Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Cuban Overture
Slow movement from Piano Concerto (with Kathryn Selby)
Selection from Porgy and Bess
Three Preludes for Piano
(Leon Bates)
Selection from Girl Crazy
They can't take that away from me
Rhapsody in Blue

Various orchestras conducted by Richard Hayman
Naxos 8.556686 [68:20]
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It's difficult to believe this, but I suppose that there are still some people out there who have yet to encounter the music of George Gershwin. If you know of someone who suffers from this condition, then shell out £5.00 or so on this disc to bring that person in from the cold.

No doubt there exist more persuasive accounts of each individual item (and certainly of Rhapsody in Blue), but the quality of this selection is generally first-class. The Cuban Overture, for instance, is appropriately bright, brash and breezy. The extract from the Piano Concerto features an excellent pianist and a thoroughly idiomatic first trumpeter. Leon Bates delivers the Three Preludes with style (though he fails to conceal the feeble invention of the third). The Porgy and Bess and Girl Crazy selections ooze joie de vivre.

Rhapsody in Blue is only modestly successful. From the inadequate programme notes (very defective by Naxos standards - no information is given about the performers) one can only assume that Richard Hayman is the soloist/conductor. It's an acceptable but unsubtle performance.

As for sound: generally well-balanced, with much vivid detail, but somewhat 'boxy'.

Adrian Smith

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