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Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin) (Download)

arranged for percussion ensemble by Stephen Primatic
Level: Advanced
Duration: 11:20-17:20
Personnel: 12-13 players
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCE20-001DL
Price: $56.00
Item #: TSPCE20-001DL

Formats Available:


Description

Originally written in 1924 for two pianos, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is one of the most recognizable pieces of orchestral music in the world. Its melodies have been used in countless films, commercials, cartoons, and have been adapted and arranged for a large number of instrumentations and ensembles.

In Stephen Primatic’s brilliant and ambitious arrangement for large percussion ensemble, this timeless pieces is captured in its full and complete format, based on the two-piano original. Melodies are passed around between players, and themes are craftily colored, all via percussion orchestration resulting in a lofty challenge for ambitious ensembles. The piece also includes a small rhythm section that covers Gershwin’s original percussion parts with the addition of a drumset.


Because of its block-like structure, there is a certain flexibility in performance. If a shortened version is desired, there are several cuts provided that can be made to fit any length of program.



Use of this product is governed by the license terms outlined here.

Instrumentation

Glockenspiel

Xylophone

Chimes

Vibraphones

3 marimbas—(2) low A, (1) low C

4 timpani

Drums (concert bass drum, 4 concert toms, drumset: kick drum, snare drum, floor tom)

Cymbals & gongs (2 suspended cymbals, 2 pars of crash cymbals, hi-hat, ride cymbal, crash cymbal, tam-tam)

Accessories (2 triangles, slapstick, 2 tambourines, castanets, ratchet, temple blocks (5), wood block)

Reviews

Combining elements of jazz and classical orchestral music, “Rhapsody in Blue” is George Gershwin’s most recognizable composition and is one that set new standards for American music in the early 20th century. While this piece typically features a piano soloist along with an orchestra, Stephen Primatic has done a marvelous job adapting it for large-scale percussion ensemble.

One of the appealing aspects of this arrangement is that all the players are “featured” at some point, whether it be presenting solo melodic figures, reinforcing harmonic lines, or infusing the ensemble texture with playful punctuations. Additionally, the idiomatic treatment of the instruments presents Gershwin’s original musical elements in a way that is instantly recognizable, tasteful, and true to the orchestral version. This is not an adaptation that sounds like a drum corps field show peppered with choppy keyboard runs; in this arrangement you can almost “hear” the violin, flute, and brass sounds wafting through the resonators of the vibraphone and marimbas.

All of the mallet parts can be played with two mallets, cuts can be made for either an 11-minute or a 17-minute version, and adaptations can be employed for the optional chime part and one of the marimba parts (either to share or play on their own instrument). A conductor will likely be required, since there are many points along the journey where tempo fluctuates, emphasizing phrase endings, and then restarts at a different speed. This is truly a mature and thought-out arrangement of a classic piece that will surely connect with players and audience members.

—Joshua D. Smith
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 59, No. 2, April 2021

Description

Originally written in 1924 for two pianos, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is one of the most recognizable pieces of orchestral music in the world. Its melodies have been used in countless films, commercials, cartoons, and have been adapted and arranged for a large number of instrumentations and ensembles.

In Stephen Primatic’s brilliant and ambitious arrangement for large percussion ensemble, this timeless pieces is captured in its full and complete format, based on the two-piano original. Melodies are passed around between players, and themes are craftily colored, all via percussion orchestration resulting in a lofty challenge for ambitious ensembles. The piece also includes a small rhythm section that covers Gershwin’s original percussion parts with the addition of a drumset.


Because of its block-like structure, there is a certain flexibility in performance. If a shortened version is desired, there are several cuts provided that can be made to fit any length of program.



Use of this product is governed by the license terms outlined here.

Instrumentation

Glockenspiel

Xylophone

Chimes

Vibraphones

3 marimbas—(2) low A, (1) low C

4 timpani

Drums (concert bass drum, 4 concert toms, drumset: kick drum, snare drum, floor tom)

Cymbals & gongs (2 suspended cymbals, 2 pars of crash cymbals, hi-hat, ride cymbal, crash cymbal, tam-tam)

Accessories (2 triangles, slapstick, 2 tambourines, castanets, ratchet, temple blocks (5), wood block)

Reviews

Combining elements of jazz and classical orchestral music, “Rhapsody in Blue” is George Gershwin’s most recognizable composition and is one that set new standards for American music in the early 20th century. While this piece typically features a piano soloist along with an orchestra, Stephen Primatic has done a marvelous job adapting it for large-scale percussion ensemble.

One of the appealing aspects of this arrangement is that all the players are “featured” at some point, whether it be presenting solo melodic figures, reinforcing harmonic lines, or infusing the ensemble texture with playful punctuations. Additionally, the idiomatic treatment of the instruments presents Gershwin’s original musical elements in a way that is instantly recognizable, tasteful, and true to the orchestral version. This is not an adaptation that sounds like a drum corps field show peppered with choppy keyboard runs; in this arrangement you can almost “hear” the violin, flute, and brass sounds wafting through the resonators of the vibraphone and marimbas.

All of the mallet parts can be played with two mallets, cuts can be made for either an 11-minute or a 17-minute version, and adaptations can be employed for the optional chime part and one of the marimba parts (either to share or play on their own instrument). A conductor will likely be required, since there are many points along the journey where tempo fluctuates, emphasizing phrase endings, and then restarts at a different speed. This is truly a mature and thought-out arrangement of a classic piece that will surely connect with players and audience members.

—Joshua D. Smith
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 59, No. 2, April 2021


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