Ramblings & ephemera

Gershwin the prodigy

From Claudia Roth Pierpont’s "Jazzbo", about George Gershwin, in The New Yorker (10 January 2005):

[Gershwin] had been saved by the piano. On a fateful day in 1910, a secondhand upright was hoisted through the family’s Second Avenue window and, to general shock, scapegrace street fighting George, age twelve, sat down and tore through a popular tune like a vaudeville virtuoso. He had never studied a note. Many years later, Gershwin recalled the musical epiphanies of his early childhood: sitting transfixed outside a penny arcade as an automatic piano emitted noises that turned out to be Robinstein’s "Melody in F"; feeling a "flashing revelation of beauty" when the strains of Dvorak’s "Humoresque" reached him from the school auditorium while he was, in fact, outside playing hooky.

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