© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture
The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

The Fascinatin' Rhythms of George Gershwin: A Video Prelude


American musical theater is not all fluff with no bite. In fact, the 1930s saw a maturity coming to the genre. George Gershwin and George Kaufman brought biting satire to the musical stage with "Of Thee I Sing." This, in turn, opened the gates for other socially informed shows, such as Harold Rome's "Pins and Needles," a show produced off and on Broadway by members of The Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Both shows are considered in brief as part of this "prelude" to the radio show "The Fascinatin' Rhythms of George Gershwin." This video essay shines a spotlight on several holdings in The Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts at San Antonio's McNay Art Museum. Jody Blake, curator of the current exhibition at the McNay's Brown Gallery, marvels at the boldness of the garment workers in dedicating themselves to an entertainment laced with clever social commentary.

The Fascinatin' Rhythms of George Gershwin: A Video Prelude invites the viewer to Sunday afternoon's main event, the reprise of The Fascinatin' Ryhthms of George Gershwin, produced in 2004 by KPAC's Kathy Couser and James Baker. Mark the calendar for Sunday, May 14, at 2 o'clock for an entertaining exploration of American popular song, with expert commentary by Broadway historian Aaron Gandy and Gershwin specialist Robert Kimball.

American Popular Song: Volume 4

The Fascinatin’ Rhythms of George Gershwin


  1. Introduction [12:47]

    1. An American in Paris (Gershwin, Nonesuch 79287 / Levine, Chicago SO, DG 431 625)

    2. I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise (Bolcom, Nonesuch 79151)

    3. Fascinatin’ Rhythm (Fred Astaire, Verve 513 928)

    4. That Certain Feeling (Fitzgerald, Verve 2525)

    5. Of Thee I Sing Overture (Thomas, Buffalo Philharmonic, CBS 42240)

    6. Rhapsody in Blue (Levine, CSO, DG 431 625)

    7. Porgy and Bess Overture (Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops, Telarc 80445)

    8. “Music By Gershwin” Signature (Gershwin, Musicmasters 5062)

    9. Liza (Jolson, MCA )


  1. Biographical Sketch [14:37]

    1. Liza (Bolcom, Nonesuch 79151)

    2. Rialto Ripples (Bolcom, Nonesuch 79151)

    3. When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em (Gershwin, Nonesuch 79287)

    4. Swanee (Jolson, Sony 57502)

    5. Somebody Loves Me (Kiri Te Kanawa, EMI 47454)

    6. Rhapsody in Blue (Levine, CSO, 431 625)

    7. Prelude No. 3 (Wild, Ivory Classics 70702)

    8. Oh, Lady Be Good (Astaire, Verve 521 658)

    9. I Got Rhythm (London Brass, Teldec 46444


  1. The Man I Love [6:07]

    1. The Man I Love (Gershwin, Musicmasters 5062 / Morris, Bolcom, Nonesuch 79151)


  1. High Gear: 1925-1934 [18:12]

    1. Girl Crazy Overture (John Mauceri et al, Nonesuch 79250)

    2. I Got Rhythm (Stern, St. Luke’s, Nonesuch 79361)

    3. Embraceable You (Te Kanawa, McGlinn, New Princess Theater Orchestra, EMI 47454)

    4. Embraceable You reprise (Mauceri, Nonesuch 79250)

    5. Bidin' My Time (John Mauceri et al, Nonesuch 79250)

    6. Someone to Watch Over Me (Upshaw, Stern, St. Luke’s, Nonesuch 79361)

    7. Of Thee I Sing Overture (Thomas, Buffalo Phil., CBS 42240)

    8. Of Thee I Sing (Fitzgerald, Verve 521 658)

    9. Who Cares? (O’Day, Verve 521 658)


  1. Porgy and Bess [20:19]

    1. Overture (Russell Garcia Orchestra, Verve 827 475)

    2. Summertime (Helen Merrill, Verve 513 928)

    3. Prayer (Houston Grand Opera, RCA 54680 / Miles Davis, CBS 65141)

    4. A Woman is a Sometime Thing (Bruce Hubbard, EMI 9928)

    5. It Ain’t Necessarily So (John Bubbles, RCA 63312)

    6. Bess, You is My Woman Now (Todd Duncan, Musicmasters 5062)

    7. My Man’s Gone Now (Ruby Elzy, Musicmasters 5062 / Leontyne Price, RCA 63312)

    8. Oh, Lawd, I’m On My Way (RCA 63312)

    9. Fascinatin’ Rhythm – tag (Louie Bellson, Verve 525 361


  1. Jim Balentine Segment [6:40]

    1. Walking the Dog (Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops, Telarc 80445)

    2. Love Is Here to Stay (Dearie, Verve 521 658)


  1. Hollywood / Gershwin’s Death [10:37]

    1. They All Laughed (Fitzgerald, Verve 519 804)

    2. Love Walked In (Te Kanawa, EMI 47454)

    3. Lullaby (Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops, Telarc 80445)

    4. They All Laughed (Shearing, Verve 525 361)    

The Spotify list below is incomplete due to several of the above selections not being available on the service, however, we hope you enjoy listening!