Music, Art & Cookery
SUMMERTIME" Arranged and orchestrated by Joe Peters on Yamaha S950, with vocals by Susie Drage. This is featured on my album MOMENTS TO REMEMBER
I had the good fortune to work with Joe Peters on a whole lot of songs most of which were recorded on my last two albums and which can be found on my MEMORIUM PAGE dedicated to Joe if you wish to hear some of his brilliant arrangements and the songs we performed together.
"Summertime" is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP.
The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as "without doubt ... one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote ... Gershwin's highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century". Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has characterized Heyward's lyrics for "Summertime" and "My Man's Gone Now" as "the best lyrics in the musical theater". The song is recognized as among the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, with more than 33,000 covers by groups and solo performers.
15th November 2017
Set in the early 1900s in the fictional Catfish Row section of Charleston, South Carolina, which serves as home to a black fishing community, the story focuses on the title characters: crippled beggar Porgy, who travels about in a goat-drawn cart, and the drug-addicted Bess, who lives with stevedore Crown, the local bully.
While high on cocaine supplied by Sportin' Life, Crown kills Robbins after the latter vanquishes him in a craps game; Bess urges Crown to flee. Sportin' Life suggests she accompany him to New York City, an offer Bess declines. She seeks refuge with her neighbors, all of whom refuse to help her. Porgy finally agrees to let her stay with him.
Bess and Porgy settle into domestic life together and soon fall in love. Just before a church picnic on Kittiwah Island, Sportin' Life once again approaches Bess, but Porgy warns him to leave her alone. Bess wishes to stay with Porgy, since he cannot attend the picnic because of his disability, but he urges her to go. After the picnic ends, and before Bess can leave,
Crown, who has been hiding in the woods on the island, confronts her. She initially struggles to resist him but Crown rapes her. The others, not knowing exactly what has happened, leave and return to the mainland.
Two days later, Bess returns to Catfish Row in a state of delirium. When she recovers, she remembers what happened. Feeling that she betrayed Porgy, she begs his forgiveness. She admits she is unable to resist Crown and asks Porgy to protect her from him.
Crown eventually returns to claim his woman, and when he draws his knife, Porgy strangles him. He is detained by the police merely to identify the body, but Sportin' Life, who has fed Bess cocaine, convinces her Porgy inadvertently will reveal himself to be the murderer. In her drugged state, she finally accepts his offer to take her to New York.
When Porgy returns and discovers she is gone, he sets off to find her.