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Gershwin: Suite from Porgy and Bess

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Broadway meets the bayou

In 1926 George Gershwin read the novel Porgy by DuBose Heyward and immediately wrote to the author suggesting that they collaborate on a folk opera based on the novel. Heyward, who with his wife Dorothy wrote a play based on his own book, was enthusiastic, but George and Ira didn’t begin working on the project until 1934. Their finished project, Porgy and Bess, debuted on Broadway in 1936 to both critical acclaim and a bit of controversy over the depiction of African Americans in the show. Porgy and Bess has enjoyed several notable productions over the years and continues to be a classic of American music. George later prepared an orchestral suite containing music from the opera after Porgy and Bess closed early on Broadway. Though originally titled “Suite from Porgy and Bess“, Ira later renamed the suite Catfish Row.

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