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Gershwin / K. & M. Labeque, Chailly, Maazel, Cleveland Orchestra [7-CD Collector's Edition]


Release Date: 04/19/2011 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001546202  
Composer:  George GershwinRobert Russell Bennett
Performer:  Katia LabèqueMarielle LabèqueRalph VotapekPeter Jablonski,   ... 
Conductor:  Riccardo ChaillyArthur FiedlerVladimir AshkenazyJohn Mauceri,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland OrchestraBoston PopsRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 7 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of the original recordings that make up this set:

Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Cuban Overture, Lullaby:
The selling-point of this record will presumably be the glamour of the Labeque sisters. But for me the highlight (in terms of composition as well as performance) is not Rhapsody in Blue but An American in Paris. I played this alongside the 1971 LSO/Previn LP recording (EMI EG290849-1, 7/86), a long-established favourite. In their controlled extroversion Previn and Chailly are broadly comparable, but the Clevelanders have a trump card in their gloriously ripe trumpet solo. The percussion, too, are a fraction more stylish and the brightly-lit recording captures their contributions with
Read more startling clarity.

The swing of the Cleveland Orchestra's rhythm is as idiomatic as the constraints of synchronization allow. It certainly feels more natural than the Labeques' in Rhapsody in Blue. Admittedly their rubato has become slightly less blatant than it was in their two-piano 'solo' recording (Philips 9500 917, 6/81; CD 400 022-2PH, 3/86); but it still misses the languour and loose-jointed ease of the real thing. Like the mechanical nightingale in Hans Christian Andersen, the attraction of the synthetic substitute is short-lived.

Taking their cue from the composer's recording, the Labeque sisters have added various ''additional decorations.... that would no doubt have delighted the composer''. I prefer to think that the performances of the comparatively unfamiliar Lullaby (which really cries out for lyrics), the Cuban Overture (full of panache) and An American in Paris, would have delighted him more. The recording gives as thrilling an impression of an orchestra as I recall hearing through my speakers.

-- Gramophone [2/1987]

Shall We Dance, Damsel in Distress,Goldwyn Follies:
"This Hollywood Bowl album is a celebration of what was to be George Gershwin's final year, a year of some two dozen vintage songs and a handful of standards. They emerge here like old friends from the pages of Robert Russell Bennett's Gershwin in Hollywood Overture, a jubilant and hazily nostalgic voyage of rediscovery through that fruitful (and fateful) year. Through a skirling mist of violins, he remembers that "Foggy day" in London town; a solo cello recalls how "Love walked in"; "Love is here to stay" and "They can't take that away from me" glide through sepia-toned orchestrations. Their colour and cast have been beautifully re-created here by what must now be the world's most glamorous pick-up band. The style, the opulence, the swing is totally inbred. It isn't a question of good imitation, of 'idiomatic'--it just is. Of course, the recording venue—the original MGM soundstage at Culver City—adds something: a very particular sound— fat, warm, tightly focused—instantly recognizable from the many movie soundtracks that originated there.

A number of the tracks here are premiere recordings. The songs—from Shall we dance, A damsel in distress, and The Goldwyn follies—use the original orchestrations; in the case of "I've got beginner's luck" and "Slap that bass" these were Johnny Green arrangements taken down by ear from Fred Astaire's commercial recordings on Brunswick. To sing them, Mauceri and his team have come up with two charismatic surrogates for Fred and Ginger. Gregory Hines and Patti Austin are hot present-day stars with a whiff of yesteryear and a real feeling for this repertoire. They bow in with a snatch of the dialogue leading us into "I've got beginner's luck" and Hines even does his own hoofing in a terrific tap-and-drum break in 'Slap that bass'.

-- Gramophone [5/1992]

Songs:
Somebody hit upon an unexpected and in the event very welcome follow-up to the Labéque sisters' dazzling LP of Gershwin's Piano Concerto and Rhapsody in Blue (Philips 9500 917, 6/81). Barbara Hendricks, whom I last met in Tredeci's uncommonly futile Final Alice (Decca digital SXDL75I6, 8/81), has not been much associated with music like this, although she was a fine Clara in Maazel's recording of Porgy and Bess (Decca SET609-1 1, 4/76). Her voice is beautiful, yet, intensely enjoyable though these performances are, she does not sing the songs quite as to the manner born; her interpretations often sound, in fact, rather studied, and although I do not unduly object to this, greater relaxation and apparent casualness would have been beneficial.

Gershwin's melodies are treated very freely, and it would be helpful to know which, if any, of the alterations, extensions, variations, etc. stem from the performers. Unfortunately, I have not seen the sleeve-note which accompanies this record, but I understand that the highly imaginative arrangements, which amount, as it were to elaborate commentaries on Gershwin's texts, were written by François Jeanneau, a quite well-known French jazz musician with several interesting LPs to his credit. Perhaps most of the luxuriant detail of these performances is of his invention. The keyboard parts, anyway, are played with exhilarating zest and at times it seems as if Miss Hendricks is afloat on a pianistic flood, even, in / got rhythm, a tidal wave. And everything is recorded with a razor-sharp clarity.

The stereo disposition, with the pianists one on each side and the singer in the middle, is obvious yet effective, as when the voice is inserted between the antiphonal exchanges which begin Our love is here to stay. On each piece a network is spun in which the vocal line is only one part, But not for me being a good example, and there are also adventurous keyboard interludes and in some cases mood-changing links between the songs. Much of the fun arises from the fact, also, that the accompaniments-a thoroughly inadequate word in the circumstances-are so different from the usual melody-hugging light music treatments, so disjunct and freely contrapuntal. Probably "Has anyone seen Joe?", from Blue Monday, Gershwin's first large-scale work (1922), receives the most elaborate treatment, although "1 loves you, Porgy" is perhaps the most beautiful, with the tender, withdrawn account of Embraceable you a close second. The chief melodic idea of the Blue Monday piece, incidentally, is also met with in Gershwin's Lullaby for string quartet.

-- M.H., Gramophone [12/1981]
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Works on This Recording

1.
An American in Paris by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; USA 
2.
Cuban Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 
3.
Lullaby by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; USA 
4.
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Katia Labèque (Piano), Marielle Labèque (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
5.
Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra no 2 "Rhapsody in Rivets" by George Gershwin
Performer:  Ralph Votapek (Piano)
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
6.
Girl Crazy: Suite by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
7.
Oh, Kay!: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
8.
Funny Face: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
9.
Let 'em Eat Cake: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; USA 
10.
Of Thee I Sing: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
11.
Of Thee I Sing: Wintergreen for President by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
12.
Preludes (3) for Piano by George Gershwin
Performer:  Peter Jablonski (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
13.
Concerto for Piano in F major by George Gershwin
Performer:  Peter Jablonski (Piano)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
14.
Goldwyn Follies: Love walked in by George Gershwin
Performer:  Patti Austin (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
15.
Goldwyn Follies: Love is here to stay by George Gershwin
Performer:  Patti Austin (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
16.
Shocking Miss Pilgrim: For you, for me, for evermore by George Gershwin
Performer:  Patti Austin (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
17.
Delicious: New York Rhapsody by George Gershwin
Performer:  Wayne Marshall (Piano)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
18.
Gershwin in Hollywood by Robert Russell Bennett
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
19.
Shall We Dance: Beginner's Luck by George Gershwin
Performer:  Patti Austin (Voice), Gregory Hines (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
20.
Shall We Dance: They all laughed by George Gershwin
Performer:  Patti Austin (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
21.
Shall We Dance: Let's call the whole thing off by George Gershwin
Performer:  Patti Austin (Voice), Gregory Hines (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
22.
Shall We Dance: Promenade "Walking the dog" by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
23.
Shall We Dance: Watch Your Step! by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
24.
Shall We Dance: Slap that bass by George Gershwin
Performer:  Gregory Hines (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
25.
Damsel in Distress: A foggy day by George Gershwin
Performer:  Gregory Hines (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
26.
Damsel in Distress: An American in London by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
27.
Damsel in Distress: Nice work if you can get it by George Gershwin
Performer:  Gregory Hines (Voice)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
28.
Variations on "I got rhythm" for Piano and Orchestra by George Gershwin
Performer:  David Parkhouse (Piano)
Conductor:  Bernard Herrmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Festival Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
29.
Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Antal Doráti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
30.
Lady, be Good: The man I love by George Gershwin
Performer:  Marielle Labèque (Piano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Language: English 
31.
Shall We Dance: They can't take that away from me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Katia Labèque (Piano), Marielle Labèque (Piano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
32.
Goldwyn Follies: Love is here to stay by George Gershwin
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Marielle Labèque (Piano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
33.
Girl Crazy: But not for me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Katia Labèque (Piano), Marielle Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
34.
Girl Crazy: Embraceable you by George Gershwin
Performer:  Marielle Labèque (Piano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Language: English 
35.
Damsel in Distress: Nice work if you can get it by George Gershwin
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Marielle Labèque (Piano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
36.
Girl Crazy: I got rhythm by George Gershwin
Performer:  Marielle Labèque (Piano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Language: English 
37.
Porgy and Bess: Summertime by George Gershwin
Performer:  Katia Labèque (Piano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Marielle Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Language: English 
38.
Blue Monday "135th Street Blues": Has anyone seen Joe? by George Gershwin
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Marielle Labèque (Piano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922/1925; USA 
Language: English 
39.
Porgy and Bess: I loves you, Porgy by George Gershwin
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Katia Labèque (Piano), Marielle Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
40.
Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
Performer:  Francois Clemmons (Tenor), Arthur Thompson (Baritone), Barbara Conrad (Alto),
Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Florence Quivar (Mezzo Soprano), McHenry Boatwright (Baritone),
Leona Mitchell (Soprano), Willard White (Baritone)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

Rhapsody in Blue - For 2 pianos & orchestra
Lullaby for string orchestra
An American in Paris
Cuban Overture
Rhapsody No.2 for Piano and Orchestra (New York Rhapsody)
Girl Crazy - Suite
Overture [Oh, Kay!]
Overture [Funny Face]
Let 'Em Eat Cake: Overture
Of Thee I Sing: Overture
Of thee I sing - Orch. Walter Paul: Wintergreen For President
3 Preludes for Piano Solo: 1. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso
3 Preludes for Piano Solo: 2. Andante con moto e poco rubato
3 Preludes for Piano Solo: 3. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso
Piano Concerto in F: 1. Allegro
Piano Concerto in F: 2. Adagio
Piano Concerto in F: 3. Allegro agitato

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