|Rhapsody in Blue has been listed as a level-4 vital article in Art. If you can improve it, please do. This article has been rated as C-Class.|
|WikiProject Classical music / Compositions|
|WikiProject Jazz||(Rated C-class, Mid-importance)|
Suddenly he remembered that Whiteman had asked him if he would like to write a "jazz-influenced concert piece" for that occasion. But soon afterwards he thought that it was not serious at all, and so it was quite a shock when he read that.
I have no idea what the second sentence here is trying to say. 220.127.116.11 00:35, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
- Your guess is as good as mind. Looks incomplete. I could guess that it means something like "it was a shock when he read in the papers that it was to premiere in a few weeks..." yeah... that seems to be correct... Dpbsmith (talk) 01:42, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
- Don't forget the tab at the top of every page that says "Edit this page!" Dpbsmith (talk) 01:52, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Umm, the thing about the Rhapsody being the second last piece in the premiere concert conflicts with the entry on "Aeolian Hall" where it says the Rhapsody was the penultimate piece. Could someone look up and correct this discrepancy? 18.104.22.168 15:02, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
- Don't "second last" and "penultimate" mean the same thing?--Diniz 13:31, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Music in Ohare walkway?
Although I haven't been through Ohare in a while, I believe it is Brian Eno's "Music for Airports" that plays in the moving walkway area, not Rhapsody in Blue. Can anyone else confirm this? Is this a mistake or did they change the music?
CSharpMinor 00:44, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Rhapsody in Blue reaction
The reaction to rhapsody in blue made it anything but an instant success, some people walked out half way through the debut performance. The sentence saying it was met with instant success is wrong, i'd like to change it. Briaboru 22:54, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
- I've replaced the "instant success" statement with a quotation from Olin Downes' review in the New York Times the following day. Add a quotation from your source about people walking out halfway through. Downes' obviously thought the audience liked it, but evidently the feeling was not unanimous. Dpbsmith (talk) 02:27, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
- Program notes from the Springfield, MA symphony (OK, not a great source) says:
- The premiere, on February 12 1924, was a smashing success. Although the critics – true to form – mostly panned it, the audience loved it and overnight, jazz became respectable. Gershwin himself played the piano part, becoming an instant celebrity.
- Program notes from the San Francisco symphony say:
- conductor Walter Damrosch [was at the concert]. Damrosch was so impressed with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue that he immediately commissioned a concerto he could introduce with his New York Symphony.
- This CD description says (apparent scannos corrected)
- Listeners were electrified. Gershwin’s success was indescribable – even with the press. Rhapsody in Blue was an immediate hit – not only in America, but in Europe as well. It made Gershwin, son of Russian immigrants, a wealthy man. Records and music alone brought him a quarter of a million dollars worth of royalties in ten years – and when Paul Whiteman played the piece in his “The King of Jazz”, he paid Gershwin the enormous sum of fifty thousand dollars.
- Program notes from another small symphony (Charlotte) say:
- The premiere of the Rhapsody in Blue — New York, Aeolian Hall, February 12, 1924 — was one of the great nights in American music.... Gershwin ... and his music had a brilliant success. “A new talent finding its voice,” wrote Olin Downes, music critic for The New York Times. Conductor Walter Damrosch told Gershwin that he had “made a lady out of jazz,” and then commissioned him to write the Concerto in F. There was critical carping about laxity in the structure of the Rhapsody in Blue, but there were none about its vibrant, quintessentially American character or its melodic inspiration, and it became an immediate hit, attaining (and maintaining) a position of popularity almost unmatched by almost any other work of a native composer.
- Quite a lot of program-note-writers seem to think it was an instant success. Dpbsmith (talk) 02:41, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
- Here's another take on it, from the competing New York paper and reviewer:
- "How trite and feeble and conventional the tunes are; how sentimental and vapid the harmonic treatment, under its disguise of fussy and futile counterpoint! ... Weep over the lifelessness of the melody and harmony, so derivative, so stale, so inexpressive!" (Lawrence Gilman, New York Tribune, February 13, 1924) (Quoted in Nicolas Slonimsky, Lexicon of Musical Invective) (ps. that's a great book, a must have) Antandrus (talk) 02:45, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
- I love it! I think that should go in the article, do you want to do the honors? Does it say anything about how the audience received it? Maybe the people who walked out during it were all critics? (I don't really think any of the program notes above are good sources for use in the article, because they don't cite their sources.) I'm fascinated by the statement that "It made Gershwin, son of Russian immigrants, a wealthy man." It seems to be saying that it was the Rhapsody in Blue that was the breakthrough for him... Dpbsmith (talk) 16:34, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
The section as it stands in the article now seems only to present negative reactions. I am not a music historian, but surely if response was mixed, the section on its reception should reflect this? The standing text seems biased toward negative criticism. 22.214.171.124 (talk) 04:54, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Whatever the reaction of the audience, its supposedly illustrious members need to be documented with more care. Concert and CD programme note writers, and this article, confuse those named in the original programme as patrons of Whiteman's project with actual audience members. Rachmaninoff appears as an "influential composer" who was present. Well, he wasn't. On February 12, 1924 he was in Kansas City giving a recital as part of a long US concert tour. Two days beforehand he was in Davenport, Iowa, and one day later he was in Lincoln, Nebraska. That doesn't give him time to hop on a train and leg it to Aeolian Hall in Manhattan for an afternoon concert. A listing of all his known concerts can be found at rachmaninoff.org, and it has clearly been researched with great care, from concert programmes and other materials, mainly at the Library of Congress.
If Rachmaninoff was not there, how many other patrons have been inaccurately equated with members of the audience? In an article published in the Sioux City Sunday Journal on March 2, 1924, entitled "Jazz Dons the Purple", O.O. McIntyre names some of those listed as patrons in the original programme, which includes Amelita Galli-Curci, Mary Garden, Alma Gluck, Walter Damrosch, Jascha Heifetz, Victor Herbert, John McCormack, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Josef Stransky. If some other contemporary critic listed those whom he actually saw in attendance, will someone please quote the source material, so that we can all judge the original article? Otherwise this Wiki article needs to be modified, which I am happy to do myself, but only after giving those more closely involved the chance first. Pianola (talk) 21:28, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Tom and Jerry?
- In the Tom and Jerry cartoons, each of the character's leitmotifs are quite obviously directly inspired by Rhapsody in Blue.
I don't have any Tom and Jerry music handy and I'm afraid I don't remember the character's "leitmotifs."
"Quite obviously directly inspired by" doesn't sound too objective to me, tunes being what they are and implications of plagiarism being what they are.
Of course cartoons do quote and borrow from classical music all the time, but I would have thought MGM would have been cautious about referring to music which... wouldn't it still have been under copyright at the time? Is Gershwin credited in the cartoon credits? Dpbsmith (talk) 11:05, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
- Well for a start I did not state that there was any form of plagiarism involved. I stated that the music was inspired by Gershwin. I did not say that the composer stole, lifted entire musical passages, chord sequences etc. from RIB, just that the music is obviously heavily influenced. So to be talking about plagiarism and copyright is a gross overreaction to my wording. Also, if you do not have any Tom and Jerry music to hand, then I find it to be bad faith to remove the text. I teach sound design for animation at two universities and I play my students both RIB (which most have never even heard before) and then an example T&J cartoon - and all of them (without even being musically inclined) can recognise similarities instantly. Perhaps you would like me to provide you with a copy of a T&J soundtrack? Howie ☎ 20:50, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
- You can't put a statement like that in as your own opinion, no matter how expert or well-founded it may be. You can't put it in as an unattributed opinion.
- You certainly can put it in as the opinion of a good, verifiable source—a book on animation or film scoring, for example. If you've written such a book yourself, or a journal article, you can cite your own published work.
- P. S. as for removing the text, please reread the verifiability policy:
- The burden of evidence lies with the editor who has made the edit. Editors should therefore provide references. Any edit lacking a source may be removed. If you doubt the truthfulness of an unsourced statement, remove it to the talk page. Otherwise, just request a source.
- The Wikipedia is coming very close to being discredited. Leave the Tom and Jerry stuff alone, it's obvious listening to the cartoon that it was Rhapsody-in-Blue inspired. While my recent edit complies with the verifiability policy, the verifiability policy is utterly stupid.
- If you want to contribute to Wikipedia, you must abide by the verifiability policy, regardless of what you may think of it. It says so at the bottom of every edit box.
- Please read my previous statement: "While my recent edit COMPLIES WITH THE VERIFIABILITY POLICY . . . ." I made no attempt to avoid the verifiability policy. And yes, I can read the verifiability policy, apparently better than you can read my previous comment.
- Did you read the part of WP:V that refers to "reputable sources?" The whole point of the verifiability policy is to use sources that do fact-checking. Can you present some evidence that www.recordhall.com does fact-checking? Can you or anybody tell us who the author of www.recordhall.com/george-gershwin-biography.html is? Dpbsmith (talk) 23:29, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- I'm not going to remove the material right away, because I want to get some other people to discuss whether http://www.recordhall.com/george-gershwin-biography.html meets the "having already been published by a reputable publisher." Since it is anonymous, and appears to be a Wikipedia-like site to which anyone can contribute, I don't think it does. You can't use publication on another anonymous Wiki as a source for material here. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:01, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
BTW, I've been trying to find a source since the wording was - quite justifiably - removed (due to it being un-sourced). Some of the above argument is unsigned, and I thought I'd better just state that it wasn't me(!)... I'm still looking for a suitable source, although I have come across mentions that RIB itself was used as a soundtrack in one particular T&J short... but no one seems to know the name! Still searching... Howie ☎ 18:42, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- Thanks, I appreciate your understanding (and civility...)
- A source that says "a Tom and Jerry short used Rhapsody in Blue as a soundtrack," assuming it's a halfway reasonable source, would be a perfectly valid source for a statement in the article that "a Tom and Jerry short used Rhapsody in Blue as a soundtrack." I think it would be perfectly reasonable to put that in the article. Of course everyone is going to be frustrated by not knowing which short, but it is still a verifiable statement. And that might lead to some other editor following figuring out which one it was.
- imdb has a lot of stuff listed for Scott Bradley but they don't have much detail on each individual short. I was trying to see if any titles lept out at me as suggesting Gershwin. Oddly, one did: there's a short, not a Tom and Jerry, called Blue Monday, which happens to be the title of a short operetta with music by Gershwin and book and lyrics by Buddy de Sylva, which Gershwin wrote early in his career (1922). I doubt that there's any connection, though. Dpbsmith (talk) 23:49, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- A forum posting, not good enough for verifiability but may it's a clue, says:
- "I think the first place I heard a Gershwin piece was in a Tom and Jerry cartoon as a kid (the episode where Jerry leaves for the big city only, lives the highs and lows and then returns before Tom wakes up from his cat nap). I loved the music in that episode but didnt know who had composed it until recently." Dpbsmith (talk) 00:05, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
- I wonder if that could be Mouse in Manhattan? Dpbsmith (talk) 00:07, 31 January 2006 (UTC) Nope, not it, "One of their most famous cartoons was Mouse in Manhattan (1945) that featured a score by Scott Bradley (made up mostly of Louis Alter's Manhattan Serenade, later used in The Godfather (1972) and Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown's Broadway Rhythm" 
Discussion: does www.recordhall.com meet verifiability requirements?
Per above, a contributor has reinserted the assertion that "In the Tom and Jerry cartoons, each of the character's leitmotifs are inspired by Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin works." In response to my request for a citation, he references http://www.recordhall.com/george-gershwin-biography.html . Does this adequately meet the policies of WP:V and WP:CITE? Note that www.recordhall.com appears to be a Wikipedia-like site that allows anonymous contributions, and that no author's identity is available for the article being cited. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:01, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- "The Rhapsody in Blue serves as the soundtrack Tom and Jerry cartoons. It has been said that each of the character's leitmotifs are inspired by Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin works."--Urthogie 16:32, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- My problem is not the wording of the statement, but that the cited "source" being anonymous, and apparently being another Wiki that anybody can edit. Dpbsmith (talk) 17:37, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- From my investigation of the page, and the site, the bio seems to be totally without either a stated author or any other meta-information. As such, I think it's only use is as evidence that someone, somewhere on the net, has a some time, made the statements it makes. It is wholly unacceptable as evidence for any factual assertion. Keep looking. JesseW, the juggling janitor 18:45, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- If (as seems to be claimed above) the included text merely makes a claim that "It has been said", I would strongly argue that such a statement, while appropriatly sourced(someone apparently did say it) is inappropriate for the article, as it is unimportant and irrelevant. I would point to WP:NPOV(the section on not using "Some have said"), and Wikipedia:AWT. It's a random website; what it says is not factually reliable, and the fact that it says it is not notable or important. Sorry. JesseW, the juggling janitor 18:50, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- Very well. I'm fine with removing the some have said, it has been said, if thats the consensus. Makes sense.--Urthogie 18:58, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
- My problem is not the wording of the statement, but that the cited "source" being anonymous, and apparently being another Wiki that anybody can edit. Dpbsmith (talk) 17:37, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Tom and Jerry/Gershwin
I'm settling for weasel-wording for now:
- Scott Bradley's scores for the Tom and Jerry cartoons are sometimes perceived as reminiscent of Gershwin. The score for Mouse in Manhattan (1945) in particular has been described as "Gershwinesque" (although it is actually based on Louis Alter's "Manhattan Serenade"], which is also an alternate title for the film).
I'm not really happy with a http://www.recordhall.com/george-gershwin-biography.html as a source, but I think it's OK for the statement that the Tom and Jerry music is a) "sometimes perceived" as resembling b) Gershwin generally. I don't think anyone has yet pinned source citations that would make a connection with the Rhapsody in Blue specifically, and certainly not to the characters' leitmotifs referencing the Rhapsody in Blue. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:05, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Seriously, wikipedia moderators, get a grip. The tune in the show is not "sometimes perceived as reminiscent of Gershwin": they are plain Rhapsodhy in Blue, chord-to-chord. One just has to listen to the piece and to the cartoon. How do you reference that? Easy with book passages, huh? Anyway, now that I've seen this discussion, I know my editing will get deleted. who cares? I just came here because I've been listening to Rhapsody non-stop for a few days trying to remember when I've heard it before and then, bang! Tom & Jerry came to mind... always thought that Scott Bradley was awesome. Now I know he was just adapting outside material... anyway, bye --126.96.36.199 (talk) 17:40, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I'll offer this analysis of Richard Wagner and Star Wars as the standard for a convincing description of a serious composer's influence on a piece of modern popular culture. The reference cited here doesn't go into anything approaching that depth. Since it's a superficial statement from a dubious source and it fails to quote anyone involved in the production of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, I'd leave it out of the Wikipedia article altogether. It could return in future revisions if the editor finds better sources. Regards, Durova 19:56, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Snipping "Tom and Jerry"
- Scott Bradley's scores for the Tom and Jerry cartoons are sometimes perceived as reminiscent of Gershwin. The score for Mouse in Manhattan (1945) in particular has been described as "Gershwinesque" (although it is actually based on Louis Alter's 1928 "Manhattan Serenade", which is also an alternate title for the film).
I just don't accept http://www.recordhall.com/george-gershwin-biography.html as a reliable source. And nobody's come up with any specific connection to the "Rhapsody in Blue."
And I've made a point of listening to a few Tom and Jerry cartoons recently, including Manhattan Serenade, and frankly, I don't buy it. I believe what people are hearing is music that is composed in a "Jazz Age" idiom (by "Jazz Age" I'm thinking of the likes Paul Whiteman and the other mostly-white big-band jazz-inspired music of the 1920s and 30s). The music that Leroy Shield composed for the Laurel and Hardy films has many elements of that idiom; all the music played by Whiteman at the Aeolian Hall concert, not just "Rhapsody in Blue" ihas elements of that idiom; Ferde Grofe's "Mississippi Suite" has elements of that idiom. What Gershwin did was to use the contemporary pop-music idiom in a sustained, sophisticated way in a longish piece of orchestral music.
I did not hear any "leitmotifs" for individual characters that were carried over from one cartoon to another.
"Mouse in Manhattan" of course does not just sound like Louis Alter, it is Louis Alter. I've listened to several recordings of "Manhattan Serenade" though nothing else by Alter. I'm not enough of a musicologist to judge how close a resemblance there is between Alter and Gershwin. I think, myself, OK, perhaps an influence, maybe something more than both just immersed in the same musical idioms. (I suspect a lot of things sounded like the Rhapsody in Blue for a few years after it came out).
I may not have listened to enough or to the right cartoons, but the ones that were not Mouse in Manhattan did not sound "Gershwinesque" to me at all.
There was a sort of tradition, that I connect with the name "Silly Symphonies" for the early Disney cartoons, of occasionally basing a cartoon on a (butchered) familiar bit of "pop" classical music, the sort of thing I imagine a town band might have played on a Sunday afternoon in the bandstand, and I think there are other cartoons that have a strong connection to one particular piece of music.
Anyway, I'm prepared to be convinced about the Tom and Jerry music, but I want a citable source before this goes into the article
Personally, at the moment I do not even buy a specific connection to Gershwin, let alone to the Rhapsody in Blue. I think this is rather like someone listening to the Max Steiner score of "Gone with the Wind," and saying, "Oh! that sounds just like Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto." The Max Steiners and Erich Korngolds and John Williamses used classical idioms in their film scores for serious films; the Scott Bradleys and Carl Stallingses used 1920s-1930s pop-music, "jazz age," idioms (with considerable dashes of familiar classical music). But as I say, I'm fully prepared to be convinced otherwise. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:15, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Al Capone's favorite tune?
until someone can provide a verifiable source for this interesting-if-true fact. It's been labelled as needing a citation for... months? A long time, anyway. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:58, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
- I'd say this doesn't count as a verifiable source, but it suggests that there is one out there:
- "The Green Mill has an enormous amount of history. Founded in 1907, it is the oldest and longest-running jazz club in the country. Gangster Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn used to run the joint in during the Prohibition era, and Al Capone was a frequent visitor at that time. The moment he entered the room, the band would stop whatever tune it was playing and begin Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Capone's favorite piece."
- So don't stop looking, folks. :-) 188.8.131.52 20:44, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
What does copyright law say about short excerpts of music recordings? The clarinet opening seems an obvious choice if legal.
- There's lots of recordings of classical pieces on wikipedia. You just have to find one that's not copyrighted. DavidRF (talk) 23:57, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
whiteman king of jazz
Most of the work that I've read on Paul Whiteman states that although he was happy to be called the King of Jazz, he didn't invent it for himself, nor did he bandy it about often. His "King of Jazz" status, Benny Goodman's "King of Swing," Elvis Presley's "King of Rock and Roll," Michael Jackson's "King of Pop," and Clark Gable's "King of Hollywood" crown for that matter, were given to them by others and had nothing to do with artistic or historical circumstance and everything to do with ability to sell product. All of these men were talented, perhaps less talented than some others working at the same time and in the same fields, but all were absolutely the kings at the cash register in their respective eras - hence the title. Like others have stated in Whiteman's Wiki page and on this discussion page, he always acknowledged his sources, and 1920s audiences tended to be much broader in their definition of jazz than those of today or even the 1940s. Whiteman, however, couldn't yet make the leap to actually hiring African American musicians. That would wait another decade for Goodman to cross that line.PJtP (talk) 01:23, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Just be sure to keep in mind, somebody already had the title of "King of Jazz." That would be King Oliver. (This is mentioned in many places, professors, textbooks, and the wikipedia page of jazz royalty.) He was the first truly dedicated jazz artist to be recorded. (If my text book serves me right.) Whiteman was alright with the name of King of Jazz, but maybe this was just a nickname for the times. I just wanted to throw in my two bits. I hope it helps out. 184.108.40.206 (talk) 23:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Most famous Gershwin piece?
As the most famous classical composition by Gershwin, it established his reputation as a "serious composer." This sounds awfully subjective... who says it's his most famous piece and on what grounds? Record sales? Live performances? Not sure it really belongs. Figment79 (talk) 18:07, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Reeds in 1924 orchestration
The article says there were thirteen reeds, but only lists twelve. Can someone who has access to the score confirm or correct this discrepancy?
So when did Ferde Grofé orchestrate it? contradiction in the lead
The lead gives dates for three orchestral versions by Ferde Grofé and then lower down talks about a version from a fourth date. I suspect a typo somewhere. Anyone got the sources?--Peter cohen (talk) 22:02, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I took out the part about the Grofe version in the lead paragraph because it is against WP:ASF. No citation, no grounds for calling it "one of the most popular american concert works", so it clearly violates WP:ASF. Figment79 (talk) 18:33, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
This is my first time contributing to a talk page on Wikipedia, so sorry for any breaches of etiquette! Please advise if I have broken any protocols. The statement 'It was completed some years earlier, as it was conducted by Grofe at the 1937 Gershwin Memorial Concert in New York (Harry Kaufman, piano), and must have been the scoring used by Gershwin when soloing with symphony orchestras in the 1930s' appears without a citation. I'd be very interested in knowing where that information came from. Also, it seems odd that Harms would have been asking Gershwin to create a symphonic orchestration in 1936-37 (see footnote 21) if the Grofé symphonic version already existed! Can anyone clarify? UGK97 (talk) 17:47, 11 January 2014 (UTC)UGK97
UK premiere: Billy Mayerl or Arthur Benjamin?
Both of our articles on these fine pianists claim the premiere. They can't both be right.
I've only found one place that acknowledges the competing claims, but it's just a footnote quoting a source, and is effectively denying the Benjamin claim: see p. 756, Note 28, here.
- Never resolved, it seems. Perhaps a naive question, but wasn't the UK premiere Gershwin's own performance broadcast from the Savoy on 15 June 1925 (it was a public live performance, even if no audience in the hall), as per JO's last quoted ref, pp158-159? Davidships (talk) 23:45, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
Early recording dates
According to the article, the only recordings of Gershwin playing the Rhapsody in Blue were made on June 10, 1924, and in 1927. However, the date on the embedded audio file of Gershwin playing is February 24, 1924. John D. Goulden (talk) 19:25, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Now in public domain globally
As of 1 January 2020 public domain in the United States includes anything published before 1925. Rhapsody in Blue is from 1924 so is in public domain. The current image of original sheet music in the lead needs a date check, as it is marked as non-free when it might be free. Also there was mistakenly an upload of the song into Commons at
The mistake was that the song was free in Europe but non-free in the United States. It seems that this media file was hardly used, so that is why it was not flagged for deletion. Now we can use it and probably it should go into the infobox of this article for easy access.
There was a 20-year freeze on public domain releases until last year on 1 January 2019. Now every year on 1 January the public domain gets an entire new year of media, and increasingly we will have interesting media works to share. This is also an era of great music so among other issues we should develop best practices for making audio recordings accessible in Wikipedia articles about those recordings. This article would be a great test case. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:20, 7 January 2020 (UTC)