Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” got its premiere one century ago tonight.
It was my gateway drug to classical music. I had the ill fortune of being in high school during the heyday of disco, in which every goddamned song on the radio was either the Bee Gees or trying to sound just like the Bee Gees, and the sheer dumbth of it finally drove me away from pop radio and to the other side of the FM dial.
My dad listened to classical, although he didn’t know it very deeply, mostly by default: he didn’t like jazz very much and hated country-western. So he had an LP of “Rhapsody in Blue” that I gave a listen to (the flip side was “An American in Paris”). That encouraged me to get a four-disc set of the Gershwin classical compositions — Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony — which I played the hell out of. And from there I branched out into the larger classical world.
My gratitude is immeasurable. Thanks, brother George.
My man Bernstein, conducting from the piano.