Lara Downes Unveils “Study in Blue”, Previewing Her Upcoming Rhapsody in Blue Reimagined, To Mark Gershwin’s Centennial
Pianist Lara Downes has released “Study In Blue,” a preview of her forthcoming Rhapsody In Blue Reimagined project out February 2 (Pentatone) that reflects on 100 years of immigration and transformation since the iconic work by George Gershwin premiered in New York City in February 1924.
“Study In Blue” is a stand-alone recording featuring Downes at the piano, with Edmar Colón on soprano saxophone. This romantic duet is a fantasy on the slow theme from Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, unexpectedly and beautifully mashed up with Chopin’s Etude in E Major, Op 10 #3 in a nod to Gershwin’s Romantic-era inspiration. “Study In Blue” will be released as a bonus track alongside Rhapsody In Blue Reimagined on February 2, and is available today as an Apple Music exclusive.
Downes’ mission for Rhapsody In Blue at 100 is to celebrate the waves upon waves of new arrivals to this country over the past century. This new arrangement fills the Rhapsody with the sounds of Downes’ own lineage, as well as Colón’s. It features Afro-Caribbean rhythms and instruments, and musical elements that represent American journeys from many corners of the globe.
Says Downes: “Rhapsody In Blue holds a special place in my heart as both a musician and a lover of music.”
“It’s been a great thrill to reflect on the story of an American century and my own family’s journey of immigration and social change, as expressed in Gershwin’s music. I think he would be so thrilled to know that this piece is still part of the colorful, beautiful, multicultural musical kaleidoscope of America, now and for generations to come.”