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. In this richly informative guide David Schiff considers the piece as musical work, historical event and cultural document. He traces the history of the Rhapsody’s composition, performance and reception, placing it within the context of American popular song and jazz and the development of modernism. He also provides a full account of the different published and recorded versions of the work and explores the many stylistic sources of Gershwin’s music. The book also contains an extended discussion of Paul Whitman’s Experiment in Modern Music, considers the influence of the Rhapsody on other works (e.g. the music of Duke Ellington) and examines the traditions and institutions of Jewish cultural populism.
1 table 17 music examples