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Thread: The Grammy's: Rhapsody in Blue!

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    Senior Member Rachovsky's Avatar
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    Default The Grammy's: Rhapsody in Blue!

    I'm in the kitchen with the Grammy's and what word do I hear? "Classical!" My head spins and who do I see? Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock performing Rhapsody in Blue. I was just so delighted that I couldn't stop smiling for 10 minutes. The performance was great, of course and it really makes me feel good that a classical, albeit mostly jazz, was performed at one of the biggest music awards in the world. Anyways, was just wondering if anyone saw it and what their thoughts were. He still may win the Grammy for Beethoven's 1st and 4th Piano Concertos. I should find out about it soon. Oh well, was just so excited that I had to post it on here for you all to see, lol.

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    I still can't understand 1) the want to mix styles (Jazz and Classical), and 2) that Rhapsody in Blue is considered to remotest bit classical. It has an orchestra... that doesn't make it classical.

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    well, it's kinda of dancing on the boundaries of classical/blues. It's a hybrid form. But, if you look at the artists involved, it should be pretty indicative of that it belongs to the "classical" realm.

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    Be that as it may, the music (Notes) is not classical. If Benny Goodman played Mozart's Clarinet Concerto it doesn't make it Jazz.

    Beatles don't cease to be pop music when played on an orchestra, and classical music doesn't cease being classical music if played in a band. True it ruins both, but the music is still true.

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    Senior Member Morigan's Avatar
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    If Gershwin is not classical music, does it mean most of the 20th century composers are not?

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    Well, Jazz and blues artists aren't. Neither are most Braodway artists. Stravinsky's music was heavily influenced by Classical composers, as with Shosta, Prok, etc.

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    Senior Member Morigan's Avatar
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    OK, sure, whatever. I still think Gershwin was a good composer.

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morigan View Post
    I still think Gershwin was a good composer.
    Bernstein called Gershwin the best melodist since Tchaikovsky. So- yeah, I'd agree that he's 'pretty good.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    Well, Jazz and blues artists aren't. Neither are most Braodway artists. Stravinsky's music was heavily influenced by Classical composers, as with Shosta, Prok, etc.
    I have a hard time impinging that Jazz/Broadway was not influenced by classical music.

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    Jazz was influenced Baroque, but in about 1600. Most of it's influence came from African Slaves.
    Of course it is slightly influenced. But it bares little or no resemblance to what influenced it.

    OK, sure, whatever. I still think Gershwin was a good composer.
    Not denying that, but I still don't regard his music Classical.

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    Senior Member BuddhaBandit's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of Gershwin, particularly because he combined jazz and classical so seamlessly and without it sounding pretentious (as prog rock/classical rock music is).

    As far as Rhapsody being classical or not, I believe that it entirely depends on the interpretation. If the emphasis is on swing/ad-hoc (improvised) dynamics and emotions, then it is jazz; if the piece is played straight and "by-the book". it's classical. Check out, for example, Krystian Zimmerman's interpretation of the Gershwin préludes- it's very classical.
    Take a look at the Bandit's blog, Americana Avenue.

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    The score is still not classical. By the score I mean the notes, thus the music.

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    If anyone here has not heard the re-creation of the original concert with Paul Whitman and his "orchestra" then they should by all means. Iyt was defined at the time as new muaic for the times, the idea being that traditional popular dance music could be presented in new ways that made it a stage presentation, i.e. concert. Or lets say music that while in dance tempo could be serious. If one is willing to drop the term "classical' and use "serious" instead, serious meaning notated score and rehearsals, then Gershwins music can be viewed as just good music wtitten with intent to convey some mood or impression.
    The recording of the re-creation is available from the mail order club, Musical Heritage Society. It deserves a listen if for no other reason than the instruments, including a banjo!
    Since the rhapsody was only one piece in the program the concert also offered some dance tunes and novelties of the period.
    "Classical music" is the best way to describe that music that has, over the years, stood the test of time, so on that count the rhapsody is classical even though it contains jazz influences based on music for dancing. If the intent of the composer was to somehow fuse the elements of dance and jazz in a more sophisticated way in a work of some length and complexity it could be better described as serious. Whiteman deserves a lot of credit for his concert, it opened the way for newer music to get a the concert hall audience.
    I can't praise the remake of the original enough, it is a unique recording. Googling on musical heritage society will bring it up. They have a large catalog with listening options.
    I have belonged to this club for over thirty some years and have never had an unsatisfactory experience with them.

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