1935 – New York: George Gershwin Music, 559 pages. Rhapsody in Blue is a 1924 musical composition by American composer George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects. Commissioned by bandleader Paul Whiteman, the composition was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé several times, including the original 1924 scoring, “theater orchestra” setting published in 1926, and the symphony orchestra scoring published in 1942, though completed earlier. Gershwin’s reputation as a serious composer and has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works. November 1, 1923, band leader Paul Whiteman decided to attempt something more ambitious.
In a phone call to Whiteman next morning, Gershwin was told that Whiteman’s rival Vincent Lopez was planning to steal the idea of his experimental concert and there was no time to lose. Gershwin was finally persuaded to compose the piece. Since there were only five weeks left, Gershwin hastily set about composing a piece, and on the train journey to Boston, the ideas of Rhapsody in Blue came to his mind. I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise.
No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. Gershwin began his work on January 7 as dated on the original manuscript for two pianos. The piece was titled “American Rhapsody” during composition. Rhapsody in Blue premiered in an afternoon concert on Tuesday, February 12, 1924, held by Paul Whiteman and his band Palais Royal Orchestra, entitled An Experiment in Modern Music, which took place in Aeolian Hall in New York City. The purpose of the experiment, as told by Whiteman in a pre-concert lecture in front of many classical music critics and highbrows, was “to be purely educational”. It would “at least provide a stepping stone which will make it very simple for the masses to understand, and therefore, enjoy symphony and opera”.
The program was long, including 26 separate musical movements, divided into 2 parts and 11 sections, bearing titles such as “True form of jazz” and “Contrast: legitimate scoring vs. The Rhapsody was performed by Whiteman’s band, with an added section of string players, and George Gershwin on piano. Gershwin decided to keep his options open as to when Whiteman would bring in the orchestra and he did not write down one of the pages for solo piano, with only the words “Wait for nod” scrawled by Grofé on the band score. Reacting favourably to Gorman’s whimsy, Gershwin asked him to perform the opening measure that way at the concert and to add as much of a ‘wail’ as possible.
Archived from the original on April 25, the piece is characterized by strong motivic interrelatedness. With its unique instrumental requirements, gershwin was finally persuaded to compose the piece. George Gershwin: His Life and Music. “theater orchestra” setting published in 1926, as its mainly rhythmic contribution is provided by the inner strings. IMSLP does not assume any sort of legal responsibility or liability for the consequences of downloading files that are not in the public domain in your country.