Rhapsody in Blue. What a treat! This weekend I am going to hear the Houston Symphony perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
This has been one of my favorite songs for as long as I can remember. I remember seeing it performed during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. I remember hearing it in one of Woody Allen’s movies (you know.….back when he was funny?) It was even included in the Disney movie, Fantasia 2000.
Not bad for a piece of music that was originally written in 1924. At that time it was considered modern music, because it was one of the (if not the) first times jazz music was combined with classical music. It was seen as a way to introduce popular jazz music to the more refined high-brow symphony crowd. It begins with a “wailing” clarinet and includes both a piano solo and a symphony orchestra. It was an immediate success.
In musical terms the word “rhapsody” means a piece of music written in one movement with a free flowing structure and a range of highly contrasted moods. Not being a musician, I spent years thinking this was a piece of music about ecstatic enthusiasm. I think both definitions work.
Blue is a favorite color for many people. It is the color of the sky and of the sea. Both of these are limitless in their range, depth and possibilities. Many think of blue as a peaceful and tranquil color. When you have a dear and trusted friend, you think of them as “true blue”.
What a wonderful combination of words to use as a musical title!
Here is an interesting fact to know and share: Part of George Gershwin’s inspiration for this music came from riding a train. The sound of the train inspired parts of the melody. I read a quote where he stated that he “heard” the melody in the sounds made by the train. What others on the train may have heard as noise, he heard as music.
Isn’t this what creative people do? Musicians hear music everywhere. Writers hear stories and plots in every day life. Artists see shapes and colors everywhere they look. This is what I like about being a creative person and a writer. I am never bored. If I find myself stuck in a place whether I am happy, uncomfortable, relaxed or unhappy, I can always look around and start developing stories in my head. The most recent character I have started developing during a process just like this is named Mr. Meringue. He should show up in a short story real soon.
I must close now. I have to get ready for the Houston Symphony, George Gershwin and Rhapsody in Blue!
Until next week.….….…