When I was a boy, my grandfather, perhaps concerned that I had become obsessed with ephemeral pop music, took it upon himself to introduce me to some classical composers. My parents always had classical music playing in the house and I knew, even as I waded into rock ‘n roll, that my dad, particularly, wasn’t thrilled, but the allure was too great.
Anyhow, one day my grandfather took me out shopping and sent me home with a few records to consider, and I dutifully did just that. To this day I love listening to this piece in particular. I’m sure I never told him how important that was, just as I’m sure I couldn’t have imagined I would still be listening to it so many years later—though, to be honest, I still listen to that 1979 ephemera, too!
Today is the 90th anniversary of the first performance of Rhapsody in Blue. And though, in my opinion, there are better recordings that this one, it’s fun to hear it performed by the composer, George Gershwin, himself.