Friday, 12 February 2021

an experiment in modern music

On this day in 1924 at New York City’s Aeolian Hall, bandleader Paul Whiteman’s jazz orchestral jazz ensemble accompanied composer George Gershwin (*1898 – †1937) for his premiere performance of Rhapsody in Blue (see previously). Considered by some to be the inaugural concert of the Jazz Age—though that’s subject to debate and conjecture—the overarching tune of this free-form piece, recognisable still regardless of variation, abridging or extension, is considered one of the most readily identifiable works to the public, on par with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Reportedly afterwards there was only a smattering or applause and a mostly stunned, silent audience, prompting Gershwin to turn to them, saying, “Well, your kids will love it!”