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100 Years of 'Rhapsody in Blue'

“Rhapsody in Blue” is one of the most famous pieces of American classical music. Over the last 100 years, the piece has come to define America’s jazz age.

On Feb. 12, 1924, its world premiere was met with tumultuous applause. It broke the rules and crossed boundaries. But some were unimpressed.

Lawrence Gilman, a music critic from the New York Tribune, had this to say:

Another critic went further and wrote that Gershwin, whose parents were Russian Jews, displayed “a weakness of spirit, possibly as a consequence that the new world attracted the less stable types.”

To mark the centenary of its first public performance, More Than Music host and cultural historian Joe Horowitz, says we should take Gershwin seriously.

For this celebration, we hear from a Russian pianist, American writers, and scholars who provide new insight into a composer who died young but left a remarkable and ever-popular legacy.

“The Gershwin Moment” was scripted and edited by Joe Horowitz. Sound design and production by Peter Bogdanoff. Excerpts from “An American in Paris” and “Porgy and Bess” were performed by the orchestra of the University of Michigan School of Music led by Kenneth KieslerKirill Gerstein performs “I Got Rhythm” and “Concerto in F” on his Gershwin album, on Myrios Classics. Joe Horowitz is the author of “On My Way; The Untold Story of Rouben Mamoulian, George Gershwin and Porgy and Bess.” Earlier ‘More Than Music’ programs can be found hereherehere , and here.

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

Rupert Allman