Saturday, February 12, 2005

Rhapsody in Blue

George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was first performed on this day, February 12, 1924. I found my DVD of the Woody Allen movie Manhattan, and listened to this lovely piece of music.

I first heard Rhapsody in Blue when I was a kid. It was the signature music in those television commercials for United Airlines. When I saw Woody Allen's movie for the first time (on VHS), his use of this music to score the opening and the ending of his movie verges on sublime. The way he slowly pans through beautiful Manhattan using that clarinet "smear", and then rushes through the details of that big beautiful city with the full orchestra booming is for me one the most thrilling opening sequences in all of movies.

And Woody calls on it again at the end, Isaac and Tracy in an apartment lobby, a departure imminent. She needs to catch a plane. Full circle, don't you think?

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