Some Parisian taxi horns were blowing on December 13, 1928 in New York! It was in the Carnegie Hall premiere of George Gershwin’s symphonic tone poem “An American in Paris”.
Gershwin completed the orchestration on November 18, less than four weeks before the work’s premiere! He composed An American in Paris on commission from the New York Philharmonic. He scored the piece for the standard instruments of the symphonic orchestra plus celesta, saxophones, and automobile horns. That explains the Parisian taxi horns in premiere!
Gershwin on the original program notes, noting that: “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere.” And when the tone poem moves into the blues, he explains “our American friend … has succumbed to a spasm of homesickness.” But, “nostalgia is not a fatal disease.” The American visitor “once again is an alert spectator of Parisian life” and “the street noises and French atmosphere are triumphant.”
Gershwin based An American in Paris on a melodic piece called “Very Parisienne”, written in 1926 on his first visit to Paris as a gift to his hosts, Robert and Mabel Schirmer. Gershwin explained in Musical America, “My purpose here is to portray the impressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere.”
In 1951, MGM released the musical An American in Paris, featuring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Winning the 1951 Best Picture Oscar and numerous other awards, the film was directed by Vincente Minnelli.
A part of the symphonic composition is also featured in the film starring Jack Nicholson As Good as It Gets, released in 1997.
Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!
KO for eCharta