This arrangement is based on the latest Rhapsody’s editions for full orchestra. The main origin lines of violins, wood winds and percussions are almost entirely migrated into this score with some exemptions regarding accordion specific. Brass section (cornies, tuba, trumpets, trombone and saxophones) has suffered more serious transcription. Their parts have entered the parts of two sinthezators (can be played on accordion with midi amplification). Composer’s tempo notes and dynamic characters have been left without changes. Set of parts is available with the score.
Good to know
Band leader Paul Whiteman approached George Gershwin in 1922 with the idea of composing a concerto for solo piano and jazz orchestra. Whiteman was planning an «educational» concert of jazz music, hoping to crash the gate of the highbrow concert hall and legitimize for Americans their taste for their native music. Gershwin, at the age of 24 already a successful song-writer and doing very well on Broadway, was flattered, accepted, and promptly put the idea in the back of his mind. On the night of January 3, 1923, George's brother, Ira, showed him a report appearing in the next day's New York Tribune, announcing that Gershwin was «at work on a Jazz concerto» to be premiered that February 12. History fails to record whether Gershwin tore the cigar from his mouth, flung it across the pool-hall, and dashed home to his piano. However, he did produce, in about three weeks' time, a workable manuscript for Whiteman's concert. Whiteman's chief arranger, Ferde Grofe (later to become famous as the composer of the Grand Canyon Suite), scored Rhapsody in Blue, or what there was of it, in ten days. Gershwin, who was to play the premiere performance, had left huge chunks of the solo piano part blank, with the instruction that he would nod to conductor Whiteman when it came time to bring in the orchestra. Gershwin improvised or reconstructed from memory the solo passages, committing them to paper only after the hugely successful premiere, when he had a little more time.
Grofe’s first arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue (the title, by the way, was the inspiration of brother Ira) looks rather different that the one we are used to, if only because Whiteman's band did not have the recourses of a full orchestra. The string section consisted of eight violins, and a tuba player doubled on contra-bass. All the woodwind parts were covered by three versatile instrumentalists, while the brass section-at three trumpets, two horns a trombone, and a part-time tuba-was rather smaller than we are accustomed to hearing. In addition, Grofe called originally for banjo and celeste! (David Isadore Lieberman)