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Gershwin: Piano Works / Frank Braley

Gershwin / Braley
Release Date: 06/11/2013 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 501883   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Gershwin
Performer:  Frank Braley
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Frank Braley begins this generously packed all-Gershwin recital with a rhythmically firm and brightly idiomatic rendition of the Porgy and Bess "Jasbo Brown". He incorporates chromatic tones in Rhapsody in Blue's opening scale to approximate the clarinet's famous upward glissando, and employs a kind of push/pull rubato throughout the rest of the piece that occasionally flattens the composer's syncopated vigor. Conversely, he syncopates the repeated-note theme (page 11 of the New World/Warner Bros. Edition) usually played by pianists and orchestras as straight eighth notes. However, Braley's gentle, easygoing stride through An American in Paris (in the "standard" William Daly solo transcription) will satisfy those who Read more find respective versions by pianist/transcribers Jack Gibbons and Eric Himy too vivid and brash for their taste.

Gershwin's brief arrangements of 18 song hits couldn't be more steady and danceable, especially with Braley's strong left hand in the proverbial driver's seat. Although the second of the three 1927 Preludes is too slow for Gershwin's Andante con moto marking to make sense, at least Braley avoids the soporific rubato others dote upon in the name of interpretation--and it would be hard to fault Braley's beautiful renditions of the miscellaneous small pieces. Aside from that quirky Rhapsody in Blue, I suspect the Braley/Gershwin alliance may wear well over time.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Reviewing original release of this recording
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Works on This Recording

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
An American in Paris by George Gershwin
Performer:  Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; USA 
George Gershwin's Songbook for Piano by George Gershwin
Performer:  Frank Braley (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 

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