SummertimeWeb - All about Summertime of George Gershwin
What is Summertime?
and the livin' is easy
Everybody will know this song. It's one of the most well-known songs and melodies.
Summertime is probably the most covered song on the world. There are more
then 2600 known covers and every year a new cover is recorded.
song is composed by George Gershwin for the opera
"Porgy and Bess".
DuBose Heyward has written the text of the song. In 1924 he wrote the novel
"Porgy". In 1926 Heyward and his wife Dorothy made a play of the book.
It should had been called "Catfish Row", but later it was called just
"Porgy". Many negro-spirituals and traditionals were performed.
sings in the play:
Hush, lil' baby,
don' you cry
baby, don' yo cry
mudder born to die.
Since 1922 George Gershwin wanna make a (negro)-opera. Many times he wrote to Heyward
that he was interested to write an opera about "Porgy", but Gershwin was
too busy to work on it right a way. In 1933 DuBose Heyward and George Gershwin
signed a contract with the "Guild Theatre". Together with Ira Gershwin they wrote
"Porgy and Bess".
The first song Gershwin composed was Summertime.
Summertime is a lullaby. Clara sings the song, she only has a supporting
role in the opera. She tries to sing the baby to sleep with this song.
The song will appear four times in the opera. First as a lullaby, then a few minutes
later in the Crap Game-part, where Clara sings in counterpoint of the choir (at
some records, it is mixed to the summertime-song). In scene iv of act II Clara
sings a reprise of Summertime. In the opening of Act III Bess sings Summertime
for Clara's baby. In the duet "Bess, You is my Woman Now"
Porgy and Bess sing "Summertime and wintertime". Also
Sportin' Life (also a supporting role) refers to the song with:
"It may be in the summertime an' may be in the fall..
But you got to leave yo' baby and yo' home an' all, so roll dem
In the beginning the opera has not much success, but the
later it will turn out to be a hit. In 1955 it is
performed in Moscow and Leningrad. In 1957 Samuel Goldwyn gets the copyrights for
the musical. The leading parts went to Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier with Sammy Davis
jr as Sportin' Life and Diahann Carroll as Clara.
In 1959 the movie gets an Acadamy Award for 'Music - scoring
of a musical picture' and was nominated for 'Cinematography', 'Costume Design' and 'Sound'. Both Ira
Gershwin and Dorothy Heyward were very enthusiastic about
opera is still performed in many countries. It is also recorded many times. In
1976 the Cleveland Phiharmonic Orchestra recorded 'Porgy and Bess' and got a
Grammy Award fot it. In 1977 the whole opera has been recorded for the first
songs of the opera still inspire many musicians to record a song of Porgy and
Bess. "Summertime" is the most well-known song of the opera, but also
songs as "It Ain't Necessarily so", "Bess You Is My Woman",
"I Got Plenty O' Nuttin" and "I Loves you, Porgy" has been
recorded by many artists.
See the section
Covers for more information about the many
covers of Summertime and
see the section Gershwin
for more information about George Gershwin
moed gevraagd bij de 834ste versie,
Groenendijk & Jimmy Tigges, Panta Rhei, 1994, ISBN
Years - George and Ira,
Jablonski and Lawrence D. Stewart, Da Capo Press, 1996, ISBN
Jane Erb, 1994, 1996