Various Artists - Gershwin:An American In Paris (CD)

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Gershwin began work on An American in Paris in the spring of 1928 and it's première by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Walter Damrosch took place later that year on 13 th December in Carnegie Hall (three years earlier in the same venue Damrosch had conducted the first performance of Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F). In this hugely popular one-movement symphonic poem, whose colorful orchestration includes four saxophones and several taxi horns, the composer intended 'to portray the impressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere'. The melancholic blues theme announced by the solo trumpet, suggesting a sudden bout of homesickness on the part of the protagonist, is one of the finest Gershwin wrote. Following the première in Boston's Symphony Hall of his Second Rhapsody, conducted by Serge Koussevitsky on 29 th January 1932, Gershwin and several friends took a two-week holiday in Havana. The composer, fascinated by the small Cuban dance orchestras with their novel rhythms and unusual percussion instruments such as guiros, maracas, claves and bongos, was inspired to write the Cuban Overture. He orchestrated the work between 1 st and 9 th August 1932, completing it just a week before the first All-Gershwin Concert at the Lewisohn Stadium in New York, an open-air concert attended by some 18,000 people which was, according to the composer, 'the most exciting night I have ever had'. Cast in Gershwin's characteristic fast-slow-fast form, he wrote that he had 'endeavored to combine the Cuban rhythms with my original thematic material. The result is a symphonic overture which embodies the essence of Cuban dance'. Gershwin's magnum opus, the three-act opera Porgy and Bess, was written to a libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin. Based on Heyward's novel Porgy about life among the black inhabitants of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina, the opera was started in late February 1934 and the seven hundred page full score was completed in September 1935. Heyward memorably described the idiosyncratic working methods of the Gershwin brothers, who 'would get at the piano, pound, wrangle, swear, burst into weird snatches of song, and eventually emerge with a polished lyric'. It numbers amongst it's classic songs 'Summertime', 'I Loves You, Porgy' and 'It Ain't Necessarily So'. The orchestral suite heard on this recording, the Symphonic Picture from Porgy and Bess arranged by Robert Russell Bennett, has become the standard version since it's première in 1943, this despite the fact that Gershwin made his own arrangement in 1936. Evidently long forgotten about by the time Bennett made his arrangement, Gershwin's suite was retitled Catfish Row by Ira when it was rediscovered in 1958. The opera, a commercial and critical failure at the time, is now recognized as one of the greatest achievements of twentieth-century American music.

Product Details

21 May 2002
Various Artists
Audio CD
Performing Arts
  1. Gershwin In Hollywood
  2. An American In Paris
  3. Cuban Overture
  4. Porgy And Bess (Symphonic Picture)
Judd, James
Gershwin, George
Supply Source
South Africa

George Gershwin

Artist Photo
Real Name
Jacob Gershowitz
American composer, pianist and conductor, son of Jewish emigrants from Russia (born September 26, 1898, Brooklyn, New York, USA - died: July 11, 1937, Beverly Hills, California, USA).
Brother of Ira Gershwin.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Artist Photo
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is the country’s premier professional orchestra. It was founded in 1946, and administered by Radio New Zealand until 1989. It now functions as a government-owned Crown Entity. Current music director James Judd assumed the position in 1999, and has since brought the NZSO international exposure through appearances at the 2005 BBC Proms in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan, the 2003 Asia International Performing Arts Festival in Osaka, and the 2000 Summer Sydney Olympic Arts Festival.
  • Andrew Jarvis
  • Andrew Joyce
  • Andrew Kasza
  • Andrew Thomson
  • Anna Van Der Zee
  • Anne Loeser
  • Anne-Marie Meijers
  • Belinda Veitch
  • Bernard Shapiro
  • Bridget Douglas
  • Bruce McKinnon
  • Carolyn Souter-Mills
  • David Angus
  • David Bremner
  • David Chickering
  • David Gilling
  • Dean Major
  • Donald Armstrong
  • Elizabeth Patchett
  • Ellen Sherman
  • Elspeth Gray
  • Emma Barron
  • Gary Brain
  • Gerald Newson
  • Glenda Craven
  • Gregory Hill
  • Gregory Squire
  • Haihong Liu
  • Hamish McKeich
  • James Judd
  • Janet Armstrong
  • Jenaro Garita
  • Jonathan Prior
  • Katherine Rowe
  • Laszlo Heltay
  • Lucien Rizos
  • Lyndsay Mountfort
  • Malcolm Struthers
  • Matthew Cave
  • Nicholas Sandle
  • Oleksandr Gunchenko
  • Pamela Ping Jiang
  • Patrick Barry
  • Peter Barber
  • Philip Green
  • Phillip Rose
  • Pietari Inkinen
  • Rachel Vernon
  • Rebecca Struthers
  • Robert Ibell
  • Robert Orr
  • Roger Brown
  • Ronald Weatherburn
  • Rowan Prior
  • Simeon Broom
  • Thomas Guldborg
  • Ursula Evans
  • Valerie Rigg
  • Vesa-Matti Leppanen
  • Yury Gezentsvey

James Judd

Artist Photo
Real Name
James Judd
James Judd is a graduate of London’s Trinity College and has been the music director of the since 1999.