Gershwin’s Cityscape

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Paired with just about every NYC skyline caught in film, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has become crowd-pleasing orchestra fare. It was originally composed for piano and jazz band, premiering with the Palais Royal Orchestra under Paul Whiteman, in  1924. Noted French sisters Katia and Marielle Labeque play their transcription for 2 pianos — hailed by none other than George’s brother Ira — with Riccardo Chailly and the Cleveland Orchestra. “Rhapsody”, in its classical sense, is usually a one-movement work combining disparate episodes into an integrated whole. Appropriate here, in music that’s like walking unhurriedly from scene to scene along roaring-twenties Broadway.

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