Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

George Gershwin: Three Songs for Piano Solo

George Gershwin (1898-1937) was one of the most popular and successful American composers, a master of the Broadway musical as well as classical works and opera. As a songwriter, he had an almost unlimited supply of melodies, often matched with jazz harmonies, as well as the brilliant lyrics of his brother Ira. Gershwin himself performed and recorded his own songs on the piano, and made his own effective solo arrangements. These three arrangements written in 2002, develop the songs further, with adventurous harmonies, improvisatory solos, and virtuoso display.

It ain’t necessarily so is taken from Gershwin’s 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess, and is sung by the irreverent character Sportin’ Life. He leads the chorus in a humorous re-write of famous Biblical stories, bluesy and energetic. This arrangement develops the song through various keys, reaching a brash and brassy climax. Someone to watch over me was included in the 1926 musical Oh, Kay! It is a tender, hopeful love song, and here is expanded into a romantic and nostalgic piano work. I got rhythm was always one of Gershwin’s most popular melodies, included in the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, and later used by the composer in a set of Variations for piano and orchestra. Its catchy melody, striking rhythm and driving harmony has made it a jazz standard since its composition. This arrangement evokes the stride piano style with improvisatory jazz solos in the right hand accompanied by the busy ‘jumping’ left hand.  

Available to purchase from Aria Editions here

Watch a performance of I got rhythm here:

Recording available. Details here.