Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Anne Brown (1912-2009)

As I listened to an NPR broadcast this evening I heard that Anne Brown has died. Her significance in music history began when she was cast in George Gershwin's all-black cast opera "Porgy" as in incidental character named "Bess". A student from Julliard, she auditioned singing a Schubert art song. Gershwin asked her to sing a Negro spiritual. This request offended the modern woman, but she complied demonstrating to Gershwin she could sing in the Negro dialect. Gershwin so liked Brown's voice that he kept adding songs for her character to sing. He soon told her that the opera "Porgy" for which she had auditioned was being renamed "Porgy and Bess". And so it was because of Brown's talent that Gershin's famous opera had both a leading man and a leading lady. One song, a lullaby, was to be sung by another incidental character. Brown so liked this song that she convinced Gershwin to write it for Bess to sing. That lullaby was titled "Summertime".
And, as Paul Harvey would say..."Now you know the REST of the story!"

No comments:

Post a Comment