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
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The first time I heard just a part of it was as a kid — it was used in an ad for United Airlines. My favorite recorded version is Gershwin from the Piano Rolls.
1988 United Airlines version
There’s also a Gershwin tune that Paul Whiteman recorded earlier, in 1922, entitled “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise.” Always thought it sounded quite advanced, especially with a stirring Henry Busse trumpet solo towards the end.
In 1989 on a United flight from L.A. to Sydney, Australia, they played their new corporate theme song (Rhapsody) about once every 20 minutes...it grew a bit tiresome.
This one isn’t bad.
Promenade. (Walking The dog).
The jazz band version was orchestrated by Paul Whiteman. The orchestral version, which I prefer, was orchestrated by Gershwin himself.
Denis Agay has a very nice “little” Rhapsody in Blue that recaps the main themes. It is only four pages long and is appropriate for a Third Year Student, ranging through three different keys with nice transitions. So far, two of my students have done this piece in recital.
I am actually a rock musician, and teach a very intuitive method of playing. I have had many students ask for “R_I_B” way before they are ready for it, as well as “Fur Elise”. For some reason, those two pieces appeal to Rock musicians!
Here is a Bio of Denis Agay, my favorite “RE-Composer”:
Denes Agay, who is best known for his teaching collections, anthologies and texts for piano study, began playing piano at age 3. Born and raised in a small village near Budapest, Hungary, Agay went on to earn his doctorate in piano composition and performance at Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest in 1934. His father was doubtful that anyone could make a living in the music business, but success was apparent when Agay conducted the Budapest Philharmonic in a performance of a symphony he had composed. Agay also composed and orchestrated music for film.
With the rise of Nazism, Agay left Hungary and moved to New York in 1939 to become an American citizen. In 1942 he enlisted in the army, where he entertained patients in the hospital ward and eventually earned the rank of sergeant. After the war, Agay began teaching, composing, and publishing, in addition to working as the conductor and arranger on the NBC radio show “Guest Star.” One of Agay’s most successful piano series is “The Young Pianist’s Library” that covers a variety of styles and levels.
(No WONDER I love him!)
Thanks so much for all the info. Very interesting and I’ll try to get my hands on one. I don’t play much anymore but sometime when I’m dusting my piano....let’s say every 5 years or so...(kidding) I’ll pull out my hymnal and play a little. It’s really stupid for me not to play any more than I do. :) I love rock music as long as it’s not too “heavy metal”....lol
I love the old hymns, but I write new ones for my church.
My church is all bikers and they love the BLUES, so I do a wee bit of “adapting”.
Perhaps that is why i like Denis Agay so much! LOL!
Much Better than “Wardrobe malfunctions” at Halftime! :-)
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