Rhapsody in Blue

George Gershwin’s phenomenal blending of jazz and classical music, premiered at Aeolian Hall, in New York City, on February 12, 1924, 90 years ago tonight. Gershwin wrote the piece in three weeks, reportedly improvising some of the piano parts during the premiere.

Rhapsody in Blue was one of NPR’s 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. You can listen to the NPR report from NPR Music.

This video (audio with photographs actually) is an acoustic recording made in June 1924 with Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra with Ross Gorman playing the clarinet opening as he did during the premier, and the composer at the piano.