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“Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves”: Bernstein's Formative Relationship with Rhapsody in Blue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2009

Abstract

This paper examines Bernstein's early relationship with Rhapsody in Blue, including his first encounter with the sheet music at age thirteen; a recently discovered whimsical arrangement of the work (scored for accordion, ukulele, and voice, among other instruments), written in response to Gershwin's death in the summer of 1937; and Bernstein's performances of the piece with the Works Progress Administration's State Symphony Orchestra in Boston in 1938 and 1939. From an early age, not only did Bernstein have a particular vision of how the Rhapsody should operate; he also identified deeply with it. These findings provide important new insights into Bernstein's later, more polemical interpretations of the work in both recordings and the concert hall—interpretations that have had profound implications on the reception of the Rhapsody on the global stage.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for American Music 2009

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