11.07.2017

“Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin in our Sound Library in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the composer's memory.

“Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin in our Sound Library in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the composer's memory.
On July 11, eighty years ago, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, George Gershwin, died. Pianist-virtuoso and a daring experimentalist, like no one else, he combined various musical trends in his creative work and reflected the atmosphere of the jazz era in his music.
Gershwin considered jazz a unique phenomenon, more than just a certain style. "I hear the whole musical kaleidoscope of America in it - our huge seething cauldron, our national vital pulse, our songs ..." - wrote Gershwin in the mid-20s.

 It was he, who brought jazz to a new level of popularity and official recognition. Here is how the American bandleader and music critic Walter Damrosch said about it: "Lady Jazz, adorned with intriguing rhythms, went dancing through the world. However, nowhere did she meet a knight who would have introduced her as an esteemed guest to the higher musical community. George Gershwin did this miracle. He boldly dressed an independent and modern lady in classic concert clothes. However, in no way he diminished her charm. He is a prince who took Cinderella by the hand and openly proclaimed her a princess, provoking the world’s amazement and the fury of her envious sisters”.

 Young Gershwin began learning to play piano at the age of 12 and already in 1916, when he was only eighteen, he released his first composition " When You Want ’Em, You Can’t Get ’Em." This debut attracted the attention of the music community to the young composer.
Within a couple of years, Gershwin's music - songs, performances, and the first opera written in 1922 - began to sound in Broadway. His popularity grew, and many tunes immediately after the premiere became the hits. Gershwin was fantastically efficient and created more than 10 musicals a year.

 "Rhapsody in Blue" is one of the well-known Gershwin’s works for piano and orchestra. The premiere concert in New York on February 1924 gathered the entire cream of the music community and was a great success. Twenty-six-year-old George Gershwin performed the piano part in the presence of the eminent masters (Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jascha Heifetz, and others attended the concert) and earned a well-deserved ovation for "the rhythmic ingenuity and original sense of harmony.

 To commemorate the memorable date, we present a rare recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" performed by George Gershwin (piano part) and an orchestra directed by Paul Whiteman.