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GERSHWIN, George & Ira.

Strike up the Band.

Book by Morrie Ryskind (Based on a libretto by George S. Kaufman.)

Published: New York: New World Music Corporation, 1930

Stock code: 70729

Price: £10,000

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition, first printing of the score. A superb association copy inscribed by both George and Ira, with quotations from the show; “He’s a man of very high degree, not low – but high!” with a sketch by Ira of a man bowing. The recipient, Newman Levy, was a lawyer who graduated from New York University in 1911, Assistant District Attorney of New York County, 1916-9, but he had always wanted to be a songwriter like his cousin Richard Rodgers, to which end he studied music with Algonquin habitué Deems Taylor. He practised law until his death in 1966, but did become known as a writer of light verse, published in the New Yorker and Saturday Evening Post, which was collected in book form; as a reviewer of opera and musicals; and as a composer of skits for Broadway revues. A friend of the Gershwins, he is probably best remembered for his swift riposte to George’s musing as to whether his music would still be performed in a hundred years’ time; “Yes, if you’re around to play it!” Heavily influenced by Gilbert and Sullivan, Strike up the Band was the Gershwin’s first fully integrated score for a book musical. It had failed on try-out in Philadelphia in 1927, and for its Broadway run three years later Ryskind rejigged various elements of the story, and the Gershwins added twelve new songs and rewrote many others both melodically and lyrically. Overall the effect was to make the show less G & S and more in tune with the developing Swing craze, Red Nichols led the pit orchestra at the Times Square Theatre which included Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, Jimmy Dorsey, and Jack Teagarden.

Quarto .Contemporary red cloth, maroon morocco label to the spine and a green morocco patch label to the upper board, top edge gilt, original wraps bound in. Housed in a black cloth flat back solander box. Slightly rubbed at the extremities, a little soiled, light toning, the first few leaves with minor restoration to the margins, but overall a very good copy.

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