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Gershwin: Songs From The Shows; Overtures

Gershwin: Songs From The Shows / Various
Release Date: 05/04/2010 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 6689   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John McGlinnGeorge Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gershwin as he was meant to sound, performed by artists wo love him. As close as you’ll ever get to being on Broadway in the 1920s.

John McGlinn devoted his rather short life to resurrecting the authentic of the classic American musical. This meant searching for the original performing materials for the Preludes and Overtures to these shows, the original accompaniments to the songs and the performance practices that would put the music together in the way it would have been heard when first performed. Among the many discs he made were several of music by Gershwin, more than one with Kiri Te Kanawa. The disc we have here is a compilation of recordings from 1986, consisting of both orchestral and vocal pieces.
Read more /> The first half of this recording consists mostly of preludes and overtures to Gershwin’s Broadway shows. With the original orchestrations and tempi in place they demonstrate why Gershwin was a great composer - his “Classical” music has all the directness of his show music while that same show music has an integration and cleverness far beyond the usual. This is especially evident in the four selections from the late score to the film “A Damsel in Distress”. The suite from this film contains an amazing variety of types of tunes, manipulated as only Gershwin could. “Stiff upper lip” is a funhouse sequence from the same film and is full of imagination with amazing references, even to Loony Tunes. Of equal interest is the Prelude to “Of Thee I Sing”, one of the composer’s political satires. This has a more than usually serious tone and one could half-mistake it for an opera.

John McGlinn applied the same assiduousness to researching authentic performance practice for the Gershwin songs. In a way this is even more important because the songs have been heard in so many variants - basically as many as there have been people to sing them [ see review]. In presenting these versions he is ably assisted by Kiri Te Kanawa, whose love for this musical genre is well-known. To return to “A Damsel in Distress” we have two songs of great sophistication (“Things are Looking Up” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It). Dame Kiri is fully up to bringing out that sophistication. “Love Walked In” from the film “The Goldwyn Follies” is also consummately sung, although I was a little disappointed with her version of “Love Is Here To Stay“. Inevitably “I Got Rhythm” appeared, but Dame Kiri sings it straightforwardly, not strident, not boring.

The sound on this disc is early digital, but while somewhat shrill it’s amazing how well it lets the individual instruments come through. Dame Kiri sounds occasionally distant, but this is a small price to pay for the quality of her singing. The disc is a tribute to John McGlinn’s energy and ability. Since he died only last year (at the age of 55) it could also be considered a memorial. But there is nothing at all doleful about this music-making.

This is Gershwin as he was meant to sound, performed by artists who love him. As close as you’ll ever get to being on Broadway in the 1920s.



-- William Kreindler, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
A Damsel in Distress, suite for orchestra by John McGlinn
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 5 Minutes 57 Secs. 
2.
Girl Crazy: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
3.
Of Thee I Sing: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 5 Minutes 1 Secs. 
4.
Tip-toes: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; New York, USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5.
Primrose: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
6.
Damsel in Distress: Stiff upper lip by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 8 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
Oh, Kay!: Overture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 6 Minutes 44 Secs. 
8.
George White's Scandals of 1924: Somebody loves me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
9.
Primrose: Boy wanted by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
10.
Damsel in Distress: Things are looking up by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
11.
Goldwyn Follies: Love walked in by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
12.
Goldwyn Follies: Love is here to stay by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
13.
Oh, Kay!: Someone to watch over me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
14.
Girl Crazy: But not for me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
15.
Porgy and Bess: Summertime by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
16.
Damsel in Distress: Nice work if you can get it by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
17.
Show is on: By Strauss by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
18.
Girl Crazy: Embraceable you by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 
19.
Girl Crazy: I got rhythm by George Gershwin
Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ()
Conductor:  John McGlinn
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Venue:  RCA Studios, New York 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 

Sound Samples

A Damsel in Distress - Music from the film
Girl Crazy: Overture: Girl Crazy
Of Thee I Sing: Prelude
Tip-Toes: Overture: Tip-Toes
Primrose: Overture: Primrose
A Damsel in Distress: Stiff upper lip
Oh, Kay!: Overture: Oh, Kay!
George White's Scandals of 1924: Somebody loves me (B. G. De Sylva & Ballard MacDonald: orch. Maurice de Packh)
Primrose: Boy wanted (Ira Gershwin & Desmond Carter: orch. Frank Sadler)
A Damsel in Distress: Things are looking up (Ira Gershwin: orch. Robert Russell Bennett)
Goldwyn Follies: Love walked in (Ira Gershwin: orch. Edward Powell)
Goldwyn Follies: Love is here to stay (Ira Gershwin: orch. Edward Powell)
Oh, Kay!: Someone to watch over me (Ira Gershwin: orch. Hilding Anderson)
Girl Crazy: But not for me (Ira Gershwin: orch. Robert Russell Bennett)
Porgy and Bess: Summertime (DuBose Hayward)
A Damsel in Distress: Nice work if you can get it (Ira Gershwin: orch. Robert Russell Bennett)
By Strauss (Ira Gershwin: orch. Russell Warner)
Girl Crazy: Embraceable you (Ira Gershwin: orch. Robert Russell Bennett)
Girl Crazy: I got rhythm (Ira Gershwin: orch. Robert Russell Bennett)

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