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Symphonic Jazz - Grofe And Gershwin - Original Paul Whiteman Orchestra Versions

Release Date: 10/24/2006 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9212   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ferde GroféGeorge Gershwin
Performer:  Lincoln MayorgaAl Galladoro
Conductor:  Steven Richman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonie Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ferde Grofé's arrangements for Paul Whiteman's band constitute a treasure-trove of early- to mid-20th century Americana. Usually we only get to hear his epoch-making original arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, but here we are treated to the rarely-performed Second Rhapsody, as well as Grofé's own Grand Canyon and Mississippi Suites. The results are both delightful and ear-opening. In this arrangement the Second Rhapsody sounds remarkably light and sassy, and notably less "cinematic" than in its original form (the music began life as a film score). Oddly enough, the small ensemble's smoother dynamic profile gives the piece greater coherence and flow, aided by Lincoln
Read more Mayorga's elegant playing and Steven Richman's idiomatic and alert conducting.

The same observations hold true for the Grofé works. If the final "Cloudburst" from the Grand Canyon Suite isn't as obviously overwhelming as it can be when played by a full orchestra, movements such as "On the Trail" gain in terms of sheer charm. Throwing the balance of tone onto the winds and brass rather than the strings produces a far less heavy texture overall, and the music sounds somehow more modern, less dated. It's also great to have the chance to hear the Mississippi Suite once again. It's really a fine piece of descriptive work and it deserves to be popular.

As a bonus, we have Gallodoro's Serenade, a characterful bon-bon offered by Mayorga and the piece's dedicatee, Al Gallodoro himself, something of a living legend. He played clarinet and saxophone in Whiteman's band for several decades and is still going strong well into his 90s. Bridge's sonics are typically terrific, while Richman and the Harmonie Ensemble deserve lots of credit for digging up these arrangements and bringing them back to life with such gusto and polish. More titles are promised, and we can only look forward to them with enthusiasm. [11/8/2006]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Mississippi Suite by Ferde Grofé
Conductor:  Steven Richman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonie Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra no 2 "Rhapsody in Rivets" by George Gershwin
Performer:  Lincoln Mayorga (Piano)
Conductor:  Steven Richman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonie Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Notes: Arranger: Ferde Grofé. 
Gallodoro's Serenade by Ferde Grofé
Performer:  Lincoln Mayorga (Piano), Al Galladoro (Alto Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé
Conductor:  Steven Richman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonie Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 

Featured Sound Samples

Mississippi Suite (Grofé): III. Old Creole Days
Grand Canyon Suite (Grofé): V. Cloudburst

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