Rhapsody in Blue

George GERSHWIN

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Item#: 124686 price:$28,500.00

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“IN APPRECIATION OF YOUR HARD WORK ON ‘TELL ME MORE”: RHAPSODY IN BLUE, INSCRIBED PRESENTATION COPY, WITH AUTOGRAPH MUSICAL QUOTATION AND AUTOGRAPH PRESENTATION NOTE

GERSHWIN, George. Rhapsody in Blue for Jazz Band and Piano. New York: Harms, and London: Chappell & Co., [1925]. Quarto, original paper wrappers; pp. 42. $28,500.

First edition, score for two pianos, presentation copy, inscribed on the title page, “Maude Thornton—all the best wishes of George Gershwin. 1925,” with an autograph musical quotation of the main theme from the piece. With a signed autograph note from Gershwin tipped in, reading: “Dear Maude—Accept this little gift in appreciation of your hard work on ‘Tell Me More.’ George Gershwin.”

According to legend, Gershwin first heard that he was writing a "jazz concerto" for Paul Whiteman's orchestra when his brother Ira read of it in the New York Tribune and called to ask George about it. "Gershwin contacted Whiteman by telephone after hearing of the announcement and tried to beg off writing the 'concerto' only to be talked into doing so by the insistent, convincing Whiteman… Because time was short, a mere five weeks before the concert, and because he was so familiar with the abilities of the various members of Whiteman's regular personnel, Ferde Grofé was called upon to orchestrate for the slightly expanded Whiteman band. Grofé began his work, literally scoring behind Gershwin pages at a time" (Carnovale, 6). The orchestration was not finished until the day after rehearsals had begun. "Gershwin played the piano part himself at the premiere on February 12, 1924. Attended by the likes of Toscanini, Stravinski and Rachmaninov, the concert was a sensation, and it made Gershwin famous overnight" (Boyden, 150). PN 7206-41.Carnovale W1. Tell Me More, referred to in the inscription, was a Gershwin musical that opened in New York on April 13, 1925 and in London on May 26, a little over a year after the first performance of the Rhapsody. Maude Thornton, an actress who appeared in numerous musical productions in London, often with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, was likely in the cast of the London production of Tell Me More. With bookplate of recipient on front wrapper, dated 1925. Dealer stamp of London publisher Chappell on title page.

Expert paper restoration to wrappers and a few leaves, residue from paper clip to first few leaves. An extraordinary Gershwin piece, rarely found with an autograph musical quotation.

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