Music Monday: Rhapsodies and Blues

Classical music is often used in soundtracks. Certain songs have been engraved into the public consciousness to the extent that we are at least aware of their presence and recognize the song, even if we don’t quite know what the names are. I could take a break from anime and talk about animation. If you were fed on Disney, MGM and Warner Bros animation, then classical music has been spoon fed into you.

Let’s talk about a song that has been used in both anime and animation, but not to the point of instant recognition.

Let’s talk about Rhapsody in Blue.

Rhapsody in Blue is one of the central songs in Nodame Cantible. The S Orchestra have proven themselves to be an orchestra, despite everyone else setting them up for failure. Their next performance must be even better than the debut but they don’t have Chiaki! Irregardless, even if no one decides acknowledges them, they decide to put on a bigger and better performance than the A Orchestra, even if they must pull out every trick in the  book!  Including a melodica!

Here’s the Drama version.

‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is a musical composition by George Gerswhin who composed it in 1924. A piece that combines classical and jazz elements, it’s loud, vibrant and cheerful.  It’s name is apt – the bright blue of a cloudless summer sky, the electric blue of a neon sign and the slightly murky blue green of a harbor.  It’s fast paced to the point that you lose your breath.  It’s contemplative, wistful and a rest.

It’s the sound of a big city.

‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is actually around 10 minutes long in it’s full and utter glory. The opening bars with the clarinet is one of the song’s most defining characteristics. ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ can be shuffled around, rearranged in any way possible be it long and slow or fast and quick witted.  It would still be recognizable as ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.

I would recommend digging up the Fantasia 2000 interpretation of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ but Disney. On Youtube there are videos of George Gerswin himself performing the piece. However, here’s a clip from ‘The King of Jazz’.