Edward Gardner conducts the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra for George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with soloist Adrian Brendle.

About Rhapsody in Blue

Rhapsody in Blue is a 1924 musical composition by the American composer George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.

The Rhapsody in Blue (1924) established Gershwin's reputation as a serious composer and has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works.

Cambridge Music Handbooks
Edward Gardner conducts Rhapsody in Blue

The composition was commissioned by the bandleader Paul Whiteman. It was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé several times, including the original 1924 scoring, the 1926 "theater orchestra" setting, and the 1942 symphony orchestra scoring, though completed earlier. The piece received its premiere in the concert, An Experiment in Modern Music, which was held on February 12, 1924, in Aeolian Hall, New York City, by Whiteman and his band with Gershwin playing the piano.

Gershwin had agreed that Ferde Grofé, Whiteman's pianist and chief arranger, was the key figure in enabling the piece to be successful, and critics have praised the orchestral color. Grofé confirmed in 1938 that Gershwin did not have sufficient knowledge of orchestration in 1924. After the premiere, Grofé revised the score and made new orchestrations in 1926 and 1942, each time for larger orchestras. Until 1976, when Michael Tilson Thomas recorded the original jazz band version for the very first time, the 1942 version was the arrangement usually performed and recorded.