George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a bridge between European Classical music and American Jazz. As we approach the 100th birthday of this great piece of music, which was premiered on February 12th, 1924 in New York's Aeolian Hall, it stands as a towering tribute to the sights, sounds, and most of all the spirit of America.
I have broken down the arrangement into five movements and used Gershwin's own words about the piece as titles for the movements: I. Kaleidoscope, II. Rattle-Ty Bang, Ill. Metropolitan Madness, IV. Love Theme, and V. Melting Pot.
Breaking the piece down into movements has helped me to grasp more deeply each part of this exquisite rhapsodic adventure and make more sense of it in my mind.
Learning and studying the Rhapsody in Blue was (and is) a great joy, appealing equally to my Classical side and my Jazz sensibility with regard to
chords, sounds, colors, rhythms, and flavors.
For the Mozart, we only have to back up another 136 years before the premiere of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue to the year 1788. Mozart himself described
this piece in his thematic catalogue as "for beginners."
He may have given beginners a bit too much credit!
It is, however, perfect in a kind of simplicity - I would say the kind that is only given proper and due respect by mastery. Even masters fear to perform this piece,
precisely because of its deceptive evocation of child -like simplicity.
Roughly 200 years before the Rhapsody in Blue, around the year 1722, the great German master Johann Sebastian Bach delivered what I believe is his greatest masterwork, the Well -Tempered Clavier, Book I. For this seminal book, Bach wrote a Prelude and a Fugue in every major and minor key-48 pieces of music. The Circle of Fifths was his new playground. In a similar fashion to Mozart, Bach wrote of his own Well-Tempered Clavier "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of
learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study." I have taken this to heart, and this book has been a pastime of mine for many years.
Fast-forward approximately 300 years into the future from Bach's great opus, learning from Bach and gleaning even more from the great Austrian master Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart along the way, and then with a brief stop-over into the "Roaring Nineteen -Twenties" visiting with the great American composer George Gershwin, and I present to you a work I call Concerto for Pan: II. Seascapes. I hope that you will see a connection from Bach to Mozart to Gershwin to Dr. Mike Bogle.