Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; An American in Paris; Overtures to Strike Up the Band & Girl Crazy; Variations on ‘I Got Rhythm’; Cuban Overture

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Gershwin
LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Rhapsody in Blue; An American in Paris; Overtures to Strike Up the Band & Girl Crazy; Variations on ‘I Got Rhythm’; Cuban Overture
PERFORMER: Wayne Marshall (piano)Aalborg Symphony
CATALOGUE NO: VM 5 61247 2 DDD
This disc, directed by the highly talented Wayne Marshall, gets off to a swaggering start with the somewhat uneven Strike Up the Band, but also promises much from the Aalborg Symphony’s principal clarinettist for the next track, the famous opening to the Rhapsody in Blue with its bended glissando, duly delivered in style. Marshall makes much of the Gershwin rubato (particularly in his wonderfully played solo cadenzas), and doesn’t spare the horses in the quick passages. This is fine for his nimble fingers but not always comfortable for his players; nevertheless his Gershwin sound and its palette of colours cannot be faulted, for in the lyrical moments he lingers to great effect. Ensemble is immaculate throughout. Girl Crazy (which launched the careers of Ginger Rogers and Ethel Merman) is less familiar but features ‘Embraceable you’ and ‘I Got Rhythm’ – which Marshall certainly has. His playing of the variations on the latter is breathtaking, the best track on the disc. An American in Paris (which could just as well be called A Frenchman in New York) has all the necessary big-city bustle, while the Cuban Overture joyfully succumbahs to the rumbah. All great fun and value for money too. Christopher Fifield

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