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Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue; An American In Paris; Gould: Latin-american Symphonette

Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue / Various
Release Date: 05/04/2010 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 06691   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  George GershwinMorton Gould
Performer:  Leonard Pennario
Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These performances have been kicking around forever, mostly in crummy remasterings at a super-cheap price. It wasn’t always this way. Felix Slatkin, the violinist and conductor father of Leonard Slatkin, was a thorough pro who grew up leading Hollywood studio orchestras when he was not playing first violin in the Hollywood String Quartet. The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra in the 1960s also consisted of studio musicians thoroughly familiar with Gershwin’s “crossover” idiom. They just don’t play his music like this anymore.

The performances here are wonderful. Slatkin understands how this music should go: the brash brass, “dirty” clarinets and saxophones, and lush strings, all join forces in the service of punchy rhythms
Read more and a wholly natural rubato. The music swings. Listen to the trumpet solo in the central, lyrical theme in An American in Paris, to that voluptuous vibrato and soulful phrasing. Isn’t it just fabulous? In pianist Leonard Pennario Slatkin has a soloist also totally at one with the idiom. Nowadays, most pianists make a meal out of their very first entrance, taking the music far too slowly, with flabby rhythms and unconvincing accents. Not here. Pennario’s playing is vivacious, chic, and supple.

This disc also contains one of the rare complete performances of Morton Gould’s Latin-American Symphonette, a minor masterpiece that deserves to recapture the popularity it once had. The performance of this delightful gem is just as fine as the Gershwin items, particularly in the finale, a rip-roaring Conga that’s impossible to forget once you’ve heard its pounding rhythms and virtuoso licks for each section of the orchestra.

The sonics have been ably restored to their original, mid-60s technicolor glory. Here is a potent souvenir of time, place, and a style rapidly vanishing. Savor it while you can.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Leonard Pennario (Piano)
Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Length: 16 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2. An American in Paris by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; USA 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3. Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Length: 23 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4. Latin American Symphonette by Morton Gould
Conductor:  Felix Slatkin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 
Length: 20 Minutes 16 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Rhapsody in Blue
An American In Paris
Porgy And Bess - A Symphonic Picture
Latin-American Symphonies (1990 Digital Remaster): Rhumba
Latin-American Symphonies (1990 Digital Remaster): Tango
Latin-American Symphonies (1990 Digital Remaster): Guaracha
Latin-American Symphonies (1990 Digital Remaster): Conga

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