January 3, 2014

Contemporary American Classics: Rhapsody In Blue

rhapsody_in_blue.jpg

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, right up there with "Happy Birthday" and "White Christmas." Much more at George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - Neatorama

Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 3, 2014 7:53 AM
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Just wonderful!

Posted by: Mary*Ann at January 3, 2014 3:13 PM

That, is the song I have in the instructions as to what to play at my funeral.

In that my plans are not to be buried, or cremated....but rather, to be mulched, it is fitting.


Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim at January 3, 2014 9:40 PM

When I was a very little girl growing up in small town Tennessee, one of my favorite things to do on the sly was to wait for my parents to leave me alone in the house and then, when the coast was clear and they were outta sight in their Oldsmobile---run into the living room to rev up the victrola, find the Gershwin 78 record, put it on, turn it up---blast it---as loud as it would go. I would begin to dance my heart out to Rhapsody In Blue all over the house---up and down the stairs, through the living and dining rooms, around the tables, chairs---until I was utterly spent, too exhausted for another twirl. After my live performance, I would take the record off, put it back into its cover and onto the shelf....only to await the next opportunity to do it again.

Great post, G. Good memories.

Posted by: Webutante at January 4, 2014 6:36 AM

When I was a very little girl growing up in small town Tennessee, one of my favorite things to do on the sly was to wait for my parents to leave me alone in the house and then, when the coast was clear and they were outta sight in their Oldsmobile---run into the living room to rev up the victrola, find the Gershwin 78 record, put it on, turn it up---blast it---as loud as it would go. I would begin to dance my heart out to Rhapsody In Blue all over the house---up and down the stairs, through the living and dining rooms, around the tables, chairs---until I was utterly spent, too exhausted for another twirl. After my live performance, I would take the record off, put it back into its cover and onto the shelf....only to await the next opportunity to do it again.

Great post, G. Good memories.

Posted by: Webutante at January 4, 2014 6:37 AM

George Gershwin--a great American who made the most of his all-too-brief time on earth. He's one of the few modern classical composers I can actually listen to.

Posted by: waltj at January 4, 2014 7:31 AM

Thanks for this one which is an outstanding presentation.
One little error it was Paul not Phil Whiteman who was the band leader

Posted by: Pete Newcomb at January 4, 2014 9:38 AM

Gershwin's opus is now and forever linked to a certain airline company...

Posted by: Lane at January 5, 2014 8:26 AM
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