Skip to comments.Contemporary American Classics: *Rhapsody In Blue* (good video 16:25 mins)
Posted on 01/04/2014 6:04:01 PM PST by virgil283
"When Rhapsody in Blue premiered at New York's Aeolian Hall on February 12, 1924, most people couldn't wait for the evening to be over.
The piece was scheduled near the end of a long program called "An Experiment in Modern Music." After two sluggish hours, the audience was bored, restless, and drenched in sweat due to the hall's broken ventilation system. But then, a lone clarinet pierced through the orchestra, fizzing upward like a fountain of champagne. Suddenly, everyone was riveted.
For the next 17 minutes, George Gershwin, an unknown 26-year-old composer, caressed and pounded the piano at center stage, chasing the orchestra through a thrill ride of skyrocketing notes. It was an unforgettable debut -one that brought new respect to jazz and helped redefine classical music. Today, Rhapsody in Blue is one of the 10 most-performed works of the 20th century,..."
(Excerpt) Read more at americandigest.org ...
I can hear some of it in my head. This talented girl in hs used to practice that one in the music room every extra minute she got. It was too difficult for me, lots of octave chords in rapid progression.
Thank you so much. This recording is my favorite performance of this piece — by Leonard Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic. I recognized it immediately, although I checked out the youtube video just to be sure.
An amazing American classic from a time when everybody knew that America could accomplish anything.
There’s always a lot written about how jazz influenced classical/pop music in the 1920s, but what I always found even more interesting (and rarely covered) is how popular music influenced jazz. That is, taking the extremely harsh and raucous tendencies of early jazz (think late-1910s Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Louisiana Five, etc.), and polishing it from what might have been a short-lived craze into a long-lasting musical genre.
It’s interesting how tastes work: I can’t stand Rhapsody in Blue and have never heard the whole thing. I literally couldn’t abide it the first time I hear the clarinet glissando.
Incidentally, among the judges at the competition was Efrem Zimbalist Sr., father of actor Efrem Jr. and grandfather of Stephanie, and in the audience was John Philip Sousa.
After Gershwin won the competition, he went to Paris to (try to) study under Ravel, but Ravel refused to teach him, saying that he would turn into a second-rate Ravel rather than a first-rate Gershwin. French-classical influence on jazz would have to wait another generation, when Darius Milhaud would teach one of Patton's soldiers who stayed behind in Paris in '44, Dave Brubeck. Dave named his first son after Milhaud, and Darius Brubeck went on to teach jazz at KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa after the end of apartheid--and Darius' student, Pamela Myburgh, is today the vocalist for The Arrows, a Christian jazz-pop-fusion duo http://www.thearrowsband.com/
Just for drill I went to YouTube and carefully typed out
R H A
And up popped Rhapsody in Blue at the top of the selection box. Still a hit after all these years. Great music.
Rachmaninov was also in the audience, and he became a fan of Gershwin.
Get Michael Tilson-Thomas’ recording of the original jazz band version of the piece that was performed in 1924. The piano concerto version came three years later.
All it reminds me of is a United Airlines commercial.
True. "Among those present were such figures as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kreisler, Leopold Stokowski, Walter Damrosch, Jascha Heifetz, Leopold Damrosch, Alma Gluck, Mary Garden, Amelita Galli-Curci, Moritz Rosenthal and Efrem Zimbalist. The influence of the Rhapsody in Blue on Rachmaninoff, who had done little composing since leaving his native Russia six years earlier, was to be heard in his Fourth Piano Concerto, whose premiere he gave with Stokowski in 1926." Rhapsody in Blue: About the Work
There are also two passages in Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” that sound like Gershwin and feel like Gershwin on the fingers.
17 minutes? Most versions i hear are 20-22 minutes long.
George must have played it FAST! LOL!
I once got through the first page, and promptly gave up and switched to an easier version!
love to hear any composer bang out their stuff on a piano.
i once thot i could make software to help composers get their music published (the parts separated. This was before i knew anything about computers). i think somebody did that. compare this version to a modern NYS*** version. It will sound sappy. For Beethoven the best we have today is Artur Schnabel or Leonard Shure.
I love the Proms.
Disney Animation did a great version of “Rhapsody in Blue” on “Fantasia 2000.”
It’s sort of surprising the original Rhapsody was such an instant hit, since the arrangement sounds kinda harsh to me - Ferde Grofe took hold of it and reorchestrated it with more strings and fewer woodwinds and came up with the present standard which is great.....
I played the “Little Rhapsody In Blue” at my one and only piano recital years and years ago. I wouldn’t DARE try an original version....lol
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