"Where they both made their mark was extending the form," he said. "George Gershwin was the only composer of his time to make a mark with the popular style of the time and then successfully cross over to quote-unquote serious music by extending the form beyond the basic [pop song] structure, getting into operatic styles and things of that sort.
"Brian Wilson," Sampson added, "redefined the pop song form . . . . through his orchestrations that took music in an entirely new direction. They're coming from two very different musical styles to end up with what I presume will be something new. That's the exciting interaction I see in this."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, October 09, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 2 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction
Brian Wilson-George Gershwin: An article in Thursday's Section A about Brian Wilson's new project to complete unfinished music of George Gershwin stated that among the historical precedents, J.R.R. Tolkien's son had commissioned writer Guy Gavriel Kay to complete "The Silmarillion," which Tolkien had not finished before his death. Kay's role was to assist Christopher Tolkien in the editorial construction of the book.
Wilson joins some illustrious company in the scope of the Gershwin project. When Mozart died at age 35 in 1791, a consortium of his contemporaries worked to fill in the incomplete portions of his Requiem. J.R.R. Tolkien's son commissioned writer Guy Gavriel Kay to complete the novel "The Silmarillion" that his father hadn't finished when he died.
But even in such unusual cases it's been exceedingly rare that the person finishing the uncompleted work has been as prominent as the artist who left the work behind.
For many of those involved with the project, the prospect of one day seeing songs credited to "George Gershwin-Brian Wilson" borders on the enticingly surreal. "For me personally," Rosenberger said, "it's a weird dream come true."