GERSHWIN “Someone to Watch Over Me”

George Gershwin: “The Man I Love”
Kirsten MacKinnon, soprano
Mikael Eliasen, piano

Performed on Friday, January 15, 2016
Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

One of the most prolific American songwriting duos, brothers George and Ira Gershwin left an opus of jazz standards and “American Songbook” classics that would go on to be recorded and reinterpreted by nearly every prominent jazz artist of the 20th century. George Gershwin, of course, is well known among classical musicians for his innovative compositions that blended jazz and classical music, including Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris. Ira’s importance as a lyricist is equally celebrated in the world of musical theatre. In addition to collaborating with George on over a dozen Broadway shows, including the groundbreaking opera Porgy and Bess, Ira also penned lyrics for a number of hit songs by other notable composers, such as Kurt Weill and Harold Arlen.

“Someone to Watch Over Me,” from the musical Oh, Kay!, is a classic example of the Gershwin brothers’ style and lasting legacy. While the musical itself was a typically lowbrow farce, full of zany hijinks and mistaken identities, “Someone to Watch Over Me” was a runaway hit that was quickly recognized as one of the greatest love songs of the genre. The titular character, Kay, sings to a rag doll, despairing that she may never win the affections of the American playboy she has fallen for, and wishing that he would take notice of her.

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