GERSHWIN, GEORGE and HEYWARD, DUBOSE Porgy and Bess. An Opera in Three Acts. New York: Random House, 1935. First edition, nu...
. New York: Random House, 1935. First edition, number 58 of 250 deluxe copies signed by both George & Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward and director Rouben Mamoulian, further inscribed on the front blank by George Gershwin to close friend and musical colleague, Leo Reisman ("To Leo Reisman/Sincere Admiration & Best Wishes/George Gershwin/Nov. 5, 1935"). Original red morocco stamped in blind and with lettering labels, early clear protective jacket, straw slipcase. 12 1/4 x 9 inches (31.5 x 23.5 cm); Frontispiece and title page decoration by George Biddle, 559 pp. Some spotting to endpapers and edges, light thumbsoiling, the title and frontispiece loosening, a few small chips at foot of spine, the protective jacket with a split to the rear panel, slight lift to lettering label on upper cover, with the contemporary booklabel label of Harry F. Marks to rear pastedown, the slipcase with small losses and some wear, a very good copy of a notoriously fragile work, complete with original labels and slipcase; Together with a group of vintage photographs depicting Gershwin and Reisman in Paris, a telegram invitation to a party at Conde Nast's home celebrating the opening of Porgy and Bess, and the 1935 printed sheet music for "I Got Plenty O'Nuttin" from Porgy and Bess.
An important presentation copy of Porgy and Bess, Gershwin's ambitious and controversial "American folk opera," which debuted on Broadway in October 1935 with an entirely African-American cast. The present copy is inscribed in the first week of November 1935 to frequent Gershwin collaborator Leo Reisman, with whose company Gershwin would perform Rhapsody in Blue in a whirlwind twenty-eight cities in twenty-eight days tour in early 1934 which no doubt greatly added to Gershwin's fame in advance of Porgy and Bess. The vintage photographs here show Gershwin and Reisman in Paris circa 1928, the period in which Gershwin would compose An American in Paris. In summer 1934, Gershwin would join Porgy author Heyward Dubose in Charleston, South Carolina in order to compose Porgy and Bess which was controversial not only for its racial content but also its unorthodox style of opera. Included here is a printed telegram inviting Reisman to attend the party held for Gershwin at Conde Nast's apartment on October 10th, 1935, the night Porgy and Bess debuted and, in 1942, Reisman would record selections from Porgy and Bess for Decca Records, some of the best known contemporary recordings of the show. Inscribed copies of Porgy and Bess are rare at auction with ABPC reporting only two copies of the deluxe issue, one of which has been sold three times, none of which carried as germane and desirable an association as that between Leo Reisman and legendary composer George Gershwin.
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