Pianist Bill Mays and the Oregon Festival of American Music Orchestra will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue tonight. Mays tells Rifftides it will be the full-blown composition that debuted in 1924 with Gershwin as soloist, not the shortened version frequently performed by symphony orchestras. For details, click here. If you happen not to be in Eugene, Oregon, you can hear it live in a web-streaming broadcast on KLCC-FM, Eugene’s public radio station, at 8:00 pm PDT, 11 pm EDT. Click here, then click on either the MP3 or Windows Media player.
Jack Reilly says
The Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue is straight out of the ragtime era; It’s a Ragtime concerto which synthesizes the styles of all the leading composers of the Ragtime form (1860-1920), but Gershwin being Gershwin points it toward the future of modern jazz piano. All jazz pianists must study and play it with orchestra. I did in 1962 with the Staten Island Symphony and will again perform it in 2010/2011 with the Keewenaw (Hancock, MI), and Pacific Lutheran( Tacoma, WA), Symphonies respectively. It’s the most popular American work of all time. It’s great that Mr. Mays has it in his fingers and is programming it. I highly respect his trio work and his own compositions. He’s a great artist.
Any shortened or botched versions ( for example, inserting improvisations or “re-arranging” it for trio), is tantamount to homicide. For me it proves that the pianist who dares to do this to Gershwin’s masterpiece is an ignoramus and should be run out of town!
And classical pianists who perform it never seem to “get it”. They should take some coaching lessons with Bill Mays or me before we run them out of town!