Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ – No. 24 in our collection

George Gershwin (25.09.1898 – 11.07.1937) was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Gershwin’s most popular classical works include Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928) as well as one of best American operas Porgy and Bess (1935).

The two-and-a-half-octave clarinet glissando that opens Rhapsody in Blue is instantly recognizable by anyone who has ever heard the work. Commissioned by jazz bandleader Paul Whiteman, the composition was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé several times, including the original 1924 scoring, the “theater orchestra” setting published in 1926, and the symphony orchestra scoring published in 1942, though completed earlier. It was Rhapsody in Blue that established Gershwin’s reputation as a serious composer and remains one of the most popular of all American orchestral pieces. United Airlines have even used it as their theme tune!

We have chosen a superbly played version of Rhapsody in Blue with soloists Gervaise de Peyer (clarinet) and André Previn (pianist & conductor) and the London Symphony Orchestra. It is coupled with Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F major and his An American in Paris. Previn with feet in both the jazz and classical worlds is the ideal interpreter of this music.

Listen on Spotify or buy from Presto Classical.

View the other works in our collection.