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Simon Rattle Edition - American Music

Rattle,Simon
Release Date: 09/16/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 15014   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John AdamsGeorge GershwinElliott CarterLeonard Bernstein,   ... 
Performer:  Jonathan HollandWesley WarrenWayne MarshallAudra McDonald,   ... 
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraBirmingham Contemporary Music GroupLondon Sinfonietta,   ... 
Number of Discs: 7 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 8 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This one will appeal.

EMI is Rattling, a process by which the company encloses a corpus of his recordings in handy boxes at tempting prices. This one will appeal. Despite all the carping about his custodianship of the central Austro-German repertoire I don’t think there are many complaints about his idiomatic handling of American music; or if there are they tend to be peripheral and not systemic. I’ve always found him impressive here.


These are all well known performances so my brief will be to highlight things I especially liked, liked re-acquainting myself with, or perhaps found less successful. We’ll take it disc by disc.


Rattle’s Ellington (and Billy Strayhorn) album takes
Read more Luther Henderson arrangements laced with some outstanding jazz soloists. Sometimes these arrangements are rather utilitarian – Take the ‘A’ Train has the soloists topped and tailed by the CBSO. And then again sometimes they are overblown, as in Sophisticated Lady. Lena Horne, frail but personable, laid down her contributions in New York – her You’re the One is touching, still, for all that. Henderson orchestrated Harlem for Ellington back in 1950. It’s a work that has always struck me as over-extended. Still the performance is good within its bounds. Bobby Watson takes on Johnny Hodges in Isfahan. Gerri Allen shows her chops in Ad Lib on Nippon – less percussive than Duke but subtle. It Don’t Mean a Thing (or, as here, That Doo-wah Thing) is an exercise here in fatuous Cop show soundtrackery. Regina Carter, strangely weak, appears on Come Sunday. Henderson infiltrates some Delian harmonies into the arrangement of Solitude (or Solitude in Transbluecency). Clark Terry is on hand for some sassy muggles on Things Ain’t – praise be to Clark.


The disc devoted to John Adams, with whom Rattle was strongly identified for a while, is a powerfully enticing one, though not without organisational blemish. Naturally there are the hot shot favourites - Chairman, Tromba, Short Ride – but these are balanced by the Harmonielehre in a performance of revelatory strength. Rattle and the CBSO are especially compelling in its second movement in which the element of nocturnal darkening and twisting is brought out with exceptional cogency. The rest of the disc is a hodge podge. A bit of Ives, the opening five minutes of Rhapsody in Blue, the Mambo from West Side Story and some Carter. It’s unsatisfactory and, actually, just a bit pointless.


As much as Adams, Rattle has managed to get close to the Bernstein muse. His Wonderful Town performance dominates disc two, with its all-star cast and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group on hand to deliver the goods. Maybe there’s just too much of a regimented feel to the orchestra’s swing for sheer liberative pleasure but the overall results are strongly in favour of the ensemble performance. Kim Criswell is, to use that word again, sassy ( One hundred easy ways to lose a man) and Thomas Hampson as Baker proves formidably conversant with the modus operandus. His A quiet girl is warmly and softly done, with no hint of the histrionically operatic – he has a demotic honesty in his delivery. Crowd scenes are well judged spatially – try Act II’s Swing! scene early on. The chorus sings well into the bargain. And as a curtain closer we have Michael Collins in Prelude, Fugue and Riffs – not as swing out sister as Americans do it, but engaging.


Gershwin looms large. Rhapsody in Blue is heard complete in Peter Donohoe’s performance in the Grofé orchestration. He plays with drama, not too much metrical freedom but considerable incision. He follows this with a peppy selection from the Songbook, brief and pungent. The last, I Got Rhythm, reminds us of the celebrated film of Gershwin playing it. There’s a fair amount of excitement in the Concerto in F which Donohoe recorded four years after the Rhapsody. The bonne bouche of Harvey and the Wallbangers (from Rattle’s The Jazz Album, as was the Rhapsody) had a certain amount of cringe quality back when the record was first released, I seem to remember, but I do quite like the playing of the London Sinfonietta in this elemental triptych.


And it’s to Gershwin that the rest of the box is devoted – three discs of the classic Glyndebourne Porgy and Bess. The recording was made in Abbey Road and the cast had honed its performance to a requisitely high standard. There is atmosphere her a-plenty, a fine approach to and appreciation of the essential swing in Gershwin’s writing as well as to those moments of opulent string gloss. The brass section is on the money as well. The cast meanwhile proves wholly splendid, with White, Haymon and Blackwell a trio of unimpeachable quality and the run-down of singers shows that there are no weak chains anywhere, simply strength in depth – amongst whom it would be invidious to omit Damon Evans’s Sportin’ Life.


The booklet gives cast lists and essential information – synopses and a brief essay on Rattle and ‘Americana’. I’d go for this one – if, that is, you lack Rattle’s Porgy, which takes up three sevenths of the box.


-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Harmonielehre by John Adams
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 40 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2.
The Chairman Dances by John Adams
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 47 Secs. 
3.
Fanfares (2) for Orchestra: Tromba Lontana by John Adams
Performer:  Jonathan Holland (Trumpet), Wesley Warren (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
4.
Fanfares (2) for Orchestra: Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
5.
Rhapsody in Blue: Introduction by George Gershwin
Performer:  Wayne Marshall (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
6.
Celebration of some 100 x 150 notes by Elliott Carter
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
7.
West Side Story: Symphonic Dances - Mambo by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
8.
Wonderful Town by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Audra McDonald (Voice), Karl Daymond (Voice), Lynton Atkinson (Voice),
Michael Dore (Voice), Melanie Marshall (Voice), Kim Criswell (Voice),
Simone Sauphanor (Voice), Timothy Robinson (Voice), Kimberly Cobb (Voice),
Robert Fardell (Voice), Brent Barrett (Voice), Rodney Gilfrey (Voice),
Thomas Hampson (Voice)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 58 Minutes 2 Secs. 
9.
Prelude, Fugue and Riffs by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Michael Collins (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949/1955; USA 
Venue:  CTS Studio, Wembley, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 46 Secs. 
10.
You're the One, song by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Joe Lovano (), Clark Terry (Trumpet), John Barclay (Trumpet),
Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), Richard Sampson (Oboe), Colin Parr (Clarinet),
Geri Allen (Piano), Joshua Redman (), Lena Horne (Voice),
Lewis Nash (Drums), Regina Carter (Violin), Bobby Watson ()
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
11.
Sophisticated Lady, musical: [Excerpt] by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Colin Parr (Clarinet), Richard Sampson (Oboe), John Barclay (Trumpet),
Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), Clark Terry (Trumpet), Lena Horne (Voice),
Lewis Nash (Drums), Geri Allen (Piano), Regina Carter (Violin),
Bobby Watson (), Joe Lovano (), Joshua Redman ()
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
12.
Isfahan by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), Richard Sampson (Oboe), Colin Parr (Clarinet),
Joe Lovano (), Geri Allen (Piano), Bobby Watson (),
Regina Carter (Violin), Lewis Nash (Drums), Lena Horne (Voice),
John Barclay (Trumpet), Joshua Redman (), Clark Terry (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
13.
Ad lib on Nippon by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Bobby Watson (), Regina Carter (Violin), Lewis Nash (Drums),
Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (), Joe Lovano (),
Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet), Richard Sampson (Oboe),
Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), John Barclay (Trumpet), Clark Terry (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 56 Secs. 
14.
That Doo-wah Thing (after Ellington & Mills: It Don't Mean a Thing) by Luther Henderson
Performer:  Bobby Watson (), Regina Carter (Violin), Lewis Nash (Drums),
Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (), Joe Lovano (),
Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet), Richard Sampson (Oboe),
Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), John Barclay (Trumpet), Clark Terry (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 7 Secs. 
15.
Something to Live For, song by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Bobby Watson (), Regina Carter (Violin), Lewis Nash (Drums),
Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (), Joe Lovano (),
Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet), Richard Sampson (Oboe),
Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), John Barclay (Trumpet), Clark Terry (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
16.
Black, Brown and Beige Suite: Come Sunday by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Lewis Nash (Drums), Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (),
Joe Lovano (), Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet),
Richard Sampson (Oboe), Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), John Barclay (Trumpet),
Clark Terry (Trumpet), Regina Carter (Violin), Bobby Watson ()
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; New York, USA 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
17.
Solitude by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Lewis Nash (Drums), Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (),
Joe Lovano (), Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet),
Richard Sampson (Oboe), Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), John Barclay (Trumpet),
Clark Terry (Trumpet), Regina Carter (Violin), Bobby Watson ()
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
18.
Maybe Someday, song by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  Lewis Nash (Drums), Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (),
Joe Lovano (), Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet),
Richard Sampson (Oboe), Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), Regina Carter (Violin),
John Barclay (Trumpet), Clark Terry (Trumpet), Bobby Watson ()
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
19.
Things ain't what they used to be by Mercer Ellington
Performer:  Lewis Nash (Drums), Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (),
Joe Lovano (), Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet),
Richard Sampson (Oboe), Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), John Barclay (Trumpet),
Clark Terry (Trumpet), Regina Carter (Violin), Bobby Watson ()
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
20.
Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
Performer:  Camellia Johnson (), Colenton Freeman (), Cynthia Haymon (Voice),
Autris Paige (Voice), William Johnson (Voice), Linda Thompson (Voice),
Blair Wilson (Voice), Rev. Curtis Watson (Voice), Cynthia Clarey (Voice),
Camellia Johnson (Voice), Maureen Braithwaite (Voice), Maureen Braithwaite (),
Johnny Worthy (Voice), Ron Travis (Voice), Marietta Simpson (Voice),
Mervin Wallace (Voice), Billy J. Mitchell (Voice), Paula Ingram (Voice),
Michael Forest (Voice), Willard [Bass Vocal] White (Voice), Jim Malary (),
Harolyn [Soprano Vocals] Blackwell (Voice), Bruce Hubbard (Voice), Barrington Coleman (Voice),
Gregg Baker (Voice), Ritchie Pitts (), Colenton Freeman (Voice),
Alan Tilvern (Voice), Hyacinth Nicholls (Voice), Hyacinth Nicholls (),
Anne Fridal (Voice), Coleman Barrington (Voice), Damon Evans (Voice),
Ted Maynard (Voice), Raemond Martin (Voice), Wayne Marshall (Voice)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 70 Minutes 1 Secs. 
21.
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/30/1986 
Venue:  CTS Studio, Wembley, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 11 Secs. 
22.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano by George Gershwin
Performer:  Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England 
Length: 15 Minutes 10 Secs. 
23.
Concerto for Piano in F major by George Gershwin
Performer:  Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Venue:  Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, U 
Length: 31 Minutes 18 Secs. 
24.
After You've Gone, song by Henry Creamer
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  Harvey & The Wallbangers
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  CTS Studio, Wembley, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
25.
Nobody's Sweetheart by Ernie Erdman / Billy Meye
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  Harvey & The Wallbangers
Period: Modern 
Written: 1923 
Venue:  CTS Studio, Wembley, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
26.
Sweet Sue (Just You) by Victor Young
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  Harvey & The Wallbangers
Period: Modern 
Written: 1928 
Venue:  CTS Studio, Wembley, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
27.
Holidays: Decoration Day by Charles Ives
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; USA 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
28.
Harlem (A Tone Parallel to Harlem), for orchestra by Edward "Duke" Ellington
Performer:  John Barclay (Trumpet), Andrew Barnell (Bassoon), Richard Sampson (Oboe),
Bobby Watson (), Regina Carter (Violin), Lewis Nash (Drums),
Lena Horne (Voice), Joshua Redman (), Joe Lovano (),
Geri Allen (Piano), Colin Parr (Clarinet), Clark Terry (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Period: Modern 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 14 Minutes 12 Secs. 
29.
Take the 'A' Train by Billy Strayhorn
Performer:  John Barclay (Trumpet), Richard Sampson (Oboe), Geri Allen (Piano),
Joe Lovano (), Colin Parr (Clarinet), Joshua Redman (),
Lena Horne (Voice), Lewis Nash (Drums), Regina Carter (Violin),
Bobby Watson (), Clark Terry (Trumpet), Andrew Barnell (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Period: Modern 
Written: 1941; United States of Ame 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 9 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Harmonielehre: Part I
Harmonielehre: Part II - The Anfortas Wound
Harmonielehre: Part III - Meister Eckhardt and Quackie
The Chairman Dances - Foxtrot for orchestra
Tromba lontana
Short Ride in a Fast Machine - Fanfare for orchestra: Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine - Fanfare for orchestra
Holidays: Decoration Day (1912) (conclusion)
Rhapsody in Blue (jazzband version): Opening
Three Occasions for Orchestra: A Celebration of some 100 x 150 notes
West Side Story - Symphonic Dances: Mambo
Wonderful Town: Overture
Wonderful Town: Christopher Street (Guide/Tourists/Villagers/Violet)
Wonderful Town: Ohio (Ruth/Eileen)
Wonderful Town: Conquering New York (Ruth/Chorus)
Wonderful Town: One Hundred Easy Ways To Lose a Man (Ruth)
Wonderful Town: What a waste (Baker/Ruth/First Editor/Second Editor) (Baker/Ruth/First Editor/Second Editor): Wonderful Town: What a waste (Baker/Ruth/First Editor/Second Editor)
Wonderful Town: A Little Bit in Love (Eileen)
Wonderful Town: Pass the Football (Wreck)
Wonderful Town: Conversation Piece (Eileen/Frank/Ruth/Chick)
Wonderful Town: A Quiet Girl (Baker/Men's chorus)
Wonderful Town: Conga! (Cadet/Ruth/Cadets)
Wonderful Town: Entr'acte
Wonderful Town: My Darlin' Eileen (Solo cop [Lonigan]/Men's chorus/First Cop/Second Cop/Third Cop/Eileen)
Wonderful Town: Swing! (Villager/Ruth/Chorus/First Man/Second Man/First Girl/Second Girl)
Wonderful Town: Quiet Incidental (Eileen/Ruth)
Wonderful Town: Ohio Reprise (Eileen/Ruth)
Wonderful Town: It's Love (Eileen/Baker/Chorus)
Wonderful Town: Ballet at the Village Vortex
Wonderful Town: The Wrong Note Rag (Ruth/Eileen/Chorus)
Wonderful Town: It's Love Reprise - Finale Act Two (Eileen/Baker/Ruth/Chorus)
Prelude, Fugue and Riffs

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