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The Original Manuscripts - Gershwin: Preludes, Rhapsody In Blue, Etc / Alicia Zizzo

Release Date: 05/12/2009 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1127   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Gershwin
Performer:  Alicia Zizzo
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GERSHWIN Blue Monday . Preludes. Miniatures. Rhapsody in Blue Alicia Zizzo (pn) MSR 1127 (58:53)

Here’s the answer to a final round in the popular Jeopardy game show: “An opera other than Porgy and Bess by American composer George Gershwin.” And the question is: “What is Blue Monday ?” Read more Considered Gershwin’s seminal symphonic jazz work, the one-act opera running for only about 20 minutes was written in 1922 to a libretto by Buddy de Sylva. Renamed 135th Street in a subsequent production, the piece is among the earliest attempts to fuse classical music with the music of the African-American jazz culture. It became the model for many of Gershwin’s later and most popular works. The version heard here comes from the composer’s previously unpublished, handwritten manuscript of the score.

The Preludes—numbering seven on this recording—are, according to pianist and note author Dr. Alicia Zizzo, Gershwin’s ultimately uncompleted tribute and complement to Chopin’s 24 Preludes. Not only did Gershwin not finish what he started out to achieve, but he left behind a Humpty-Dumpty of manuscripts, drafts, and fragments, some of which found their way into other of the composer’s works, and others of which, as played here by Zizzo, are her own reconstructions.

The seven Miniatures , or “Songs without Words” as Zizzo has dubbed them, consist once again of edited versions of original Gershwin manuscripts. Some were published in his lifetime as stand-alone pieces, while others were but musings and sketches for which the composer might have found some future use.

Dr. Zizzo has distinguished herself in musicological circles for her scholarship and dedication to restoring Gershwin’s solo piano literature. Her detailed analysis and exegesis of the composer’s original piano manuscript of the Rhapsody in Blue , which she plays on this recording, makes for fascinating reading as well as listening. Her artistry at the keyboard is no less than her erudition; she is a fine pianist who brings a special insight into a composer too often underappreciated and misunderstood. Strongly recommended to all lovers of Gershwin’s music.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

Blue Monday "135th Street Blues": Suite by George Gershwin
Performer:  Alicia Zizzo (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922/1925; USA 
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Alicia Zizzo (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Preludes (3) for Piano by George Gershwin
Performer:  Alicia Zizzo (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 

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