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Jesus Maria Sanroma
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
, conducted by
Throughout his all-too-short life, George Gershwin was associated primarily with Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley. Still, he managed to find time and inspiration to create a handful of concert works, several of which may very well outlive his music in the more popular idiom. Surely, one of those works destined for immortality is the Rhapsody in Blue
. Just as surely, the man acknowledged to be one of the Rhapsody’s foremost interpreters is Jesus Sanroma. His performance, together with that of the magnificent Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, has been preserved for all to enjoy in glittering, lifelike Everest
Gershwin was not the first composer to adapt jazz to concert music, but he was one of the early pioneers in the field. Posterity may also record that he was the most successful. His initial effort in this new hybrid form was the Rhapsody in Blue
When he left for Europe in the spring of 1928, Gershwin already had it in his mind to write An American in Paris
. Once in the City of Light, his ideas crystallized. He began work on the score in Paris, took it to Vienna with him, and finished the orchestration – his own this time – on his return to Paris. The work was given its first performance by the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, under Walter Damrosch's direction, on December 13, 1928.
Again, it is the composers own words which best describe his music. While still in Paris, he gave this “program” for An American in Paris
in an interview for the magazine Musical America
“This new piece, really a rhapsodic ballet, is written very freely and is the most modern music I’ve yet attempted. The opening part will be developed in typical French style, in the manner of Debussy and the Six, though the themes are all original. My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor to Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere."