Classical music inspired by the Jazz Age:

Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue

When it comes to jazzy classical music, Gershwin's your guy. His Rhapsody in Blue from 1924 is one of the most famous examples of his unique style, from the boozy opening clarinet tune to the virtuosic piano solos throughout. It encapsulates the spirit of the Jazz Age - so much so, that Baz Lurhmann uses the piece to accompany the decadent party scene in his film adaptation of The Great Gatsby.


Copland, Piano Concerto 

"The slow blues and the snappy number". That's how Copland described the two sections of his impressive Piano Concerto, and it sums up the 1926 piece pretty perfectly. It's the ultimate example of jazz-classical fusion, both indulgent and refined in equal measure.

Gershwin, An American in Paris

Strolling through the streets of Paris in 1920s, this piece attempts to capture the sights and sounds of the city. Gershwin even brought back a few horns from Parisian taxis to add some authentic Parisian noise to the New York premier.

Weill, The Threepenny Opera

European swing, American jazz, and opera. It's all there in Weill's 1928 opera, set, unexpectedly, in Victorian London. The opening song, The Ballad of Mackie Messer, translated into English as Mack the Knife, has now become a jazz standard in its own right.

Songs from The Threepenny Opera have been widely covered and become standards, most notably "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" ("The Ballad of Mack the Knife") and "Seeräuberjenny" ("Pirate Jenny").

Stravinsky, Piano-Rag Music

Stravinsky proved himself in the field of angular tunes and stabbing rhythms in his 1910 ballet, The Firebird. It was only a matter of time before the quirky rag-time dance got its own treatment by the composer, and the results are remarkable - it's jazzy and jarring all at once, with a menacing sense of fun.

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