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Joanna Macgregor Plays Gershwin

Gershwin / Macgregor / London Sym Orch / Davies
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 678306   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George GershwinCole PorterJerome KernRichard Rodgers,   ... 
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor
Conductor:  Carl Davis
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Strong characterisation, engaging, never whirlwind but good and thoughtful.

Joanna MacGregor’s back catalogue is being actively promoted at the moment. It is, somewhat amazingly, getting on for a quarter of a century since her first session, which was her American Piano Classics album, recorded in 1988. And the Michael Finnissy Gershwin transcriptions there appear in this Gershwin and Broadway 2 CD slimline set from Warner Classics. Admirers of the pianist will note that her Goldberg Variations, her 4 CD Messiaen set, and the Cage-and-Nancarrow twofer are also available. I recently reviewed her ‘Live in Buenos Aires’ disc though that didn’t plunder the back catalogue.
 
Rhapsody
Read more in Blue features her, Carl Davis and the LSO in their September 1990 recording of the original ‘jazz band’ version. Tempo rubato is the name of the game here from the clarinet’s opening statement to MacGregor’s own flexible responses. It never distends the music or beats it out of shape however, remaining on the positive side; animated, driving, though not quite as bright and energetic as the Donohoe-Rattle performance - to cite just another English-based recording. They also play the Concerto in F very adeptly too, managing to ensure that those moments in which attention can wander are mitigated through a strong sense of characterisation. The profile of the music-making is engaging, never whirlwind and if that implies a slight holding-back then maybe that’s so; it’s not the most sweeping of performances, but it is a good and thoughtful one.
 
Finnissy’s Gershwin arrangements are, according to MacGregor, ‘Berg-like’. They’re certainly quite refracted, and often glacingly allusive too. The second disc gives more arrangements, this time Broadways ones, sans Gershwin - the brief MacGregor gave the arrangers was to steer off him. Each of the four - Django Bates, Finnissy, Gary Carpenter and Alasdair Nicolson - has something worthwhile to say. Bates’ It’s Only A Paper Moon is refractive, kaleidoscopic, and also includes some bibulous boogie. Similarly his June is Bustin’ Out All Over is jam-packed with incident, virtuosic runs to the fore in a quasi-Lisztian sort of way. Carpenter prefers a more up-front reworking of Cole Porter’s My Heart Belongs To Daddy where a sassy, tango-like and boogie-rich environment flourishes. Finnissy’s Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man is more convoluted, introspective, and lengthy; elusive and sectional it pays shadow homage. Alasdair Nicolson meanwhile sprinkles some impressionist droplets over parts of I’ll Be Seeing You.
 
The disc ends with four of MacGregor’s own transcriptions. These are taken down from disc recordings made by jazz pianists Erroll Garner and Thelonius Monk; Erroll’s Bounce and Erroll’s Blues inevitably capture the great man’s style - and big Rachmaninovian stretch. Monk’s Point and Round Midnight belong to the world of bop modernism. They all show how taken the young MacGregor was by these idiosyncratic exemplars.
 
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International 
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Works on This Recording

1.
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Conductor:  Carl Davis
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/1990 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall 
Length: 16 Minutes 3 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano in F major by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Conductor:  Carl Davis
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/1990 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall 
Length: 31 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3.
Damsel in Distress: A foggy day by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4.
Oh, Kay!: Fidgety Feet by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
5.
Girl Crazy: But not for me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
6.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: The Man I Love by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
7.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: 'S Wonderful by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 50 Secs. 
8.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: My One and Only by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 45 Secs. 
9.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Clap Yo' Hands by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 42 Secs. 
10.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Do It Again by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
11.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Somebody Loves Me by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 56 Secs. 
12.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Sweet and Low Down by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 55 Secs. 
13.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Fascinating rhythm by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 47 Secs. 
14.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Strike Up the Band by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 51 Secs. 
15.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Who Cares? by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
16.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Oh, Lady Be Good by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 1 Secs. 
17.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 35 Secs. 
18.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Do, Do, Do by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 0 Minutes 51 Secs. 
19.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: That Certain Feeling by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
20.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: Liza by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
21.
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano: I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1932; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 17 Secs. 
22.
Leave it to me: My heart belongs to daddy by Cole Porter
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
23.
Show Boat: Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man by Jerome Kern
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 17 Secs. 
24.
Carousel: June is bustin' out all over by Richard Rodgers
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
25.
The New Yorkers: Love for Sale by Cole Porter
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
26.
I'll Be Seeing You, song by Sammy Fain
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1938; United States of Ame 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 14 Secs. 
27.
Erroll's Blues by Erroll Garner
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
28.
Erroll's Bounce by Erroll Garner
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
29.
Monk's Point by Thelonious Monk
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
30.
Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1988 
Venue:  St. Mary's Church, Hatfield Broad Oak 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
31.
42nd St. Stomp (after Warren) by Alasdair Nicolson
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
32.
It's Only a Paper Moon by Harold Arlen
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1933 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
33.
Gay Divorcée: Night and Day by Cole Porter
Performer:  Joanna MacGregor (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 

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