Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898 -1937)

Selected Recordings for the Centenary

On 26th September 1998, we celebrate the centenary of the birth of George Gershwin. Gershwin was one of the first composers to write an original movie score, at the beginning of the 'talkies' era. He wrote music, which was eventually to be incorporated into his Second Rhapsody, for a forgettable 1931 film entitled Delicious. Gershwin's music was used in a number of Hollywood films in the 1930s notably for the RKO Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals. Gershwin's life story was filmed by Warner Bros under the title, Rhapsody in Blue (described by Clive Hirschorn in his book The Warner Bros Story [Octopus 1979] - as 'fanciful to the point of absurdity...the screenplay was a veritable sardine-tin of clichés...), it included a complete performance of the title piece by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra plus a number of the composer's immortal songs. (Robert Alda [father of Alan] was woefully undercast as Gershwin.) Gershwin's music was used exclusively in MGM's musical masterpiece, An American in Paris (1951), directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary and Nina Foch.

A new profusely illustrated 240 page biography has arrived for review from PHAIDON PRESS - George Gershwin by Rodney Greenberg (semi-softback bargain price:$19.95 and £14:99). A review of this book may be seen here.

George GERSHWIN Porgy & Bess    Lawrence Winters (Porgy); Camilla Williams (Bess); Inez Matthews (Serena); Warren Coleman (Crown); Avon Long (Sportin’ Life); J. Rosamond Johnson Chorus; Orchestra Conducted by Lehman Engel  SONY Classical (Masterworks Heritage) 2CDs MH2K 63322 [129:45]

George GERSHWIN Porgy & Bess (Highlights) Blue Monday (original version)  Gregg Baker, Harolyn Blackwell, Angela Brown, William Henry Caldwell, Cab Calloway, Lawrence Craig, Marquita Lister, Kirk Walker, Thomas Young, Central State University Chorus, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel    TELARC CD-80434 [71:23]

Blue Monday


George GERSHWIN Porgy & Bess (complete) Willard White (Porgy); Cynthia Haymon (Bess); Damon Evans (Sporting Life); with Cynthia Clarey, Bruce Hubbard, Marietta Simpson; Gregg Baker; Harolyn Blackwell; Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle EMI 3CD set CDS5 56220 2 [189:32]

George GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue; 2nd Rhapsody; Piano Concerto in F Howard Shelley (piano); Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra Chandos CHAN 9092

George GERSHWIN By George - The Ultimate Birthday Tribute  George GERSHWIN Artists include: Peter Donohoe, Martin Roscoe, Richard Rodney Bennett and Andrew Litton (pianists); Ruthie Henshall (vocalist); The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton and Henry Lewis; The Picadilly Concert Orchestra conducted by Rony Weiss. 2 CDS CARLTON CLASSICS 30368 01297 [145:53]

Album includes: Rhapsody in Blue (Jazz version and version for two pianos); Piano Concerto in F (2nd movement only); Cuban Overture; An American in Paris; Piano transcriptions from The Gershwin Songbook for one and two pianos and vocal; Porgy and Bess (two piano transcription of Fantasy)

George GERSHWIN The Complete Orchestral Collection Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra TELARC 2CD-80445
Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra; Variations on "I Got Rhythm" and Rialto Ripples Rag (William Tritt - piano); Second Rhapsody (Stewart Goodyear - piano); An American in Paris; Cuban Overture; Lullaby; Walking the Dog; Mexican Dance Catfish Row (Symphonic Suite from Porgy and Bess) (Double CD set)

George GERSHWIN 'The Very Best of George Gershwin' 28 Gershwin Greats Various artists Decca 2CD 460 002-2 [140:35]

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


George GERSHWIN The Authentic Gershwin Vol 4 - The Hollywood Years  Jack Gibbons (piano) ASV CD WHL 2110 [67:55]

Kurt WEILL/Ira GERSHWIN/Moss HART Lady in the Dark Royal National Theatre Production TER CDTER 1244 Dolby Surround [70:50]

George GERSHWIN  Fantasy for violin and orchestra on themes from Porgy and Bess; Three Preludes; Songs for violin and orchestra   SONY SK 60659

George GERSHWIN Gershwin plays Gershwin - The Piano Rolls   ELEKTRA NONESUCH 7559 79287-2

George GERSHWIN The Piano Rolls; Vol 2.

George & Ira GERSHWIN Pardon My English  ELEKTRA NONESUCH 7559-79338-2

George & Ira GERSHWIN Standards & Gems   (Nonesuch Gershwin recordings compilation with new additions)
 NONESUCH 7559-79498-2

George GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue; Concerto in F; An American in Paris André Previn (piano) and conducting the London Symphony Orchestra

George GERSHWIN An American in Paris; Concerto in F*; Catfish Row Suite with scenes from Porgy and Bess; Second Rhapsody for Piano and orchestra Garrick Ohlsson* (piano); Michael Tilson Thomas** (piano) and conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

George GERSHWIN The Best of George Gershwin  CD1 [76:45]: Rhapsody in Blue/Bernstein cond and piano; An American in Paris/Bernstein;  Piano Concerto (Allegro agitato)/Previn/Kostelanetz; Prelude No.1/Katia & Marielle Labèque; Strike up the Band/ John Williams /Boston Pops; Symphonic Picture: Porgy and Bess/ Ormandy; Overture: Girl Crazy/ Michael Tilson Thomas

 CD2 [74:08] Jazz and Songs: 20 numbers from such artists as: Miles Davis; Mel Torme; Benny Goodman Sextet; Billie Holliday; Ella Fitzgerald; Chet Baker; Duke Ellington; Stephane Grappelli; Fred Astaire; Erroll Garner and the Woody Herman Orchestra


George GERSHWIN The Ultimate GERSHWIN  4CD set

 George and Ira GERSHWIN Girl Crazy Broadway Cast including Mary Martin    SONY SK 60704 (46:50)

Dr. Alicia Zizzo, one of America's most eminent classical pianists and scholars, discovered and restored Gershwin's classical piano music from his own hand-written fragments, sketches and original manuscripts. here for more information

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