Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Jazz Nocturne - Concertos of the Jazz Age

James P. JOHNSON (1894-1955) Yamekraw, A Negro Rhapsody [15.32]
Harry RESER (1896-1965) Suite for Banjo and Orchestra: (Heebie Jeebies [2.55]; Flapperette [3.45]; Pickin's [4.27])
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue [16.50]
Dana SUESSE (1909-1987) Jazz Nocturne [4.20]; Concerto in Three Rhythms: (Fox Trot: Allegro ma non troppo [9.27]; Blues: Adagio [8.48]; Rag: Presto [4.39])
Gary Hammond (piano) [Yamekraw]/Don Vappie (banjo) [Suite for Banjo]; Tatiana Roitman (piano) and Creole Serenaders [Rhapsody in Blue]; Peter Minton (piano) [Jazz Nocturne]; Michael Gurt (piano) [Concerto in Three Rhythms]
Hot Springs Music Festival Symphony Orchestra/Richard Rosenberg
rec. Hot Springs Music Festival, Arkansas 2005-2009. DDD
NAXOS 8.559647 [70.41]

 

Experience Classicsonline




One may be tempted to think of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue as a "one-off": an isolated attempt to fuse the jazz idiom with the symphony orchestra. It wasn't all that rare, as Gershwin also wrote his Concerto in F, Cuban Overture, An American in Paris and the Second Rhapsody, all of which blended jazz and the classics to some degree.

This album reveals that other composers were pursuing the same path as Gershwin in the twenties and thirties, although they all seem to be following in the footsteps of Rhapsody in Blue. There was a similar movement in what might be called "Symphonic Jazz" with the Third Stream which arose in the 1950s, but this was hardly ever successful, as it attempted to fuse two differing genres too closely. The experiments included on this album were happier, because they simply added jazz rhythms (especially syncopation) to classical music in a way that "serious" composers like Ravel and Milhaud also tried. In fact, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and his piano concerto contain many anticipations of Ravel's two piano concertos.

The CD begins with James P. Johnson's Yamekraw, subtitled "A Negro Rhapsody". Johnson is best known as one of the founding fathers of the art of stride piano, in which the left hand supplies a two-beat rhythm for the right hand's melodies and often decorative improvisation. Yamekraw was premiered with Fats Waller - another exponent of stride - as the piano soloist in 1927 (the sleeve-note says 1928). Like the Rhapsody, it includes syncopated passages alongside romantic themes. Yamekraw is the name of "a Negro settlement situated on the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia". Like Gershwin's Rhapsody, the piece makes good use of prominent clarinets and outspoken trumpets. And it follows Gershwin in that some sections might well be mistaken for the piano concertos of Rachmaninov, who probably influenced Gershwin considerably. Like the other works on this CD, it was orchestrated by someone other than the composer - in this case, William Grant Still. One wonders how much influence the orchestrators had on the original ideas.

Probably the most astonishing item on this album is the Suite for Banjo and Orchestra, arranged by banjoist Don Vappie from pieces by Harry Reser. The banjo is often scorned, even by jazz musicians (e.g. "a gentleman is someone who owns a banjo but doesn't play it"), but it is here displayed as a virtuosic instrument capable of carrying the solo part in three concerto-like movements. Harry Reser himself played the banjo and led various bands as well as doing studio work from the 1920s onwards. The three pieces in the suite start with Heebie Jeebies, which is not the better-known popular song but a fast number with eerily ghostly changes. Then comes Flapperette, a slower but breezy piece, followed by Pickin's, which starts by bending notes almost in Japanese vein but soon picks up into a bright melody exhibiting the soloist's dexterity.

Rhapsody in Blue is so familiar that it doesn't need describing, although this version is taken from the original manuscript which Gershwin's brother Ira gave to Richard Rosenberg in 1978 and which contains some extra passages. This is the first recording of the unabridged version and it is performed very well, although it lacks some of the period charm of Gershwin's original recording with Paul Whiteman. Its opening clarinet glissando still has the power to surprise and, hearing the rhapsody for the umpteenth time, one is still struck by Gershwin's melodic prodigality. Tatiana Roitman handles the solo part with aplomb. Here and throughout the album, the recording quality is commendably clear and well balanced.

The last two works are by American composer Dana Suesse. She is not exactly a household name nowadays but she was famous in her day for composing popular songs as well as more extended pieces. She was nicknamed "The Girl Gershwin" and had a hand in such popular songs as You Ought To be In Pictures and The Night Is Young And You Are So Beautiful. Her melodic gift is evident in Jazz Rhapsody, whose second theme was translated into the song My Silent Love, which was recorded by Bing Crosby and many others - I can recommend Erroll Garner's flowery version on YouTube. It is certainly a very memorable tune and is played with lush romanticism by the orchestra.

Suesse's Concerto in Three Rhythms was premiered in 1932 at a Carnegie Hall concert which also included Gershwin's Second Rhapsody and the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé - who arranged Dana's concerto as well as Rhapsody in Blue. The three rhythms in the Suesse concerto are the foxtrot, the blues and ragtime. The first movement is bouncy and assertive; the second slow and mournful - reminiscent in parts of Ravel's G major Piano Concerto; and the finale frolics merrily.

These pieces were recorded at the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas at various times between 2005 and 2009. By making these recordings available together, Naxos has done us a service by making us more aware of a musical movement in the twenties and thirties which managed to put together two apparently different musical genres, without demeaning either of them. As Dana Suesse said: "There's certainly no harm in writing [music] in such a form that large numbers of people can enjoy it".

Tony Augarde



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.