "Secularized" into his playing of "Stairway to the Stars," which was appreciated by many in the audience who flashed knowing smiles when they heard it.
For more on the recital, see the sidebar on the Cafe Songbook page for " Swanee ," another Gershwin song sung by Gauthier. Howard Pollack explicates the musical structure of "Stairway to Paradise" and demonstrates how that structure is connected to the theme of ascension to heaven:.
The verse alone is extraordinary, a twenty-four measure trip around the tonal universe, slipping and sliding through various keys-- each a symbolic step upward to paradise -- until it finally arrives at the chorus 's dominant harmony, a thrilling preparation to the high-stepping chorus, with its dramatic octave leaps and its prominent blue note s.
Pollack connects the song to jazz through the Paul Whiteman recording of "Stairway to Paradise," noting that it climaxed "in an animated final chorus that approached New Orleans jazz" Pollack , p.
In the concluding chapter of his book, Gershwin His Life and Work , Pollack uses "Stairway to Paradise" as one of several examples of Gershwin's "oft-noted ability to convey a sense of joy, even ecstasy" in his work as well as in his life. Pollack quotes Gershwin's friend S.
Behrman American writer for stage, screen and The New Yorker , who thought that "among his friends, Gershwin stood 'almost alone among them for possessing an almost non existent quality: the quality of joy'" Pollack , p. Although many songwriters of popular music during the early twentieth century wanted to graduate from writing songs for a revue , to writing songs for book musicals , the form of musical theater that came to dominate Broadway as the twentieth century progressed, having its songs integrated into the plot in a way that moved the story forward.
The revue, however, was the dominant form for the first three decades of the century. Writing for revues, such as the George White Scandals , was easier because it did not require that the lyrical content of the song to be integrated into a plot that sustained itself for an entire show.
The songs did not have to move the action very far along if at all. The revue was simply a series of skits, each of which was built around a single song. Gershwin, however, was an exception.
No results found. Visitor Comments Submit comments on songs, songwriters, performers, etc. Unterschrift Datum TT. French Pop. White had draped fifty of his most beautiful girls in a black patent leather material which brilliantly reflected the spotlights. With teams in NY, LA, Nashville, and London, we form one of the largest and most successful sync staff of any publisher.
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