Irving Berlin Reader

ISBN-10: 0195383745
ISBN-13: 9780195383744
Edition: 2012
Author(s): Benjamin Sears
Description: Without any formal training in music composition, Irving Berlin took a knack for music and turned it into the most successful songwriting career in American history. Berlin was the first Tin Pan Alley songwriter to go uptown to Broadway with a  More...
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List Price: $36.95
Copyright Year: 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication Date: 4/6/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 232
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

Without any formal training in music composition, Irving Berlin took a knack for music and turned it into the most successful songwriting career in American history. Berlin was the first Tin Pan Alley songwriter to go uptown to Broadway with a complete musical score (Watch Your Stepin 1914); he is the only songwriter to build a theater exclusively for his own work (The Music Box); and his name appears above the title of his Broadway shows and Hollywood films (Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn), still a rare honor for songwriters. Berlin is also notable due to the length of his career in American Song; he sold his first song at the age of 18 and passed away at the age of 101 having outlived several of his own copyrights. Throughout his career, Berlin showed that a popular song need not be of a lesser quality than songs informed by the principles of "classical" music composition. Forty years after his last published song many of his songs remain popular and several have even entered folk song status, something no other 20th-century American songwriter can claim.As one of the most seminal figures of the twentieth century, both in the world of music and in American culture more generally, and as one of the rare songwriters equally successful with popular songs, Broadway shows, and Hollywood scores, Irving Berlin is the subject of an enormous corpus of writing, scattered throughout countless publications and archives. A noted performer and interpreter of Berlin's works, Benjamin Sears has unprecedented familiarity with these sources and brings together in this Reader a broad range of the most insightful primary and secondary materials. Grouped together according to the chronology of Berlin's life and work, each section and article features a critical introduction to orient the reader and contextualize the materials within the framework of American musical history. Taken as a whole, the writings -- many by Berlin himself -- provide a new perspective on Berlin that highlights his musical genius in the context of his artistic development.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Musical Demon: Early Years
Ward Morehouse: A Trip to Chinatown with Irving Berlin
Rennold Wolf: The Boy Who Revived Ragtime
Edward Jablonski: "Alexander" and Irving
Charles Hamm: Excerpt from Alexander and His Band
"Madam Critic": Review of Watch Your Step
Harry B. Smith: Excerpt from First Nights and First Editions
Margaret Knapp: Watch Your Step: Irving Berlin's 1914 Musical
Ghost of Verdi Interviewed: Tells How He Suffers Nightly
Robert Baral: Fond Memory: Those Music Box Revues
Robert Benchley: Letter about The Music Box
S. I. deKrafft: "Yes, We Have No Bananas" in Grand Opera Setting
Blue Skies: Middle Years
George S. Kaufman: Memoir
Letter from Jerome Kern to Alexander Woollcott, from The Story of Irving Berlin
Richard Rodgers: Excerpt from Musical Stages
Richard Barrios: Excerpt from chapter "The March of Time" in A Song in the Dark
Howard Pollack: Unity of Word and Tone in Two Ballads by Irving Berlin
Benjamin Sears: The Origins of "Easter Parade"
Cleve Sallendan G-A-W-D Bless A-M-E-R-I-K-E-R!
"No Right to a Personal Interest in 'God Bless America,'" Berlin Is Told
Excerpt from Stokowski, Here for Concert Tonight, Praises Martial, Folk Songs; Likes to Play for Soldiers
Irving Berlin Orders Song Word Change
Richard Rodgers: Excerpt from Musical Stages
Ethel Merman, as told to Pete Martin: Excerpt from Who Could Ash for Anything More
Brooks Atkinson: On Annie Get Your Gun
Harold Arlen and Ralph Blane: Verse to "Halloween"
John Russell Taylor and Arthur Jackson: Chapter Excerpt from The Hollywood Musical on Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire: Excerpt from Steps in Time
The Melody Lingers On: Later Years
Joshua Logan: A Ninetieth-Birthday Salute to the Master of American Song
Nancy Caldwell Sorel: First Encounters: Irving Berlin and George Gershwin
Mark Steyn: Excerpts from Top Hat and Tails
Marilyn Bergen Berlin at 100: Life on a High Note
Murray Kempton: Bit of Blues for Ballads of Berlin
Josh Rubins: Genius without Tears
Arthur Maisel: Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
Edward Sorel: Cartoon, "September 22,1989"
Irving Berlin in His Own Words
Irving Berlin: How to Write Ragtime Songs
Irving Berlin: Song and Sorrow Are Playmates
Frank Ward O'Malley: Irving Berlin Gives Nine Rules for Writing Popular Songs
Isaac Goldberg: Excerpt from Words and Music from Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin: Selected Letters
Irving Berlin: Irving Berlin's Insomnia
Lead sheet for "Soft lights and Sweet Music"
Biographical Highlights
Suggested Reading
Index

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