Leonard Bernstein – Rhapsody In Blue/An American In Paris (Phillips – SABL 160)

What is American Music?

This was the (not quite rhetorical) question for both the Paul Whiteman Aeolian Hall concert premiere of George Gershwin’s Jazz/Classical masterpiece and the 1958 Leonard Bernstein telly programme reviving it. The answer, according to Bernstein, is the appropriately ambiguous fudge: “many-sidedness.”

Even given the multi-faceted nature of the American experiment, the fact is you could make the same claim for any of the peoples in the world. And it doesn’t change the grandness and beauty to be found herein. It’s remarkable how absolutely familiar these pieces of music are even to the dilettante. One recognises theme after theme, motif after motif, phrase after phrase. As natural as breath.

I think I may use Lenny as my intro to the classical music; he did a lot of stuff for Columbia that looks good.

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] sound spontaneously created not unlike Gershwin’s later classical-jazz interface. But while Rhapsody In Blue literally scored the great man’s improvisation, Satie achieved freshness with droll, quirky […]

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