About this Piece
The success of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in Ferde Grofé's arrangement encouraged Grofé (1892-1972) and Paul Whiteman to create other pieces in this emerging "symphonic jazz" style, which Grofé broadened to include many styles of American popular music. The most famous of these was the Grand Canyon Suite (1931), but Grofé left the Whiteman band soon after its premiere, becoming the chief arranger and composer for Radio City Music Hall in 1932. He concentrated on radio work for most of the 1930s, but he also received commissions for several film scores and ballets.
One of these was Hollywood, commissioned by the Los Angeles production team Fanchon and Marco for a ballet at the Hollywood Bowl, featuring dancer Aida Broadbent. The scenario was a little morality tale about filming a dance scene with a talentless star and her double. It premiered at the Bowl August 15, 1935, following a performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. "The music is an original score by Ferdie Grofé, whose popularity is such that an introduction is hardly required," the program magazine noted. In 1938 Grofé arranged his ballet as an orchestral suite, six kinetic movements strongly suggesting the style and spirit of classic film musicals.
- John Henken is the Philharmonic's Director of Publications.