George Gershwin Greats Recorded by Buffalo Philharmonic for Naxos
December 11, 2010
Between 17–20 November 2010 in Klelnhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York, Orion Weiss (piano), and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta recorded George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F Major, Second Rhapsody, Rhapsody in Blue, and Variations on I Got Rhythm, for release on Naxos 8.559705.
Photo: Enid Bloch
Conductor JoAnn Falletta reports:
‘Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, NY resounded with the vibrant American spirit of George Gershwin for two weeks in November 2010. The Buffalo Philharmonic and pianist Orion Weiss performed and recorded Gershwin’s complete music for piano and orchestra—a CD that includes the music that essentially defines the idiom and voice of this great composer. The Naxos CD will contain Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue—the piece he composed in less than two months for bandleader Paul Whiteman as an “experiment in new music”—a work designed to prove that classical music and jazz could be harmoniously married. The historic result is the most famous American piece of all time, a perfect synthesis of orchestra and jazz band, with virtuosic solos for piano recognized all over the world.
Photo: Enid Bloch
‘Gershwin followed this success with the work which was to be his piano masterpiece—his Concerto in F—a serious three-movement work that established him as a formidable classical composer. His ground-breaking I Got Rhythm Variations (with echoes of Stravinsky and even a Schoenbergian “tone row”) is a brilliant and loveable romp for piano and orchestra. Also included on the CD will be his rarely performed Second Rhapsody, which Gershwin originally titled Rhapsody in Rivets, since it is a stunning portrait of the construction of the skyscrapers in his beloved New York City in the 1930s.
‘The Buffalo Philharmonic created a Gershwin Festival around the recording that brought in very large audiences of both classical and pops subscribers. Orion Weiss was a brilliant interpreter of this music, bringing a suave urbanity and an elegant sophistication that belied his youth. His extraordinary technique, beautiful tone and absolute charm promise a wonderful recording of this great music. Music director JoAnn Falletta conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic in what will be their twelfth Naxos CD, and Tim Handley performed his usual superb job as producer and engineer.’