Piano and concept: Sebastian Knauer
Compilation of text: Wolfgang Knauer
The story of his short life and his success became the quintessence of the American melting pot: here was the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia who not only managed to lift himself quickly out of poverty, reaching the heights of a celebrated Broadway Star and becoming the darling of society, but who created a completely new and unique musical language, combining jazz and blues of the black minority with Latin-American rhythms and the melodic form of truly artistic music. Gershwin was the first representative of a typically American music that made quite a stir even in the “old” world on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Through his songs and evergreens, through his piano concerto in F and his socio-critical opera “Porgy and Bess he has secured for himself a lasting place in musical history. Above all, his “Rhapsody in Blue”, performed in 1924 for the first time, brought him world fame.
Some of his contemporaries and companions are remembered in this programme of his brief but continually active life lasting barely 39 years, as well as his love for the woman composer Kay Swift who, of the same age as Gershwin, played a very important role.
Sebastian Knauer plays the solo version of the “Rhapsody in Blue” as well as preludes and other pieces from Gershwin’s Songbook.