Second Rhapsody

Premiered at Symphony Hall, Boston, on January 29, 1932.  Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky (conductor), George Gershwin (piano).

In November 1930, George and Ira Gershwin arrived in Hollywood to write the score for their first movie, DELICIOUS. Besides the songs, George was asked to compose an instrumental piece to underscore a sequence where the film’s immigrant heroine wanders through a somewhat menacing Manhattan. In the end, only six minutes of what was originally entitled RHAPSODY IN RIVETS was used in DELICIOUS, but George – never wanting good work to go to waste – believed that his score deserved an additional life as his next work for the concert hall. Upon his return to New York, while also working on the score for OF THEE I SING, he completed the SECOND RHAPSODY, and prepared it for its Boston debut under the baton of Serge Koussevitzky. Though greeted with cheers from the opening night audience and described as descriptive of an “… America of untrammeled manners and cocktail energy,” the SECOND RHAPSODY never reached into the hearts of its listeners the way the RHAPSODY IN BLUE did eight years earlier.