Zubin Mehta: Rhapsody in Blue – as heard in Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979)


Rhapsody in Blue


New York Philharmonic


Woody Allen Classics (Sony Classical SK53549)

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Zubin Mehta (conductor), Gary Graffman (piano),

New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta; piano soloist Gary Graffman


Composed by George Gershwin. Orchestrated by Ferde Grofé


Recorded: New York, 1978


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

In 1924 bandleader Paul Whiteman, the reigning "King of Jazz," introduced his unruly domain to Gotham highbrows, premiering George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with its composer at the piano. Gershwin described his piece better than any reviewer could as "a musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, our unduplicated national pep, our blues, our metropolitan madness." True to its name, Rhapsody revolves thematically around the blues scale that is central to jazz. From its outrageous opening clarinet glissando—as instantly recognizable as the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony—to its final triumphant chord, Rhapsody in Blue exudes Jazz Age chutzpah. Here covered by the New York Philharmonic with piano soloist Gary Graffman, as conducted by Zubin Mehta especially for Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979), Gershwin's crowning glory remains a vibrant, everlasting monument of Americana.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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