The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #173083   Message #4197444
Posted By: DaveRo
18-Feb-24 - 07:45 AM
Thread Name: Rhapsody In Blue at 100
Subject: RE: Rhapsody In Blue at 100
A century on from Rhapsody in Blue, debates about cultural ‘theft’ rage still (The Guardian)

‘The future music of this country must be founded upon what are called negro melodies. This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States.” So wrote the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, in an 1893 essay, a year after he had moved to America to teach at the newly created National Conservatory in New York.

Almost half a century later, a precocious Harvard student by the name of Leonard Bernstein wrote his undergraduate thesis on “The Absorption of Race Elements into American Music”. Searching for a “national” basis for American music, he found it in “Negro music”. “If an American is a sensitive creator,” Bernstein wrote, “jazz will have become an integral part of his palette, whether or not he is aware of it.”

In between Dvořák’s essay and Bernstein’s thesis came a musical work that appeared to give explicit form to their arguments: George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. A work that fused jazz and classical traditions, it was first performed 100 years ago last week on 12 February 1924, in a concert in New York entitled “An Experiment in Modern Music”...