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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Dayful of Song [12.23]
Cuban Overture (1932) [10.35]
Promenade [2.50]
Rhapsody in Blue (1924) [16.58]
Lullaby (1919) [8.56]
An American in Paris (1928) [18.27]
Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Litton (conductor/piano)
Rec McDermott Hall, Meyerson Center, Dallas, Texas, October 1996
DELOS DE 3216 [70.09]



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No hesitation in awarding top marks to this disc for it’s a stunner from the start. Andrew Litton, a fine pianist himself, picked out seven songs hitherto unpublished and had them arranged by Sid Ramin to form a collection he called Dayful of Song (a line in the verse of the hit song ‘I got rhythm’). The seven constituting this premiere recording are ‘Hold on’, ‘I must write a song’, ‘Hot’, ‘One minute more’, ‘Sutton Place’, ‘My honour was at stake’, and ‘Machinery goes mad’ and the result is a valuable addition to the Gershwin repertoire. Taste the swing and wit of these numbers on Track 1 at 01’57", 05’04", or 08’00" to experience the high-spirited manner in which the Dallas Symphony enter into the spirit and style, especially in the fabulous surround sound of the Delos Virtual Reality.

Apart from excellent accounts of the familiar Cuban Overture (with the orchestra in fine Latin-American fettle), Rhapsody in Blue (Litton excelling as soloist) and An American in Paris, the disc also includes a couple of rarities in the brief but sunny Promenade (a fine solo from clarinettist Stephen Girko at Track 3, 00’18") which could have been film music to a black and white B movie comedy (no disrespect intended) and was orchestrated by André Kostelanetz. The Lullaby is a more serious work (1919) originally intended for string quartet (there is a passage for solo quartet at Track 5 6’00" which gives an idea of the original sound the composer had in mind). It was only published by Gershwin’s brother Ira in 1968 for string (muted) orchestra, and a lovely miniature it is, especially its second idea at Track 5 03’15" followed by a plangent viola solo 4’ 50". Its ending is deftly charming.

A thoroughly enjoyable disc - a pity the best of it (and Dayful of Song really is top stuff) is over so quickly after the first twelve minutes.

Christopher Fifield



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