Saturday, August 23, 2014

Most Memorable Clarinet Moment?

Repeat post from June of 2012 [with a couple of additions and changes]:

Hat Tip To: 
I have this twitter friend, Michael from California, whose twitter handle is @conservativeLA who knows and loves many genres of music. Check out his website: and CLA radio

While not a huge classical music fan, Michael tweeted, in the Hughniverse chat room, how he loved the sweet sound of the clarinet and especially remembered the opening of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. I knew and loved that jazzy clarinet opening, but I had to look up the name of what the technique the clarinet used in that famous opening.

It is called a clarinet glissando [a smooth glide from one pitch to another].  There are certain famous openings in music, that not only immediately let you know what piece or song is being played, but also immediately brings a smile to your face.

Everyone knows and I think loves the opening of the Temptations, My Girl.  Also, the same with the opening of  Beethoven's 5th symphony.  When I hear the openings of those two pieces I immediately get a smile on my face knowing I'm about to hear some magical music.   You can say the same with Rhapsody in Blue's magical opening solo clarinet glissando.

George Gershwin 
George Gershwin was a great American composer in the modern era [early 20th century] who combined elements of jazz with his classical pieces.  That was certainly true with his great Rhapsody in Blue. It was not a piano concerto but it was a wonderful composition for solo piano and orchestra with a huge jazz influence.

The thing I love about Rhapsody in Blue, besides the awesome melodies, is that it features my two favorite instruments: piano and clarinet.

While I give the hat tip to Michael [conservativeLA] for this wonderful piece on this Saturday, I want to dedicate this piece to my wonderful Mom, Reenie [who passed Christmas Day in 2010].  This was her favorite piece of music.  My mom learned how to play the piano part of Rhapsody in Blue, and she loved playing it.

Mom, I will never forget your love and goodness. This is for you.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy my Mom's favorite piece of music, that includes one of the most memorable clarinet moments in music, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.  And please watch in full screen to not only watch one of the greatest solo piano performances you will ever see, but to watch how much fun the soloist is having playing this magnificent gem!

Note: You will get a treat as the pianist plays an encore, I believe it is one of the movements from Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" [It is a scherzo like fun, light selection]

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue:


Joel said...

So nice of you to honor your mom! :D

Big Mike said...

Thanks Joel. Blessings!