Music Webmaster Len Mullenger




George and Ira GERSHWIN IN HOLLYWOOD OSTsEMI Premier soundtracks/TURNER Classic Movies Music 8 21558 2 (2 CDS) [151:34]  


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This album has been in the shops for some months now but I only caught up with it very recently. It is a sumptuous collection of 40 numbers, spread over two CDs from films that included music by Gershwin (except the film version of Porgy and Bess which was suppressed after its theatrical release by the Gershwin and Heyward estates). The earliest recording, of "You've Got What Gets Me", dates back to the early 1932 RKO version of Girl Crazy and the latest is from the 1957 Paramount production of Funny Face, and Fred Astaire's incomparable and magical rendering of "He Loves And She Loves." Numbers have been restored from the films of all the major studios that embraced the Gershwins' music in sound of varying quality from the very good of MGM to the somewhat "ify" of the RKO and Samuel Goldwyn contributions. The collection starts off with a ten minute exuberant Overture, arranged by Ray Heindorf, from Warner's 1945 Rhapsody in Blue that includes a number of Gershwin hit songs. There is some invaluable archive material including extended or alternate versions of the numbers used in the films and some fascinating outtakes like the Third Prelude performed by Oscar Levant from Rhapsody in Blue and, incredibly, "Love Walked In" from the crass The Goldwyn Follies. Singing stars include: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Al Johnson (singing "Swanee"), Dick Haymes, June Allyson, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald. Besides the spirited playing of the various studio orchestras, there are numbers featuring Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra and a special highlight is the unusual inclusion of a six-minute extended version of "135th Street Blues" from "Blue Monday" which was also included in Warner's Rhapsody in Blue. The supporting 40 page CD booklet with notes written by Gershwin biographer Edward Jablonski contains a wealth of detail about not only George's career in "Tinsel Town" but also about Ira's contributions, working with other composers after his death (there are two musical examples of such collaborations: with Harry Warren - "You'd be Hard to Replace" from The Barkley's of Broadway; and Burton Lane - "In Our United State" from Give a Girl a Break) This collection is a must for all Gershwin fans.

Ian Lace

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