Book Looks at Iconic 'Rhapsody in Blue'
Assistant Music Professor Ryan Bañagale’s new book, “Arranging Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue and the Creation of an American Icon,” has received financial backing from the Society for American Music. The organization supports the publication of one to two books each year. The award means not only the endorsement of the eminent scholarly society, but also that the publication sale price will be reduced—allowing greater accessibility for a larger number of people.
In granting the award, the Society for American Music Publication Subvention Committee noted that in “Arranging Gershwin,” Bañagale, a 2000 graduate of Colorado College, tackles “the thorniest questions surrounding the iconic ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ from its conception in the 1920s to its most recent incarnations. As one of few monographs devoted to a single piece of American music, the book contributes to an under-represented genre of scholarship.”
The committee went on to say, “Weaving his way deftly in and out of concert hall, jazz club, variety show, and TV commercial, Bañagale combines minutely detailed sketch-study with wide ranging cultural critique to show just how rich the ‘Rhapsody’ has been as a vehicle for personal and political meanings. And by adjusting the focus from stable work to arrangement and dissemination, he brilliantly re-conceives the history of the piece as a series of collaborative inspirations.”
The book is scheduled for publication by Oxford University Press in October.