One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Downloads from

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Piano Concerto in F (1925) [33:04]
Rhapsody in Blue (1924) [16:32]
Second Rhapsody (1931) [15:20]
I Got Rhythm Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1934) [8:29]
Freddy Kempf (piano)
Bergen Philharmonic/Andrew Litton
rec. August 2011, Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway
BIS-SACD-1940 [73:54] 

Experience Classicsonline

This is one of the jazziest, liveliest, and most improvisatory Gershwin albums to arrive in a long time. With George Gershwin’s orchestral music, there’s a spectrum of possible interpretations, from performances which emphasize the classically trained side of the composer to those which shake off all the rules and dance. Orion Weiss’s piano concerto on Naxos earlier this year was the former; this is the latter.
A lot of that is because of the Bergen Philharmonic and Andrew Litton. Litton, who’s recorded this music in the past as piano soloist, inspires his players to rare levels of jazzy indulgence: the extra drum rim-shots in the concerto’s introduction; the stylish, sly, debonair trumpet solo which steals the slow movement; the truly delicious clarinet intro to Rhapsody in Blue. Purists might actually be put off, but then, Gershwin himself improvised half the solos in Blue at its premiere, so I don’t think he’d have minded. There’ve been a lot of great recordings of this concerto recently - Jon Nakamatsu and the Rochester Philharmonic, Orion Weiss from Buffalo, Michel Camilo from Barcelona - but no orchestra has more fun than the Bergen players do. I already mentioned it, but Martin Winter’s trumpet solo deserves some kind of prize; from the clarinet, trombone, sax and other players, there are simply too many inspired moments to count.
Freddy Kempf’s approach, by contrast, is to soft-shoe through with elegance and old-time dance-hall grace. In the album’s first few minutes, this seems like it will generate a stylistic clash between soloist and band, but these fears are set aside. Kempf can dazzle when he needs to, and he can also play sensitive to generate a contrast with Litton’s orchestra, which dazzles nonstop. Then there’s the concerto’s finale, insanely fast and purely exciting.
The original-orchestration Rhapsody in Blue also benefits from this rich contrast and from the incredible Bergen Philharmonic, although I wish Kempf’s first extended solo was more assertive. Like the concerto, proceedings really hit their stride after a few minutes to warm up, but when they do, watch out! It’s worth pointing out that an even more authentically jazzy Blue with sparks flying can be had from Lincoln Mayorga and the Harmonie Ensemble, which also happens to be the only recording I’ve yet heard with a finer clarinet solo from 93-year-old Al Gallodoro, who had been playing the part since the 1930s.

The Second Rhapsody goes phenomenally from start to end, and there’s never a suggestion that this sequel work is second-rate; it’s easily my favorite performance of the piece. And the CD ends with the “I Got Rhythm” Variations, a super-snappy encore with gleeful playing from all parties, including a jazz-band drum set and Freddy Kempf romping with the lowest possible inhibitions. My top choice is Mayorga again, on the same CD linked to above.
The booklet is very good; BIS’s hybrid SACD sounds phenomenal, as always. At high volume the best climaxes simply thunder out, all orchestral sections vividly captured from the piano back to the bass drum. There is, uncharacteristically, some kind of acoustical glitch with the piano solo near the start of in Blue. Still, this is an irresistibly fun album on which a Russian pianist and Norwegian orchestra produce incredibly idiomatic New York jazz. Andrew Litton deserves a lot of the credit, but so do his soloists. On the Gershwin spectrum, Orion Weiss’s Naxos CD represents the “classical” approach, Previn is somewhere in the middle, and this is loudly, proudly in a state of jazz. No matter how many Gershwin albums you have, you don’t have one that sounds like this!
Brian Reinhart 





























































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


      Composer surveys
      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

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


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

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



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

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
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
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
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.