GERSHWIN “The Man I Love”
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.
Like many of the Gershwins’ songs, “The Man I Love” has gone on to great acclaim independent of its inclusion in any major musical. Originally written for the satirical show Lady, Be Good, it was cut from the score, as well as from several other musicals, as the Gershwin brothers attempted to find the right show for the song. This did not hurt the song’s popularity, though, and after establishing itself as yet another classic love song, “The Man I Love” found its home in a 1947 film by the same name, based in no small part on the song itself. Like “Someone to Watch Over Me” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL39ApoHMYU), “The Man I Love” is sung by a character eager to find love, but in this case, she takes a more positive and hopeful approach, looking forward to each upcoming day when the right man might come into her life.