Irving Berlin’s music does not have the rhythmic or harmonic complexities of a Gershwin tune nor the sly naughtiness of a Cole Porter hit. His shows are no longer the staple of high school and community productions in the same way Rodgers and Hammerstein plays live on.
And yet it is impossible to find a single composer who did more for ‘The American Songbook’ than Irving Berlin. In many ways he is a victim of his own success - everyone knows “God Bless America,” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” and “There’s No Business like Show Business” - yet because the songs are so ingrained in our culture, many people do not know who wrote them or that they were composed by the same talented man.
Along with a discussion of his amazing personal biography, from penniless refugee to Hollywood and Broadway icon, this talk will also demonstrate, with both recorded and live performance, the elegant and masterful ways in which an Irving Berlin song, such as “White Christmas” or “What will I Do?" are crafted with brilliant subtlety.