Monday, August 27, 2012

Music Monday: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue

This is going to be my last Music Monday, at least for a while. I made this decision based on a few factors.

First, the original reason I wanted to start a weekly feature was to get myself posting regularly again. That seems to have happened. Since I started this, I don't think there's been a single week that I made ONLY the one obligatory post. I'm confident I can keep that momentum going.

Second, football is starting soon. Already started, actually, but the regular season kicks off a week from Wednesday. I don't want to make any promises, but Pat has expressed interest in possibly doing a weekly post-game wrap up on the Bears. That's a whole lot of content coming at the beginning of the week. It seems a little lopsided. Sure, I could move my weekly music post to Thursday or Friday, though it wouldn't have the nice alliteration. But, that brings me to my third reason.

No one but me seems to care about them.

For the most part this doesn't bother me. It's my blog, I write about what I want to write about, and I really have enjoyed indulging in a part of my life that's been mostly dormant for the past several years. Still, these do take a little more effort to put together than a typical blog post, and it's disheartening to put forth that effort if no one else is enjoying them.

While any one of these things isn't a reason to quit, all of them together seems reason enough to at least take a break from it for a while.

So, for my final (for now) Music Monday, I've chosen to spotlight a great piece, despite the fact that it's another you're likely already familiar with.

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Rhapsody in Blue (1924)

George and Ira Gershwin are best known for musicals, with George composing the music and Ira providing the lyrics; their popular songs include "Someone to Watch Over Me," "I Got Rhythm," and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," just to name a few. But George also composed concert pieces, often trying to bridge the gap between classical and popular music, and consequently he managed to create one of the great classics of American music.

Gershwin was on a train journey when he began to conceptualize the music: "I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness." Listening to it, it's hard not to picture New York City in the early 20th century. How much of that is the music itself, and how much is because that's what it's been associated with for so many years, it's hard to say.

Also of note, Rhapsody in Blue has long been the theme song for United Airlines . . . which happens to be the official airline of the Chicago Bears. See what a nice segue this is? Sort of? Okay, not really.

Anyway, thanks again for reading Music Monday. It'll be my last for a while, though I'm sure I'll come back to these again at some point, in some form or other. Keep an eye out for those Bears posts (even if they don't appear every week, I'm sure that Pat will have plenty to say about them once the season gets going), and of course I'll be around with my usual randomness as well.

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