14 February 2008

8+

"Rhaphsody in Blue" by George Gershwin which clocks in at 14:25

It's Valentine's Day, and I'm in love.

It's not a new love.......

I've been in love with George Gershwin's "Rhaphsody in Blue" since fa-ever. I know I'm not the only one, I know it's one of humanity's all-time great songs (actually, just think about that for a minute, because it truly is... I wonder, what are some others? ) and as such, this is an extremely difficult 8+ to write about. In fact, I simply can't. What new thought can I bring to the table on the topic of this song?

I could tell you that it just might be my favorite song ever (which, all things considered, is true). I could tell you that I really love the use of it in Woody Allen's Manhattan and in Disney's Fantasia 2000 (check out clips of the song, as used in these films, over on EARF), but really didn't care for the arrangement that was presented when Herbie Hancock & Lang Lang played the song at the 2008 Grammys (also viewable on EARF) because of the way it was hacked to pieces. Not by the performers, it was a real treat to see those two men play a two-piano version of the song with an orchestra, but by whoever arranged it to be a full eight minutes shorter than the version of the song that's posted here. Which, in my highly uneducated opinion, is a nearly criminal offense, given that the best version of "Rhaphsody in Blue" that in existence is the one posted above. Sure, it lacks the signature clarinet and trumpet touches because it's simply a two-piano version of the song, but that's the beauty of it. It's a stripped down listen to a masterpiece; great music doesn't get any more perfect than this. In fact, to achieve what you hear here, the original Gershwin-recorded piano roll was played on a grand piano which was then placed in a concert hall. It's a recording that comes across sounding as something you might've heard if you were around and fortunate enough to hear George Gershwin play the song on piano in person. And I love it. Now you go and love it.

If you're interested in learning more about "Rhaphsody in Blue" start by checking out the Wikipedia page about it and continue by reading the excellent book Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue by David Schiff.

*above photo of the original sheet music of the two piano version of "Rhapsody in Blue" from HERE.

Buy Gershwin Plays Gershwin - The Piano Rolls on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Múm - "Smell Memory"
Tool - "Lateralus"
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks - "Real Emotional Trash"
Iron Maiden - "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"
Mandy Reid - "Tornado"
Genesis - "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
Metallica - "Master of Puppets"
British Sea Power - “Lately”

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.