My favorite musical, and also one of my favorite movies, is An American in Paris. I have watched it countless times over the years since I was young, and love it so very much. It is a truly wonderful work of art, combining such beautiful and painterly scenes and imagery, seamless transitions between the live action spoken scenes and the singing and dancing (which is rare for movie musicals), gorgeous music by George Gershwin, incredible cinematography, and, of course, also a beautiful love story. Gene Kelly, the star of the film, was one of my favorite stars when I was a little girl. I just absolutely adored him and this movie. It is such a very special and beautiful movie to me...
I loved Gene Kelly so much that I even took tap dancing classes at a senior center when I was in high school. They kindly let me into the class, even though I was not a senior citizen. I found a pair of tap shoes that fit me at a flea market for two dollars, and had so much fun learning to tap. I dreamed of one day dancing as well as Gene Kelly, a true dancing master.
When I was not crashing senior citizen dance classes as a teenager, I was also spending almost all my free time playing the piano, as I had been doing since I was a young child. During my teens, I perfected my playing of the solo piano works of George Gershwin, which I enjoyed playing so much. I played "An American in Paris" a lot, but "Rhapsody in Blue" completely stole my heart too. I spent hour upon hour each day working on "Rhapsody in Blue" (the original piano solo arrangement by George Gershwin for advanced pianists). I was so incredibly dedicated to perfecting this piece. Family and friends of mine as a teen heard me work on this thirty-two page piece of sheet music all the time, until not only did I have it completely perfect, but also completely memorized from playing it so much. Even when I moved up to the Seattle area for college, I still knew it by heart, and so, even though I did not have the sheet music with me, I still was able to play it on various pianos I came across.
I was looking today for my audio recording I have on tape of me playing "Rhapsody in Blue" as a teen, to share with you, like yesterday I shared the recording I have of me playing Debussy when I was very, very young, many years before the Gershwin, as one last trip down musical memory lane before returning tomorrow to my present day adventures and beauty seen, but I didn’t find my tape recording of me playing Gershwin when I was looking today. So I looked online and found a version for solo piano that sounds identical to me playing it when I was a teen, except this version isn’t from a tape, with the fuzz that comes with tape recordings. So, you can click on this link below and close your eyes to hear exactly what it sounded like to sit in a room with me playing "Rhapsody in Blue" as a young teenager. This will definitely bring it back for my parents and others who heard me playing it so many times back in the day. This solo piano recording is like a time capsule of what the living room of our house sounded like when I was a teenager. I still need to find my own tape recording of me playing the piece, but, in the meantime, you can hear what I sounded like, playing this as a teen, by clicking this link: Rhapsody In Blue
And if you still have a further hankering for more Gershwin after that, you can also listen to the solo piano recording of "An American in Paris" (which I also learned and played as a teen), played by Gershwin himself here: An American In Paris
Both of these pieces forever have my heart. As does the incredible movie and musical, An American in Paris, pictured above in various scenes. It is such a VERY special film to me, and also so very, very beautiful…I love it so much...♥