Rhapsody in Blue original version

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Mikebmiller
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Rhapsody in Blue original version

Post by Mikebmiller » Tue May 01, 2018 3:17 pm

Does anyone know what the instrumentation is or was for the original version of Rhapsody in Blue? I heard that that it was originally composed for piano and jazz band. And is this version available for rental or purchase somewhere? We have a fantastic piano player in our band and I was thinking about trying to talk him and the band into doing it.
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JohnL
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Re: Rhapsody in Blue original version

Post by JohnL » Tue May 01, 2018 4:30 pm

The original autographic score is available from Alfred Music, but the piece is still covered under copyright, so it would be illegal to extract parts from same. According to their site, Luck's Music Library has the 1924 edition for rent.

As far as the original instrumentation? Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
The 1924 orchestration was developed for solo piano and Whiteman's band, which consists of three woodwind players doubling one oboe, one clarinet, one sopranino saxophone in E♭, two soprano saxophones in B♭, two alto saxophones in E♭, one tenor saxophone in B♭, one baritone saxophone in E♭; two trumpets in B♭, two French horns in F, two trombones and one tuba (doubling on double bass); a percussion section that includes a drum set, timpani and a glockenspiel; one piano; one tenor banjo; and violins.
Based on what I know of the history of Whiteman's orchestra and 1920's music in general, that sounds about right. If you wanted to do it with authentic instrumentation, that's a lot of doubles for the woodwinds.

As I understand it, there is an orchestra piano part in addition to the solo part, so you'd need a second pianist, too.
Mikebmiller
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Re: Rhapsody in Blue original version

Post by Mikebmiller » Wed May 02, 2018 7:22 am

Thanks. $300 to rent is a bit rich for our blood. We do good to get 150 people to show up for a concert.
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BGuttman
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Re: Rhapsody in Blue original version

Post by BGuttman » Wed May 02, 2018 7:57 am

Mikebmiller wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 7:22 am
Thanks. $300 to rent is a bit rich for our blood. We do good to get 150 people to show up for a concert.
Now you know why we (and an awful lot of other lower tier orchestras) don't do a lot of modern music. That's actually a nice low price compared to what I've seen for a lot of other popular pieces.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
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