List of compositions by George Gershwin
This is a list of compositions by George Gershwin. During his short life of thirty-nine years, George Gershwin was both a songwriter for Broadway and a classical composer. He composed songs, stage works, concert works both with and without piano solo, film music and even an opera. His works are grouped thematically in this list, and in chronological order according to the dates of compositions in the same group.
Note: All orchestral/operatic pieces are orchestrated by Gershwin unless otherwise specified.
- Tango (1915), for solo piano. Written when he was 15.
- Lullaby (1919), a meditative piece for string quartet. Originally, a class assignment from his music theory teacher.
- Blue Monday, a one-act opera featured in George White's Scandals of 1922 at the Globe Theatre, Paul Whiteman conducting, orchestrated by Will Vodery.
- Rhapsody in Blue, (1924), his most famous work, a symphonic jazz composition for Paul Whiteman's jazz band & piano, premiered at Aeolian Hall, better known in the form orchestrated for full symphonic orchestra by Ferde Grofé. Featured in numerous films and commercials.
- Short Story, (1925), for violin and piano, an arrangement of two other short pieces originally intended to be included with the Three Preludes. Premiered by Samuel Dushkin at The University Club of New York in New York City.
- Concerto in F, (1925), three movements, for piano and orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Symphony Orchestra, Walter Damrosch conducting.
- Three Preludes, (1926), for piano, first performed by Gershwin at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
- An American in Paris (1928), a symphonic poem with elements of jazz and realistic Parisian sound effects, premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic, Walter Damrosch conducting.
- Second Rhapsody (1931), for piano and orchestra, based on the score for a musical sequence from the film Delicious. Working title for the work was Rhapsody in Rivets. Premiered at the Boston Symphony Hall by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky conducting.
- Cuban Overture (1932), originally titled Rumba, a tone poem featuring elements of native Cuban dance and folk music; score specifies usage of native Cuban instruments, premiered at the Lewisohn Stadium of the City University of New York, Gershwin conducting.
- Piano Transcriptions of Eight Songs (1932)
- Variations on "I Got Rhythm" (1934), a set of interesting variations on his famous song, for piano and orchestra. Premiered at the Boston Symphony Hall by the Leo Reisman Orchestra, conducted by Charles Previn.
- Includes a waltz, an atonal fugue, and experimentation with Asian and jazz influences
- Porgy and Bess, a folk opera (1935) (from the book by DuBose Heyward) about African-American life, now considered a definitive work of the American theater, premiered at the Alvin Theatre, Alexander Smallens conducting.
- Contains the famous aria "Summertime", in addition to hits like "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" and "It Ain't Necessarily So".
- Porgy and Bess has also been heard in the concert hall, mostly in two orchestral suites, one by Gershwin himself entitled Catfish Row; another suite by Robert Russell Bennett, Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture is also relatively popular.
- Walking the Dog, (1937), a humorous piece for orchestra featuring the clarinet. Originally a musical sequence entitled Promenade from the movie Shall We Dance for piano and chamber orchestra.
- Many other incidental sequences from Shall We Dance were composed and (for the most part) orchestrated by Gershwin, among them: Waltz of the Red Balloons and a final extended 8-minute orchestral passage based on the title song with an intruiging coda hinting at Gershwin forging a new musical path. It is unknown why any of these compositions have not seen the light of day in the concert hall.
- Most of the musicals Gershwin wrote are also known for their instrumental music, among them the March from Strike Up The Band and overtures to many of his later shows.
- Impromptu in Two Keys, published posthumously in (1973), for piano
- Two Waltzes in C, published posthumously in (1975), for piano
- Originally a two-piano interlude in Pardon My English on Broadway.