George Gershwin, best known as a writer of entertainment for the entertainment market, made several excursions into the realm of art music. One of these, An American in Paris, was the result of a European journey in 1928. Gershwin himself called this piece "a rhapsodic ballet: I have not endeavored to present any definite scenes in this music. The rhapsody is programmatic in a general impressionistic sort of way so that the individual listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him. The opening section is followed by a rich 'blues' with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a cafe, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The blues rises to a climax followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris."
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