Rapture from a Rhapsody
Rhapsody in Blue was written by George Gershwin in 1924, drawing together classical piano and jazz in response to a request by Paul Whiteman for a jazz concerto. At its premier Gershwin himself played the piano solo with Whiteman’s jazz band playing the orchestration written by Ferde Grofe.
For years I have owned the piano music, always concluding it was too difficult for me despite the fact that I am so totally drawn into every subtlety of the piece. I have yet to get beyond page 8 of 31, but I’m biting off a little more each day and playing it way under tempo.
Why does this piece speak to me so clearly? It’s the jazz chords and the blues scales that stir something deep in my soul. I love the fact that the mood is constantly shifting, much as mine is. I love the near misses that come around. I love the catchy rhythms. And I love the broad chords of the theme that comes back in various forms.
I may actually do it this time. I will at least have a lot of pleasurable practice hours as I try.