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Rhap In Blue/Latin American

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Product Details

1. Rhapsody in Blue
2. An American In Paris
3. Porgy And Bess - A Symphonic Picture
4. Rhumba
5. Tango
6. Guaracha
7. Conga

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Gershwin with authentic style, outstanding players and fine sound! March 10 2011
By Steven A. Reading - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These recordings have been reissued by EMI from old Capitol library many times on cd now.
Felix Slatkin, a highly under-rated conductor of this lighter repertoire, and the excellent Capitol engineering
give these performances a zip and zest which puts most "modern" sloppy-romanticized versions to shame. Oh, I forgot
that he's conducting an orchestra (mostly the 20th Century Fox Studio aka "Concert Arts" or "Hollywood Bowl") of
some of the finest Los Angeles studio players in the glorious 50s and 60s. They've got style! This is my
favorite "American in Paris" and the "Porgy and Bess" has wonderful solo and ensemble work. Fritz Reiner
commissioned R.R. Bennett to write this suite. Felix Slatkin studied with Reiner in his years at Curtis, so there is an authentic "thread" to the interpretation. Slatkin always takes this light music as serious art, and everything has vivid character. These never sounded so well on the old LPs, but the cd sound is remarkable and immediate. They were recorded at the Goldwyn Studio soundstage. This Gershwin recording, and the Kostalanetz one listed below can never be duplicated. They stand unique. These musicians had this stuff in their blood!

Although the Slatkin/Pennario "Rhapsody in Blue" is very good, I would make every effort to find the similarly aged Kostalanetz/Previn version with the "Concerto in F" on Sony/Columbia. This is Previn the jazz pianist, not the later "serious" classical one. Many of the same players provide the most satisfying versions of these works I ever hope to hear, also in glorious sound. Recorded at the Hollywood Legion Hall, sight of many legendary Stravinsky and Bruno Walter sessions, with Ira Gershwin in attendance, it would definitely be on my desert island list...just listen to Uan Rasey's trumpet solo in the slow movement of the "Concerto"...pure heaven!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
With Bernstein, Thomas, Previn, and others, this is still competitive April 23 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Things begin with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (1924), orchestrated by Ferde Grofe, a performance fluid, suave, polished, and certainly not lacking in energy. The reading comes off as a cross between a full orchestral treatment and smaller, jazz-band arrangement (Gershwin having originally composed it for Paul Whiteman's "symphonic" jazz orchestra). So expect a few jazzy flourishes along the way. Although Pennario doesn't seem entirely attuned to the soul of jazz, he acquits himself well enough.

Next is Gershwin's An American in Paris (1928), orchestrated by Gershwin himself. It is, of course, a descriptive tone poem portraying an American visitor to Paris in the Twenties strolling about and taking in the sights and sounds of the city. Perhaps because of the more colorful nature of the score, I found Slatkin's interpretation a bit more persuasive than in the Rhapsody.

The sound is a tad bright and forward in the upper midrange, with a big, thumping bass. It makes for an impressive effect, if not always too realistic, being a little too thin in the middle frequencies and upper bass, with a somewhat hard-edged response overall. Still, quite clear and clean.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor