Wednesday, February 1, 2017

It's February, so let's start it with a song. The man who wrote this song is very important to the history of music. George Gershwin wrote the Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, which was destined to become the most popular and most celebrated piece of American classical music. But, Gershwin wrote it for piano and jazz band, and it was soon realized that it needed a symphony orchestra to really soar. But, at the time, Gershwin did not have the skills to orchestrate it himself. 

So, they called in music arranger Ferde Grofe. He was a great arranger because he could play 8 instruments. He really knew the orchestra. And like Gershwin, he was also a great pianist. 

The result was spectacular. Everyone was pleased, including Gershwin. And when Gershwin died, tragically, of a brain tumor in 1937 at the age of 37, Ferde Grofe conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in performing the Rhapsody in Blue at the Gershwin Memorial Concert. And that became the standard for the Rhapsody- to this day. 

But even though that tops his bio, Ferde Grofe was a prolific composer in his own right, his most famous work being the Grand Canyon Suite. He wrote classical, jazz (he was called the Prince of Jazz) ballet, chamber music, and popular songs, including this one which celebrates the beauty and wonder of daybreak. That's something that I never see because I stay up late and sleep late. But, I hear it's nice. And the song is very nice.  So, from 1924, here is Daybreak by Ferde Grofe.

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