It is said that somewhere in the world a Gershwin melody is played in one form or another every 35 seconds.

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Gramophone write: During the 13 years of their almost exclusive collaboration, George and Ira Gershwin produced nearly 1000 songs, for a dozen shows and four films. Imagine the fruits of that partnership if George had been granted even 10 more years – let alone 40.

Someone once told me – and even if it’s not true, I’d like to believe it is – that the total royalties accrued from performances of ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess are equivalent to the Argentine national debt. It is said that somewhere in the world a Gershwin melody is played in one form or another every 35 seconds.

When I first met the Gershwin family in New York a year before Ira’s death in 1983, George’s presence was still very much in evidence. The elegant apartment of his sister Francis (‘Frankie’) Gershwin Godowsky was almost casually decorated with his pictures (along with a healthy collection of works by Gaugin, Chagall and the like), sculptures and other artefacts. Sitting next to her and her extended family, as I did over the following decade and more during performances of Porgy and Bess and other Gershwin shows, was the equivalent of watching The Marriage of Figaro with Constanze. The Gershwins were and are musical royalty. At the interval of one Gershwin concert at the Royal Albert Hall, George’s nephew turned to me in the box and said, ‘Come and have a drink – I want to introduce you to your Prime Minister.’

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