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George Gershwin

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

May 12

How will I ever find this record again?

Norman Lebrecht - Slipped discFrom the Lebrecht Album of the Week: …This is what makes Shai Wosner’s new release so frustrating. A fabulous pianist, incapable of touching an ugly note, Wosner interleaves miniatures of Schubert with matching — at times, surprising — snips by Dvorak, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Gershwin and Charles Ives. I enjoyed the record first time round. I revelled in the connections, especially Ives, on second hearing. But now I am poleaxed by the question of where to put this record once it leaves my desk. Seriously, it’s a problem. How will I ever find ‘Impromptu’ again when I need it to compare with some other release? If you have a solution, do let me know…. Full review here. And here. And here.

Tribuna musical

May 16

Damrau and Testé: high point of the singing year

Last week´s Buenos Aires Philharmonic´s concert was outside the norm, for symphonic repertoire was left aside and the orchestra, under our seasoned operatic conductor Mario Perusso, accompanied the brilliant debut of German soprano Diana Damrau and her husband, French bass baritone Nicolas Testé. She has a splendid twenty-year career and is a rarity: a soprano of enormous range (strong lows, stratospheric perfect highs), histrionic at all times, equally convincing in drama and comedy. She was imaginative as Rossini´s Rosina, florid and light in Meyerbeer (so rarely heard here), dramatic as Gounod´s Juliet, heart-rending in Bellini´s mad scene from "I Puritani". Testé was a surprise for many; not as famous as his wife, he is certainly one the best bass baritones nowadays, with a firm beautiful voice capable of fine shading but also of stark drama: from the cunning of Basilio´s "La Calunnia" (Rossini), to the comic bravado of "Pif, paf" (Meyerbeer´s "The huguenots"), the noble line from the French version of Verdi´s "Don Carlos"(clumsily not announced), the intense aria from Antonio Gomes´ interesting "Salvator Rosa" and the sinister Alvise in Ponchielli´s "La Gioconda". As contained as his wife is adrenalic, nevertheless the two combined admirably in the closing "Bess, you is my woman now" (Gershwin). In the encores, Puccini arias from both and a lovely duet from Bernstein´s "West Side Story". Perusso and the orchestra shone in orchestral pieces of Rossini, Gounod, Saint-Saëns and Bernstein. For Buenos Aires Herald






My Classical Notes

March 16

Richter Plays Gershwin

I was quite surprised today when I learned that the late pianist Sviatoslav Richter had recorded music by George Gershwin. Yet, as I contemplated further, I recalled that Maurice Ravel was influenced by the music of Gershwin, as we can see in Ravel’s Piano Concerto. So… not all that strange after all. Here are details about the Richter recording: Svjatoslav Richter Plays: Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, Op. 103 ‘Egyptian’ Performed by Svjatoslav Richter (piano), with the Stuttgart SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach conducting. This recording apparently has already achieved cult status. The then, 78 year old Sviatoslav Richter plays for the first and last time in public Gershwin’s jazzy Concerto in F-sharp. Gershwin’s works had always been suspect under the Soviet regime. All the more surprising was Richter’s decision to perform this work in his maturity. Needless to say, Richter never made a formal, studio recording of this work. It is not only a unique recording, but also a document of Richter’s expansive interest in all musical repertoires than came under his purview. The Fifth Piano Concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns was eclipsed by the same composer’s more popular “Second” Concerto throughout Richter’s performing career. With the exception of one album, he never again recorded this work and there is no record that he ever again performed it internationally. Here is a recording of the Gershwin concerto in F:

George Gershwin
(1898 – 1937)

George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935). He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.



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