Anyone have a favorite performance/recording of this classic? Sound off.
My favorite (not saying the best): Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Columbia Records Jazz Band.
This is a version incorporating the original (premiere) big band arrangement by Ferde Grofe for the Paul Whiteman Band - only later was it scored for symphony orchestra, the form in which it is known best today.
The other interesting aspect of this recording is that the pianist is George Gershwin - reproduced from a 1925 piano roll recording of him playing Rhapsody.
All and all a unique performance. Most people probably won't like it, as it sounds very different from the versions we are familiar with today. I find it very enjoyable to listen to the piece in the format for it was originally written, even if it later became a symphonic piece.
My favorite recorded performance of Rhapsody in Blue and the best, IMHO, is the Earl Wild Boston Pops version conducted by Authur Fieldler. Their Concerto in F is fabulous and idiomatic, as well. Wild is just incredibly spellbinding with this material. Available on the RCA lable on 'shaded dog', vinyl reissues, and CD. By the way, Ferde Grofe did the 1942 orchestral arrangement, as well, by which most know the Rhapsody today.