The Symphonic Gershwin

Composer: George Gershwin

Arranged: Warren Barker

Composition Notes

This abridged version of Symphonic Gershwin contains material from two familiar works:

An American in Paris is a “rhapsodic ballet”, inspired by an overseas trip in 1928. An opening section is followed by a rich “blues” with strong rhythmic undercurrent as an American visitor, perhaps after strolling into a cafe, succumbs to a spasm of homesickness. In a coda, the spirit of the music returns to vivacity and bubbling exuberance, taxi horns contributing to the street noises and atmosphere.

Rhapsody in Blue was first performed by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in 1924 with Gershwin playing the as-yet-unscored piano part “from the music in my mind.”

George Gershwin (1898–1937) was a gifted American writer of popular songs, musical comedies, a folk opera and other art music. With his brother Ira as lyricist he wrote over a dozen successful musical comedies. He successfully blended popular and classical music.

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