To the poets of the early 19th century, a rhapsody was defined as “an extravagant unrestrained expression of sentiment or feeling.”
However, it soon came to mean a one-movement, free-flowing musical work, with contrasting moods that gave the feeling of improvisation. As a result, like snowflakes, you won’t find two exactly alike.
But many of these works do share one thing in common, and in this hour we’ll explore how the rhapsody has been used to celebrate a particular nation or culture. And we’ll do so with the help of Liszt, Holst, Ravel, Gershwin—and more.