Tales from the Trail of a YA Author – Happy Birthday Rhapsody in Blue

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the debut of Rhapsody In Blue! I just bought the 31-page piano score of the George Gershwin classic and started working on it! It will probably take me 30 years to get it right, but bring it on! When I Googled the title to hear a performance, I soon discovered the piece was first performed in public by Gershwin himself on February 12, 1924! I’m working on Summertime too! Can’t seem to get enough of Gershwin (who is likely to feature prominently in my new book!) but neither can a lot of people! George
The composition’s debut is being recreated in New York City at Town Hall, near the now-closed Aeolian Hall, where it debuted in 1924. The original concert, which turned out to be a milestone in jazz and classical music, was billed as “Experiment in Modern Music.” For more info on this week’s show featuring Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks and jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal, please check : http://thetownhall.org/event/521-90th-anniversary-george-gershwins-rhapsody-in-blue.
According to historians, band leader Paul Whiteman asked Gershwin in Nov 1923 to create a piece for an all-jazz concert set for Aeolian Hall in February 1924. But it wasn’t until early January when Gershwin set out to compose the piece, with only five weeks left. Gershwin reportedly drew inspiration for Rhapsody during a train journey to Boston.
For many people, Rhapsody in Blue, is interpreted as a musical portrait of New York City and has been used widely in films like “Manhattan” and “The Great Gatsby”. It is also considered by many artists as one of the most important musical influences of all time. Here’s Gershwin playing the classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U40xBSz6Dc&

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