As a 13-year old I sat spellbound watching Rhapsody in Blue, the 1945 semi-factual film biography of George Gershwin, starring Robert Alda, late one night on television. A few weeks later I took the week's proceeds from my newspaper delivery route to Rose Records in downtown Chicago, in search of a recording of Rhapsody in Blue. Out of several records with that selection, I chose the Leonard Berstein version, likely on the basis of its impressive cover art.
Over 48 years later, and having listened to a half-dozen other recordings of Rhapsody in Blue, my favorite remains the Bernstein edition. This version is a bit more symphonic (as opposed to bluesy) than the others. Bernstein appears to play some of the solo portions with a bit more delicacy than the other versions I have heard. He seems to approach the piece with respect that the is more like reverence.
The sound quality for this 1959 recording is surprisingly good. The CD includes an American in Paris, which was the flip side of the record, with the addition of the Concerto in F. The album's original liner notes are included, as well as an interesting note by Andre Kostelanetz.