8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2010
Excellent sound, good performance. This CD is a live concert recording featuring the 1920s jazz band versions of Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto. The variations on I Got Rhythm is the original manuscript version. Definitely leaning more towards Jazz than classical orchestral, these well known pieces sound fresh and different. This is well worth hearing even if you have other versions of these pieces.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2013
I have loved Rhapsody in Blue evr since discovering the Wightman/Gershwin original 78 in my mum's cupboard - that was 55 years ago and it fired my love of music for life. Since then I have heard many versions but never one to make me think it was an improvement on that original. Then recently I heard the Previn/LSO version which many, including the BBC music magazine say is the best. Personally, I thought it was very average, and I notice that some here on Amazon agree with me, but it inspired me to look for a modern version which matched my feelings for that original - and here it is!
The BBC reviewer who thought previn supreme had said if one wanted a version in the original jazz arrangement, to try this Thibaudet one so i took the plunge and was almost in tears (of joy) at first listen. And if has virtually never left my CD player since.
Not only is the playing joyful and jazzy, with subtle tweaks and additions ( just as Gershwin himself had suggested should happen) but the recording quality is utterly magnificent. If you don't want the larger orchestral version, and would like to hear a version that Gershwin himself would have loved, here it is. Quite simply the best disc I have bought in the last 10 years- if I could give it six or seven stars, I would!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Marin Alsop really create an edge of elation in this music that makes it sheerly pleasurable! They present both the Rhapsody and the Concerto in jazz band arrangements by Ferde Grofé, in which strings feature discreetly but do not dominate as in the usual orchestral balance. The textures are quite magical, more rough-hewn than in the versions more commonly heard, but I would say it is all gain. The Concerto in particular emerges as one of the great concertante works for piano, and is freed from that slight feeling of following too much in Rachmaninov's footsteps in terms of orchestral scoring. The big tunes can be heard in a better balance, with the piano writing properly audible. The tunes are no less amazing for being leaner, in fact the sound has greater edge. It is almost as if they have found, in Alsop and Thibaudet's idiomatic feel for the pulse and shape of the music, their ideal performers. Thibaudet has tremendous zest as a performer, drawing on a wide tonal range and balancing chords with a miraculous sense of how zesty they really are, like the juice of a whole crate of lemons. Alsop is entirely attuned to him, her work as Bernstein's protege giving her a better sense of this kind of American music than almost anyone, surely. The main items are separated by an equally thrilling interlude in the form of the "I Got Rhythm" Variations, also for piano and orchestra. It's a dream of a disc.