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MMD > Archives > November 2002 > 2002.11.24 > 07Prev  Next

Tempo of "Rhapsody in Blue"
By Lee Munsick

"Racing thru the Blue?"

Comments are correct: George Gershwin liked and played his "Rhapsody
in Blue" played very fast!  The Duo-Art roll(s) played by him clearly
indicate this, as do the extant recordings of his artistry.

That's why one of the beauties about player and reproducing rolls, is
that one can set the tempo at a pace with which one is familiar and/or
comfortable, and the notes remain the same.  The advantage of a digital

Incidentally, one of Gershwin's closest friends was Oscar Levant, who
specialized in his pieces including and even highlighting "Rhapsody in
Blue". Levant played it at a much slower pace, and apparently Gershwin
never complained.  I was going to say "leisurely", but I don't think
any playing of that fantastic work could be called that!

I learned and became used to the "Rhapsody" from Oscar Levant's
performances, and was exposed to Gershwin's pacing only many years
later when I acquired the American Duo-Art set cut by Gershwin himself.
Loved the piece, hated the pace!

Now, if only I could find a set of that elusive single-roll British
Aeolian Duo-Art issue of this work!  I'm still looking!

Lee Munsick
Appomattox County, Virginia USA

(Message sent Sun 24 Nov 2002, 23:38:29 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Blue, Rhapsody, Tempo

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