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Great Perf: Gershwin


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1. Concerto in F
2. Rhapsody in Blue
3. An American in Paris
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Andante con moto
6. III. Allegro agitato

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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The Long-Awaited Reissue of the definitive Rhapsody plus.... May 4 2007
By Louie Bourland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I first bought George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" conducted and played by Leonard Bernstein on cassette in 1989, I was simply blown away by its excellence and power musically. This was the original Great Performances release with the 'newspaper' style artwork which had "An American in Paris" on its B-side and I had been wanting it on CD ever since.

I'm very happy to have waited because the recent Great Performances reissue with the original front cover artwork and liner notes presents both "Rhapsody In Blue" and "An American In Paris" in their greatest quality yet both soundwise and musicwise. Bernstein's piano work as well as his conducting in the "Rhapsody" prove without a shadow of a doubt why this rendition should be considered the definitive one. "An American In Paris" is represented in such a way that it becomes almost a Bernstein piece as much as it is Gershwin's.

As a special bonus, Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F is included. Unlike the previous two pieces, Leonard Bernstein is not the conductor nor the pianist here. The orchestra is conducted by Andre Kostelanetz while the piano part is played by the great Andre Previn. This performance of the Gershwin Concerto is also definitive with stellar delivery from both Previn and Kostelanetz. The fusion of tradition classical music with modern jazz rhythms is stunning and compelling. While other composers such as Copland, Ravel, Stravinsky and Shostakovich also experimented in combining Classical style with Jazz, Gershwin was entirely in a league of his own with this Concerto as the two styles compliment each other effortlessly without one overshadowing the other.

With this said, this CD of these three Gershwin classics is definitely a must. The music as well as the performances themselves are flawless and are the best that one can possibly get.

If you're looking for indespensible and definitive versions of Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue", "An American in Paris" and "Concerto in F", look no further than this CD. It's truly amazing.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Bernstein plays the Rhapsody with delicacy and reverence Dec 23 2007
By Thomas Erwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is the definitive Rhapsody Feb. 14 2008
By T. Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It may be subjective for me to say this is the definitive Rhapsody in Blue. After all, this is the LP I grew up listening to it on. This is the LP I made a cassette from and used to listen to in the car or on my Walkman in college. But I've heard a LOT of Rhapsodies since then, and none of them quite measures up. The phrasing, the cadence, the sustain and pauses on the piano notes -- they are all spot on here. This is simply the one best recording I've found. Even other Bernstein performances don't capture the piece quite as well as it is found here. I'm really, really glad this is finally on CD now.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Companion To The Classic Movie Aug. 26 2009
By Los Gatos Engineer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I recently purchased the Blu-ray of "An American In Paris" and really appreciated all of the great Gershwin music in it. The disc is a great compilation of the classic pieces used in the movie. The sound recording quality is excellent and is an excellent disc to listen to either in a home audio system or in your car. In fact, it is one of my favorite commute pieces as it seems to make the traffic more tolerable. The "Concerto in F" constantly makes me think of Oscar Levant's fantastic piano playing in the movie.

The playing in the CD is no less quality and of particular note are the contributions by André Previn and Uan Rasey. Mr. Rasey was the lead trumpet player in the MGM Orchestra. He performed the solo when Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly were dancing around the fountain in the blues section of the ballet sequence. There is a nice interview of him in the Blu-ray edition of the movie. These two people are key components in the classic MGM musicals and their talents are demonstrated here.

Leonard Bernstein never gave a bad performance and this CD certainly proves it. To anyone who enjoy the works of George and Ira Gershwin and the great MGM movie, this is a must own recording.

Highly recommended for all great music lovers looking for a great performce of American standards in music.
Don't forget the Grofé in the Gershwin Sept. 15 2014
By RecAcoustic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I believe the orchestrated version of Rhapsody in Blue is some of the most beautiful American classical music of the 20th century.

While most lay people seem to give Gershwin all of the credit for being the genius behind this work (obviously, he was!) I think it's a terrible shame that his 'silent partner', Ferde Grofé, isn't given more credit for his orchestration. After all, Gershwin himself gives Grofé much of credit for the piece's success

Read more at Wikipedia:

Gershwin had agreed that Ferde Grofé, Whiteman's pianist and chief arranger, was the key figure in enabling the piece to be successful, and critics have praised the orchestral color. Grofé confirmed in 1938 that Gershwin did not have sufficient knowledge of orchestration in 1924.[17] After the premiere, Grofé took the score and made new orchestrations in 1926 and 1942, each time for larger orchestras.[18] Up until 1976, when Michael Tilson Thomas recorded the original jazz band version for the very first time, the 1942 version was the arrangement usually performed and recorded.


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