Gershwin – Rhapsody in blue

The long note on the clarinet puts you right back in New York in the Twenties. Also if you have never been there. This music evokes a strong image, you can almost smell it. George Gershwin is in classical circles a bit suspect: he did musicals, so we cannot take him seriously. Deserved? No!

It might be just this touch with the common people that saved his reputation, and at the same time destroyed it. He was too classical for the jazz audience, and too jazz to be classical. He applied for lessons with the famous Nadia Boulanger in Paris, but was declined because she feared it would ruin his jazzy mind.

This record is a bit like that: I have put it in my classical collection, but most of the works on it are more jazz. The conductor of the eponymous work is Kurt Masur, at the head of the Leipziger Gewandhaus Orchestra. Little did I know that years later I would visit that city every year for a festival, and also once saw the orchestra live.

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