Gershwin’s ‘Gefiltefish Orchestration’

Gershwin’s ‘Gefiltefish Orchestration’

Virgil Thompson was a well-known composer and music critic during the 1930s.

“…he could rarely resist ethnic stereotypes when writing about his more successful Jewish rivals. ‘At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory stirring-up-together of Israel, Africa, and the Gaelic isles,’ he said of Porgy and Bess. He decried
‘the impurity of his musical sources’ and in a frank twitch of anti-Semitism, Gershwin’s
‘gefiltefish orchestration.’ … As he had done with the work of Aaron Copland a few years earlier, Thomson could not resist highlighting the real or imagined Hebraic sources of Gershwin’s music.”

Morris Dickstein, “Dancing in the Dark,” 2009

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