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BBC Music Magazine, October 2013

…the performance of the sweeping romantic tune is definitive, a perfectly paced emotional arc that culminates in a genuinely moving climax, free from sentiment. And it’s not even impaired by the watery vibrato of a 1920s saxophone. For any fan of Gershwin and his Rhapsody, it is a precious link with where it all began. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine

Michael Anthony
StarTribune, May 2001

"Conductor Erich Leinsdorf once said that tempos in the performance of orchestral music grew slower as the 20th century progressed. Listening to Gershwin Plays Gershwin, recordings made in the 1920s, one would have to add that songs and piano pieces have slowed down, too.

'Contrast the glacial pacing of most singers today in 'Someone to Watch Over Me' with the composer's own version on piano recorded in 1926: It's a dance tune, and it really swings. Equally intriguing is Gershwin's up-tempo reading of the lyrical Second Prelude.

"The biggest surprise comes with Rhapsody in Blue in the recording of 1924 with the Whiteman ensemble. As played today by a symphony orchestra, the Rhapsody sounds like Brahms: slow and ponderous. Whiteman, leading a 24-piece orchestra with Gershwin at the piano, underlines the work's jazz elements: a real klezmer-style clarinet solo at the opening and quivering saxophones in the Andante theme that sound like the Guy Lombardo band.

"How good a pianist was Gershwin? With his solid technique and inventive flair, these recordings confirm the stories that he played his songs at parties in endless variations. But his style drew more from ragtime than from jazz. There's formal rigor in his fancy cross-hands playing, for example, in 'Looking for the Boy.'

"David Lennick engineered these skillful transfers to CD. Included are 11 songs, the Rhapsody, the Preludes and a superb performance of the underrated Second Rhapsody drawn from a 1931 radio broadcast."

Olin Chism
The Dallas Morning News, February 2001

"The performances are happy, playful and highly informal, though Gershwin occasionally inserts harmonic digressions that hint at more developed musical tastes. Here finally, the composer seems to be giving his approval to the more slickly sophisticated, symphonic Gershwin of today."

George Dorris
Ballet Review, January 2001

"The playing is surprisingly straightforward, with just enough swing to keep the rhythm breathing. The rolls are recognizably Gershwin, they are welcome, especially in modern piano sound."

[NB: Naxos's historical recordings produced from remastered 78rpm discs - ed.]

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