Good morning! Spring recitals are coming up fast! Next weekend we have our large group recital at a local church. The church has been hosting my recitals for about 5 years now in the spring and fall. They have a beautiful 100 year old Steinway Piano that is a joy to play. Plus, their Sanctuary is a beautiful room to perform in. If you are signed up for this recital, please be respectful of the church so that we will be invited back again in the fall. Please note that this is a private recital for students and their families, not open to the public.
This recital is a jazz music theme this time. All the students have tried a couple different styles of jazz over the last few months. We tried some basic jazz pieces, which I describe as having no melody, just a base line and chords with a cool beat. Most students chose a piece with a real melody in the end and we have a variety to listen to from Scott Joplin to the more current Paul Simon and Jerry Jeff Walker.
I had a difficult time finding a piece for me to play. I think I downloaded about 10 songs which I played and really liked, but none of the music really pulled at my heart strings. Then I found in my possession a 1927 c. version of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue. I acquired this piece from my grandmother who gave me a pile of jazz music while she was moving last year. At first I thought no way could I play this. But as I listened to the piece while looking at the music, I realized that what I had was a different version than the Rhapsody In Blue that we listen to today. For one thing, it is much shorter. This one is 31 pages, compared to recent prints of 6o-75 pages. I read some history on the piece and found out George Gershwin was commissioned to write a jazz sonata, a 3 part piece. What he came up with was not a sonata but a rhapsody which has several musical themes entwined through out the piece. There are 2 final versions which we hear today. One is with a full orchestra, and the other is a solo piano version. It took him 18 years to create this piece which we know and love today. The final copy write date is 1945. The more I listened to it the more I fell in love, but it was already March. I had some serious practicing if I was going to pull this off. In the end I had to do some edits, I shortened the piece quite bit, but I hope it satisfies even those listeners who are familiar with this song.