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This is a list of compositions by George Gershwin, a Broadway songwriter and a classical composer. His works are grouped thematically in this list, and in chronological order according to the dates of compositions in the same group.
Note: All orchestral/operatic pieces are orchestrated by Gershwin unless otherwise specified.
- Lullaby (1919), a meditative piece for string quartet. Originally, a class assignment from his music theory teacher.
- Blue Monday (1922), a one-act opera featured in George White's Scandals of 1922 at the Globe Theatre, Paul Whiteman conducting, orchestrated by Will Vodery.
- Reorchestrated by Ferde Grofé and retitled 135th Street in 1925 for a performance at Carnegie Hall.
- A suite from Blue Monday was later arranged for piano by pianist and Gershwin scholar Alicia Zizzo and has been recorded.
- Rhapsody in Blue (1924), Gershwin's most famous classical work, a symphonic jazz composition for Paul Whiteman's jazz band & piano, premiered at Aeolian Hall, New York City, better known in the form orchestrated for full symphonic orchestra. Both versions were orchestrated by Ferde Grofé. Featured in numerous films and commercials.
- Short Story (1925), for violin and piano, an arrangement of two other short pieces originally intended to be included with the Three Preludes. Premiered by Samuel Dushkin at The University Club of New York in New York City.
- Concerto in F (1925), three movements, for piano and orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Symphony Orchestra, Walter Damrosch conducting.
- I. Allegro
- II. Adagio – Andante con moto – Adagio
- III. Allegro agitato
- Overture to Strike Up the Band (1927/revised 1930), the longest and most complex of the overtures for Gershwin's broadway shows, several sections are polytonal/atonal
- March from Strike Up the Band (1927) is a very popular musical interlude from the 1927 stage musical of the same title.
- An American in Paris (1928), a symphonic tone poem with elements of jazz and realistic sound effects, premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic, Walter Damrosch conducting.
- Dream Sequence (1931), a five-minute interlude for orchestra and chorus, meant to portray a mind reeling into the dream state. Also known as The Melting Pot. Different music than the Rhapsody in Rivets sequence, which later was expanded and rescored into the Second Rhapsody. Other musical sequences went unused that Gershwin created for Delicious, as Fox Film Corporation declined to use the rest of his score.
- Second Rhapsody (1931), for piano and orchestra, based on the score for a musical sequence from Delicious (film). Working title for the work was Rhapsody in Rivets. Premiered at the Boston Symphony Hall by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky conducting.
- Overture to Of Thee I Sing (1931), for orchestra. The shortest Broadway overture written by Gershwin. It is also the least episodic of his overtures. Only two songs are quoted in the overture, the rest are only referenced in fragments and repeating musical cells. Also features Gershwin's only known violin cadenza.
- Cuban Overture (1932), originally titled Rumba, a tone poem featuring elements of native Cuban dance and folk music; score specifies usage of native Cuban instruments, premiered at the Lewisohn Stadium of the City University of New York, Gershwin conducting.
- Variations on "I Got Rhythm" (1934), a set of interesting variations on his famous song, for piano and orchestra. Premiered at the Boston Symphony Hall by the Leo Reisman Orchestra, conducted by Charles Previn.
- Includes a waltz, an atonal fugue, and experimentation with Asian and jazz influences
- Porgy and Bess, a folk opera (1935) (from the book by DuBose Heyward) about African-American life, now considered a definitive work of the American theater, premiered at Boston's Colonial Theater, Alexander Smallens conducting.
- Catfish Row (1936), a 5-movement suite based on material cut from Porgy and Bess before its Broadway premiere.
- I. Catfish Row
- II. Porgy Sings
- III. Fugue
- IV. Hurricane
- V. Good Morning, Brother
- Score to Shall We Dance (1937 film) (1937). This was the first full movie score composed and orchestrated by Gershwin, excluding the score for Delicious which was almost completely rejected by Fox Studios. This massive score includes a final extended 8-minute orchestral passage based on the title song with an intriguing coda hinting at Gershwin forging a new musical path.
- Other purely orchestral pieces from the score that remain unpublished include:
- Overture to Shall We Dance, a propulsive, frenetic movement in Gershwin's urban music mode;
- Waltz of the Red Balloons, a waltz with unusual tonalities;
- Rehearsal Fragments;
- Rumba Sequence, music completely different from the Cuban Overture;
- (I've Got) Beginner's Luck (dance), written to accompany a scene of Astaire's rehearsing to a "record" which eventually skips;
- They Can't Take That Away from Me: this sequence is in the form of a foxtrot, one of Gershwin's favorites from the score;
- Slap that Bass, a sparse musical sequence focusing on the rhythm sections of the orchestra;
- They All Laughed;
- Dance of the Waves, a barcarole;
- Graceful and Elegant, a pas de deux;
- French Ballet Class (for two pianos), a galop: only about 20 seconds of this was used for the film;
- Shall We Dance/Finale & Coda, technically a continuation of the Hoctor's Ballet scene, but often noted as a separate musical number;
- Unknown Spanish Sequence: Gershwin composed a movement for the finale that went unused after he played it for the director; only exists in short score.
- The score is over an hour in length, the longest of all of Gershwin's orchestral works. Other musical numbers not listed here have vocals, but these can be omitted for live performance as vocal lines are doubled on other instruments. All other vocal/orchestral arrangements in the rest of the numbers were by Gershwin, with Robert Russell Bennett and Nat Shilkret acting under Gershwin's direction as assistants in the orchestration process of a few scenes in order to meet deadlines.
- Most of the musicals Gershwin wrote are also known for their instrumental music, especially the overtures to many of his later shows.
- 1922 - Blue Monday*
- 1924 - Lady, Be Good!*
- 1925 - Tip-Toes*
- 1926 - Oh, Kay!**
- 1927/ rev. 1930 - Strike Up The Band***
- 1927 - Funny Face**
- 1928 - Primrose*
- 1930 - Girl Crazy**
- 1931 - Of Thee I Sing**
- 1933 - Pardon My English**
- 1933 - Let 'Em Eat Cake**
* orchestrated for pit orchestra
** augmented instrumentation for symphony orchestra by Don Rose: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, alto saxophone, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, 4 percussion, harp, piano, strings
*** full orchestration with celesta
Musical theater credits
Note: All works are musicals produced on Broadway unless specified otherwise.
- 1919 – La La Lucille (lyrics by Arthur Jackson, B. G. DeSylva and Irving Caesar)
- 1919 – Morris Gest's "Midnight Whirl" (lyrics by B. G. DeSylva and John Henry Mears)
- 1920 – George White's Scandals of 1920 (lyrics by Arthur Jackson)
- 1921 – A Dangerous Maid (lyrics by Ira Gershwin). Premiered in Atlantic City.
- 1921 – The Broadway Whirl (co-composed with Harry Tierney, lyrics by Buddy DeSylva, Joseph McCarthy, Richard Carle and John Henry Mears)
- 1921 – George White's Scandals of 1921 (lyrics by Arthur Jackson, features the song South Sea Isles)
- 1922 – George White's Scandals of 1922 (lyrics by E. Ray Goetz, Ira Gershwin and B. G. DeSylva)
- The premiere performance featured the one-act opera Blue Monday with libretto and lyrics by B. G. DeSylva, set in Harlem in a jazz idiom. However, after only one performance, the opera was withdrawn from the show. Gershwin also wrote seven other songs for the show.
- 1922 – Our Nell (co-composed with William Daly, lyrics co-written by Gershwin and Daly)
- 1922 – By and By (lyrics by Brian Hooker)
- 1923 – Innocent Ingenue Baby (co-composed with William Daly, lyrics by Brian Hooker)
- 1923 – Walking Home with Angeline (lyrics by Brian Hooker)
- 1923 – The Rainbow (lyrics by Clifford Grey and Brian Hooker). Premiered in London.
- 1923 – George White's Scandals of 1923 (lyrics by E. Ray Goetz, B. G. DeSylva and Ballard MacDonald)
- 1924 – Sweet Little Devil (lyrics by B. G. DeSylva)
- 1924 – George White's Scandals of 1924 (lyrics by B. G. DeSylva and Ballard MacDonald)
- 1924 – Primrose (lyrics by Desmond Carter and Ira Gershwin). Premiered in London.
- 1924 – Lady, Be Good! (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1925 – Tell Me More! (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and B. G. DeSylva)
- 1925 – Tip-Toes (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1925 – Song of the Flame (operetta, lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, and musical collaboration by Herbert Stothart)
- 1926 – Oh, Kay! (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Howard Dietz)
- 1927 – Strike Up the Band (lyrics by Ira Gershwin). Premiered in Philadelphia.
- Revised and produced on Broadway in 1930
- 1927 – Funny Face (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1928 – Rosalie (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and P. G. Wodehouse, co-composed with Sigmund Romberg)
- 1928 – Treasure Girl (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1929 – Show Girl (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Gus Kahn)
- 1930 – Girl Crazy (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1931 – Of Thee I Sing (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1933 – Pardon My English (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1933 – Let 'Em Eat Cake (lyrics by Ira Gershwin), sequel to Of Thee I Sing
- 1935 – Porgy and Bess (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward)
- Revived on Broadway in 1942, 1943, 1953, 1976 (Houston Grand Opera winner of the Tony Award for Most Innovative Revival of a Musical), 1983, and 2012
Works featuring original Gershwin songs for shows by other composers
- 1916 – The Passing Show of 1916 – "The Making of a Girl" (co-composed with Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Harold Atteridge); "My Runaway Girl" (lyrics by Murray Roth)
- 1918 – Hitchy-Koo of 1918 – "You-oo Just You" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1918 – Ladies First – "The Real American Folk Song (is a Rag)" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin); "Some Wonderful Sort of Someone" (lyrics by Schuyler Greene)
- 1918 – Half-Past Eight – "There's Magic in the Air" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin); "The Ten Commandments of Love", "Cupid" and "Hong Kong" (lyrics by Edward B. Perkins)
- 1919 – Good Morning, Judge – "I Was So Young (You Were So Beautiful)" (lyrics by Irving Caesar and Alfred Bryan); "There’s More to the Kiss than the X-X-X" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1919 – The Lady in Red – "Some Wonderful Sort of Someone" (lyrics by Schyler Greene); "Something about Love" (lyrics by Lou Paley)
- 1919 – Demi-Tasse Capitol Revue – "Come to the Moon" (lyrics by Lou Paley and Ned Wayburn); "Swanee" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1920 – Dere Mabel – "We’re Pals" (lyrics by Irving Caesar), first performed in Baltimore; "Back Home" and "I Don't Know Why (When I Dance with You)" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1920 – Ed Wynn's Carnival – "Oo, How I Love You To Be Loved by You" (lyrics by Lou Paley)
- 1920 – The Sweetheart Shop – "Waiting for the Sun to Come Out" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1920 – Sinbad – "Swanee" (lyrics by Irving Caesar). As performed by Al Jolson
- 1920 – Broadway Brevities of 1920 – "Lu Lu" and "Snowflakes" (lyrics by Arthur Jackson); "Spanish Love" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1920 – Piccadilly to Broadway (songs unpublished)
- 1921 – Blue Eyes (songs unpublished)
- 1921 – Selwyn's Snapshots of 1921 – "On the Brim of Her Old-Fashioned Bonnet", "The Baby Blues" and "Futuristic Melody" (lyrics by E. Ray Goetz, songs unpublished)
- 1921 – The Perfect Fool – "My Log-Cabin Home" (lyrics by Irving Caesar and Buddy De Sylva); "No One Else but that Girl of Mine" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1922 – The French Doll – "Do It Again" (lyrics by Buddy De Sylva)
- 1922 – For Goodness Sake – "Someone" and "Tra-la-la" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1922 – Spice of 1922 – "The Yankee Doodle Blues" (lyrics by Irving Caesar and Buddy De Sylva)
- 1922 – The Dancing Girl – "That American Boy of Mine" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1923 – Little Miss Bluebeard – "I Won’t Say I Will, But I Won’t Say I Won’t" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Buddy De Sylva)
- 1923 – Nifties of 1923 – "At Half-Past Seven" (lyrics by Buddy De Sylva); "Nashville Nightingale" (lyrics by Irving Caesar)
- 1926 – Americana – "That Lost Barber Shop Chord" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1930 – Nine-Fifteen Revue – "Toddlin' Along" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
- 1936 – The Show Is On – "By Strauss" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin). Revived in 1937
Works interpolating Gershwin songs posthumously
- 1953 – At Home With Ethel Waters – "Oh, Lady be Good!"
- 1956 – Mr. Wonderful, starring Sammy Davis Jr. — "Liza", original from Show Girl
- 1967 – "I Got Rhythm" a hit single for pop vocal group The Happenings
- 1983 – My One and Only – an adaptation of the music from Funny Face
- 1986 – Uptown...It's Hot! – "Oh, Lady be Good!"
- 1992 – Crazy for You – musical adapting George and Ira Gershwin Tin Pan Alley and Broadway songs
- 1999 – The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm – revue with songs by George and Ira Gershwin
- 2001 – George Gershwin Alone – one-man play by Hershey Felder, who portrayed Gershwin, incorporating "Swanee" from Sinbad (lyrics by Irving Caesar), "Embraceable You" from Girl Crazy (lyrics by Ira Gershwin), "Someone to Watch Over Me" from Oh, Kay! (lyrics by Ira Gershwin), "Bess, You is My Woman Now" from Porgy and Bess (lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin), An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue.
- 2002 – Elaine Stritch at Liberty – But Not For Me
- 2002 – Back from Broadway – one-time concert featuring songs by George Gershwin
- 2010 – Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin – two incomplete pieces by Gershwin finished by Brian Wilson and 12 other reimagined Gershwin classics
Music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin