Rhapsody in Blue
George Gershwin


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A jazz-inflected classic is up three places

One of the first examples of classical music meeting jazz, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a hugely popular infusion of both musical styles.

Rhapsody in Blue was masterminded by the producer Paul Whiteman whose concert band premiered the work in New York in 1924. Up until then jazz had an awkward place in the concert hall, if barely one at all. Whiteman, however, believed that Gershwin was the man to change this. The result was Rhapsody in Blue, which not only became an instant hit with the public but revolutionised the place of jazz amongst composers who liked to think of themselves as more 'serious'.

In the piece, Gershwin daringly brings together all his musical influences; ragtime, the Romantic piano music of the likes of Ravel and Rachmaninov, improvised jazz, folk music and classical music to concoct this iconic masterpiece.