It might seem odd to pair this suave Gershwin classic with the rough-hewn music of William Russo, but the audio-tourism of An American in Paris is certainly a forerunner (along with Duke Ellington's Harlem) to Street Music. Russo's work, subtitled "A Blues Concerto", forms a sort of ethno-musical travelogue in which the tourist, guided by Corky Siegel's ubiquitous harmonica and piano, encounters disparate styles ranging from Greek to Asian to Deep South blues, all against a symphonic (and initially Brahmsian) backdrop. Actually, the briny timbre of Siegel's solos often clashes rudely with that of the other "street musicians", which creates a compelling sonic drama.
In contrast to the dovetailingRead more sections of Street Music, Three Pieces for Blues Band and Orchestra are self-contained entities. Russo's striking combination of blues band (harmonica, guitar, bass, and drums) and symphonic ensemble vividly recreates the sound world of those 1970s action movies starring Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson. Seiji Ozawa pulls off both pieces brilliantly by getting the San Francisco players to let loose and really get into the groove.
In this company it's striking just how European Gershwin's American in Paris sounds--the bluesy trumpet solo is about the only passage certifiably made in the USA. But never mind; Ozawa plays this busy, swinging music with great style and panache, reminding us once again just what an electrifying work this must have been when new. DG's remastered recordings sound newly minted and do an excellent job of balancing the soloists (even the electric guitar and bass) in realistic perspective with the orchestra.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Pieces (3) for Blues Band and Orchestra, Op. 50by William Russo Performer:
Corky Siegel (Harmonica),
Jim Schwall (Guitar),
Al Radford (Double Bass),
Corky Siegel (Electric Piano),
Shelly Plotkin (Drums)
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,
The Siegel-Schwall Band
Period: 20th Century Written: 1960; USA Length: 24 Minutes 17 Secs.
Street Music, Op. 65by William Russo Performer:
Corky Siegel (Piano),
Corky Siegel (Harmonica)
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1976; USA Length: 31 Minutes 18 Secs.
An American in Parisby George Gershwin Conductor:
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1928; USA Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs.
Street Music, Op.65 - A Blues Concerto: 1st Mvt
Street Music, Op.65 - A Blues Concerto: 2nd Mvt
Street Music, Op.65 - A Blues Concerto: 3rd Mvt
Street Music, Op.65 - A Blues Concerto: 4th Mvt
Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra, op.50: 1. 1st Part
Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra, op.50: 2. 2nd Part
Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra, op.50: 3. 3rd Part
An American In Paris
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Chicago Rules!April 17, 2012By Carole McMahon (Evanston, IL)See All My Reviews"I have always wanted a copy of this recording, having heard it only once on the radio! The music feels so Chicago, with its sounds of L-trains, cars, trucks and construction noise."Report Abuse
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