Today is the anniversary of the 1924 premiere in New York City of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. As a clarinet player, I always loved the opening clarinet slide, and was always so frustrated when I couldn’t replicate it. I recently learned that Gershwin initially wrote the piece for two pianos, and it was orchestrated for Whiteman by Ferde Grofe, yes, he of the Grand Canon Suite. Grofe was considered quite a jazz composer and arranger, which I also find surprising.
I love Gershwin’s music, especially his popular songs. I wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t died so tragically young.
What is your favorite Gershwin music? What contemporaries of Gershwin do you like?