Rhapsody in Blue is the Soundtrack for the 2020s

After 95 years, George Gershwin’s masterpiece Rhapsody in Blue is now public domain. Expect to hear a lot of it over the next ten years. It is one of the most remarkable songs ever composed – not least because Gershwin said it came to him complete – a sort of epiphany from the heavens – he wrote it in one sitting while listening to it complete in his head while on a train to Boston from New York. The piece has been described as “a rhapsodic work for piano and jazz band incorporating elements of European symphonic music and American jazz”

Gershwin said to his biographer “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise. … And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece…”