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WIN'S SUCCESSOR 7 THE RANKS of the great are small. As soon as one member leaves, a new candidate steps up to enter the exclusive society. The vacant one's place is taken but never is the cry of "The King Is Dead, Long Live The King" shouted. For the kings of the great cannot be re- placed. Enrico Caruso died. New tenors were hailed. But there will never be another Caruso. Will Rogers has left. There have been pretenders to his throne, but it will always be vacant. Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey retired. There have been new champions but there will never be another Babe or Manassa Mauler. George Gershwin is gone. Gershwin, the young East Side genius hailed as America's greatest composer. The one man who most successfully was able to catch and put into music the heart-beat of a nation. Gershwin is gone. Who is there in music today who can step up and fill the space in the ranks that his departure has left open? I wanted to find out. I thought the only way to do it was to ask those men who conduct music. Conductors who have played the works of Gershwin and are now playing what the new candidates offer. I began to make the rounds. I went from one important conductor's office to another, and the reaction I got was interesting. There were some who said: "Gershwin is alone. There will never be another like him. There is no composer in America today who can be mentioned in the same breath with George." There were others who mentioned possible candidates for his place. Each agreed that those candidates had yet to prove themselves. And there was one man who did not hesitate to speak and predict. The man who is called the Dean of American Music, sponsor of the Rhap- sody in Blue, one of Gershwin's closest friends, the conductor who best knows George's work. He is Paul Whiteman, and here is his answer to the blunt question: "Who is Gershwin's successor ?" "That's a large order to fill, but I think Ray- mond Scott is this era's ace composer. Like all people of greatness, he has a positive, definite trademark on everything he writes. He is very much of this age and has a marvelous technique for 'mike' writing. What I like best about Scott is that he gets better with each new thing he writes." Just as he sponsored Gershwin, Paul is now centering his attention on Scott. He is the first to play new Scott compositions, for example. So there is Raymond Scott as the first nominee. After my tour of the experts, the rest of the candidates line up to include, at the top: Morton Gould, Duke Ellington and Ferde Grofe. Before you hear about each of these gentle- men, I'd like you to know what Frank Black had to say on the subject. Black is musical director of NBC and was an intimate of Gershwin's. He has an encyclopedic knowl- edge of music and musicians and a habit of saying what he thinks. "The stuff those people are doing," he said, "is not as good as what George did when he first started out." As to Raymond Scott as a possibility, he added: "Gersh- win never gave a damn about perfection of performance. Scott strives for perfection. Scott's music is dependent upon the way it is played—his Quintet makes it. Gershwin, certainly, didn't compose that way. "Gould?—A babe in arms! "Grofe? He possesses an enormous amount of talent, but not a spark of what Gershwin had. Ferde is essentially an orchestrator, an arranger—a talent which George lacked completely and which would have made him even greater. Grofe is a descriptive, photographic writer. Gershwin composed pure, absolute music. "Ellington?—He is the Negro Gershwin. I don't think he has what may be called 'profundity,' but he is a terrific melodic genius." But he agreed that all four are heading in the direction of the paths Gershwin took. Andre Kostelanetz, an- other Gershwin friend and admirer, refused to commit himself. He said no one has approached Gershwin yet. He agreed that the candi- dates included the four we (Continued on page 64)