Archive for March, 2012


amazing piece. Nuff said

My personal favorite performance of Gershwin’s masterpiece from 1976 in Royal Albert Hall, with Leonard Bernstien actually pulling off the feat of conducting and playing piano at the same time

Im having a sort of a classical jazz fusion posting day as you can tell. Enjoy

Editor’s Note: I wanted to backtrack a little and write this one to one of my favorite composers of all time. 


Rhapsody in Blue

Rhapsody in Blue is a jazz/classical musical composition written by George Gershwin for the solo piano and jazz band in 1924. Although it was originally written for just solo piano and jazz band, the piece is more widely recognized as one of the most popular orchestrated pieces of all time. There are many reasons for this.

            George Gershwin was a Jewish jazz composer that was born on September 26, 1898, and sadly passed away on July 11, 1937. He was most famous for his piece Rhapsody in Blue, but was also very well known for pieces such as “An American In Paris” and his opera “Porgy and Bess”. He was born to the sufficiently Jewish name of Jacob Gershvin when he was born in 19th century Brooklyn, New York, to his Jewish parents who had immigrated from the Ukraine. When he was young, his parents bought his brother, Ira Gershwin, a piano, and to the whole family’s surprise, it was George who started playing it. This was the start of the a prolific life of music for Gershwin, most prominently “Rhapsody in Blue”.  His parents found him a teacher by the name of Charles Hambitzer, who ended up being a mentor to George through the art of teaching him piano and the introduction of the world of classical/jazz music. After Hambitzer’s passing, George found his first job at the mere age of 15 as a performer earning 15 dollars a week as a song plugger for a publishing firm in New York’s Tin Pan Alley.  His first published song was “When You Want Em, You Can’t Get Em, When You Got Em, You Don’t Want Em”. He earned about 5 dollars for that song, which wasn’t much, but in 1919 he finally scored big with his hit song “Swanee” which had words by Irving Caesar. In 1920, George created his first ambitious, experimental piece which was the one act jazz opera “Blue Monday”, which is said to be the forerunner to one of his greatest hits, “Porgy and Bess”. In 1924, George and his brother Ira Gershwin collaborated on their stage musical comedy, “Lady Be Good”.

            Finally, in early 1924, Gershwin was convinced to write what was to become “Rhapsody in Blue”. He was convinced to write it for an anti-jazz concert one of George’s old musical collaborators was throwing, and he wanted Gershwin to write an concerto like piece for the concert in February 1924. Finally, Gershwin agreed to write it, using America as a template for what was to become an extraordinary piece. At first, it was to be called “American Rhapsody”, but the name was changed to “Rhapsody in Blue” by his brother, Ira Gershwin. A few weeks later, the piece was finished and it was passed to his collaborator’s arranger Ferde Grofe, who orchestrated the piece, finishing the orchestration only 8 days before the premiere. On February 12, 1924, “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered at the concert titled “An Experiment in Modern Music” in the Aeolian Hall in New York City, with famous composers such as Sergei Rachmaninoff present. The concert was an incredibly long one, consisting of 26 movements, which made the people in the audience almost lose their patience until Gershwin’s masterpiece was heard for the first time, marking that day in history forever. The piece sold over a million copies in record form, and was played a total of 84 times just by the original band in a span of 3 years.

Analysts still question the fact if it is jazz or classical or a fusion between the two, but in the end, Rhapsody In Blue remains one of the greatest and most widely known pieces known to be written by a Jewish composer, nevertheless any composer. It has been used in films such as Fantasia 2000, Woody Allen’s Manhattan. It has even influenced artists such as Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys, and it is the song used by United Airlines for their commercials and advertising since the 80’s. All in all, this is all incontrovertible proof to the musical prowess to Gershwin’s masterpiece, and one of my favorite pieces of all time, “Rhapsody in Blue”.

The progressive metal band have been known for not falling into the ordinary spectrum of music. They have managed to become the alternative to the alternative type of progressive metal that they play, making them one of the strangest, nevertheless more ear provoking and eye opening bands to listen to. They have been known to play around with their songs in a few several interesting ways, for example one of them being having a song where each line would double in syllables (Having a line be 1 syllable, the next line being 2 syllables, and then the next line being 4 syllables, etc.). However, that is not their most eye opening one. On their most recent album, 10,000 Days, they have the 11:13 minute title track, “10,000 Days”. Two other songs on the album are “Wings For Marie” which is 6:11 seconds, and “Viginti Trees” which is 5:02 seconds. If you will notice, they both add perfectly to 11:13 minutes, and here is the reason why: Play them all by themselves, they are all seperate songs with their own lyrics, but if you play Wings For Marie and subsequently Viginti Trees at the same time 10,000 Days is playing, they will altogether form a whole new song with different lyrics and every thing. If you check it out on this youtube doubler (i only have the last 5 minutes) you can sort of experience the wierd/awesomeness of Tool:

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this Random Music Fact of the Day and keep reading my blog.

Yoni Gottlieb


(The music fact for today isn’t exactly a fact so you describe it, but nevertheless something i found interesting as i have been listening to Bon Iver’s music recently)

The folk band Bon Iver independently released its first album in July of 2007. I specifically put “its” there as, at least in the beginning, Bon Iver only consisted of one person, that being Justin Vernon. Justin Vernon started Bon Iver as a kind of relapse; his previous band had broken up, his girlfriend had broken up with him, while getting mono as a plus, he escaped to his fathers cabin in the woods for an entire winter, and that is where he wrote Bon Iver’s first album: For Emma, Forever Ago. Now before i go into details, the name Bon Iver came from a TV show Justin was watching while in the cabin, which depicted a bunch of Alaskan citizens who would greet each other by saying “Bon hiver”. Instead of calling it Bon Hiver (which Vernon thought sounded too much like  hives, which also reminded him of how he was sick), Vernon named it “Bon Iver”. Just using an old Silvertone guitar and a simplistic Shure SM57 recording device (at times some other instruments were used such as drums, but it was mainly just the above), Justin recorded Bon Iver’s first album by himself, playing all the instruments, doing all the overdubs, and editing the album all by himself, a pretty impressive feat you don’t see too much, especially when that album is amazing (check it out sometime it is pretty spectacular).

Yoni Gottlieb


PS. 2 months exactly until “The Avengers” comes out

Green Day’s breakout 1994 album, “Dookie”, was recorded in a mere three weeks; an incredibly short time to record an album, especially for an album that almost singlehandedly started the 1994 punk scene, had 5 hit singles (Longview, Basket Case, When I Come Around, She, and Welcome to Paradise), and didn’t just go platinum in sales… it went Diamond, meaning it went over the 10,000,000 mark in cd sales (to be specific, Dookie sold 15 million in total). And compared to a similarly popular rock album of the 90’s (Metallica’s The Black Album) which took a whole 9 months to record. Granted, Metallica’s The Black Album also went Diamond, and Metallica’s music is much more complicated, but still, Green Day went Diamond with 8 months and 1 week less of recording time, a pretty impressive feat if i have to say.

As always, Yoni Gottlieb, giving you random info you probably won’t need, but its fun to write it up anyway.


This trailer is just too amazing not to post. Enjoy