Pictured above: George and Ira Gershwin
Rhapsody in Blue was a famous 1924 musical composition written by composer and pianist George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) for solo piano and jazz band, with combined elements of classical music and jazz-influenced effects.
This was Gershwin’s first major classical work for orchestra and piano. The composition premiered February 12, 1924 at Aolean Hall and was part of a concert entitled “An Experiment in Modern Music with Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Orchestra”. For George, the premier proved to be a career-shaping event. The revolutionary work was a resounding success that brought Gershwin world acclaim and fame while brilliantly incorporating trademarks of the jazz idiom into a symphonic form.
The young composer previously made a mark for himself in Tin Pan Alley, New York City’s well known song-writing district, with the celebrated hit song, 1919’s “Swanee”. The song, with lyrics by Irving Caesar, was his first big national hit when incorporated into Al Jolson’s revue, “Sinbad” at the Winter Garden Theatre.
George collaborated with his lyricist brother, Ira Gershwin (December 6, 1896 – August 17, 1983), to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. Together, they wrote more than a dozen Broadway shows, with songs such as “I Got Rhythm”, “Embraceable You”, “The Man I Love” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”. The brothers will forever be known as the songwriting team whose voices were synonymous with the sound of the Jazz Age. But, perhaps their greatest achievement was the integration and legitimization of musical comedy to an American art form.
Why not take a closer look at the history of these brothers and listen to their legendary music?
The Gershwin’s Site