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picked out seven songs hitherto unpublished and had them arranged by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.