Following Rhapsody in Blue and its instantaneous success in February 1924, Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Symphony Society, commissioned Gershwin to write a true Concerto for piano and orchestra. It was a supreme test, but the Concerto in F resulted and was performed for the first time with Gershwin as a soloist under Damrosch with the New York Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall December 3, 1925. In the opinion of this chronicler, it is his greatest work.
Gershwin, for the first time in his life, came to grips with a severe musical form, a form known to the masters and assiduously avoided by many of them. He was confronted with the problems of symphonic orchestration and instrumental balance per se and with the solo piano. He was obliged to bring to this formidable structure a musical idiom hitherto never attempted – and he succeeded on all accounts resulting in a work which today, after repeated hearings, has lost none of its greatness, freshness or brilliance. Frank Campbell-Watson
III Allegro agitato