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The musician who can arguably be called America's most successful songwriter, and this despite his tragic death at age 38, was intently interested in composing "serious" music. In addition to his Broadway and Hollywood songs, George Gershwin (1898-1937) wrote concert works such as Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and his ambitious Piano Concerto in F. One year before his Rhapsody, Gershwin composed a set of preludes for piano (rather more in the style of Chopin than Bach) which combined the insinuating syncopations of jazz with the harmonic sophistication of the composer who would go on to compose the great American opera Porgy and Bess a decade later. Jeff Tyzik has arranged these "pure" creations of the 25-year-old Gershwin for orchestra, adding subtitles to the second (Blue Lullaby) and third (Spanish Prelude).

- Dennis Bade is the Philharmonic's Associate Director of Publications.