Notes and Editorial Reviews
"The premiere of Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 was considered an epochal event in the development of American music. So impressed was the famous conductor Walter Damrosch that he commissioned the composer to write a fully-fledged piano concerto. Gershwin’s ideas of the form of a concerto were sketchy, but he taught himself the facts appropriate to the task and produced his new Concerto in F in December 1925. It has been very popular ever since, although some have preferred the Rhapsody in Blue.
The main themes of both the first and middle movements of the Concerto are wistful and sometimes even sad. The second theme of the first movement is Gershwin in what might be described as his “city streets” mood. Gershwin’s variants and
combinations of the two themes throughout the movement are very imaginative and characteristically charming, ending with a wonderfully animated version of the second theme. In the second movement the solo trumpet is practically as important as the piano. The woodwinds are also significant here and beautifully scored. The alternation between piano and trumpet produces a variety of moods, ending with what is perhaps the most famous theme slowly rising to a climax and then gently dying away. The last movement is the most traditional, with lots of drive by the piano, accompanied by a number of subsidiary themes in the orchestra. Eventually, piano and orchestra combine on one of these themes, producing a wonderful section leading to a tutti and then a short reprise of the opening material and the coda.
Gershwin liked to improvise on his songs at the piano and formalized this practice when asked to write a work to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Rhapsody in Blue. He wrote four variations for piano and orchestra on I Got Rhythm and it is surely one of his most charming works. The first variation, after a clever orchestral introduction, is complex and virtuosic, but animated and joyous at the same time. The second is a fascinating waltz, reminiscent of one of the film scores, while the third is the composer’s conception of Chinese music. The fourth variation is very rhythmic, with one hand playing the melody straightforwardly and the other hand upside down. A staccato piano part and then full orchestra leads to a bluesy finale. A charming performance, almost as winning as that on Erich Kunzel’s complete Gershwin set."
-- Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano in F major by George Gershwin
Wayne Marshall (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1925; USA
Venue: Aalborg Symfonien, Aalborg, Denmark
Length: 32 Minutes 20 Secs.
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: I love you, Porgy (Porgy & Bess)
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: They can't take that away from us (Shall we dance?)
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: Summertime (Porgy & Bess)
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: Let's call the whole thing off (Shall we dance?)
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: Love walked in (Goldwyn Follies)
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: By Strauss (The Show is On)
A Gershwin Songbook: improvisations on songs by George Gershwin: Our love is here to stay (Goldwyn Follies)
I got rhythm: Variations for piano and orchestra
Piano Concerto in F: I. Allegro
Piano Concerto in F: II. Adagio
Piano Concerto in F: III. Finale: Allegro agitato
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