Russian pianist Denis Matsuev has established himself as one of the most dynamic and virtuosic performers of his generation, and his program on this RCA album with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic is ideally suited to his extraordinary abilities. The pairing of Sergey Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a natural one, particularly because of the works' shared post-romanticism (note Rachmaninov's influence on Gershwin's slow theme in the Rhapsody), as well as for the dazzling writing for the piano in both works. Of course, the challenge for Matsuev is to make his part appear effortless, and he succeeds so well in both performances that listeners may be a bit blasé about his playing, taking it in without really considering what knuckle-busters these pieces really are.
This newest release from BR KLASSIK explores the genre of the 19th and 20th century Rhapsody, featuring works from masterful composers Emmanuel Chabrier, George Gershwin, George Enesecu, Maurice Ravel, and Franz Liszt. The concert-like atmosphere of this recording makes this a truly unique release, as these works were recorded live in Munich as recently as October 2015. The five rhapsodies featured here come from different regions and the composers unique styles can be heard in each of their works. Chabriers Espana is centered around Iberian and folk music which was very popular at the time. Liszts Hungarian Rhapsody contrasts this work with its use of Hungarian folk melodies. The ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue from George Gershwin throws Americana into the mix with its blues roots. Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks never fails to please with their brilliant interpretations and performance quality. World-renowned Russian pianist Denis Matusev is brilliant as the Rhapsody in Blue soloist.
"…A lot of bang for the buck."
Composer George Gershwin is driven by his need to succeed. Unfortunately his drive destroys his romantic relationships with singer Julie Adams, who is desperately in love with him, and aloof socialite Christine Gilbert.
Freddy Kempf and Andrew Litton with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra here join forces to present a disc of works by George Gershwin. Rhapsody in Blue was originally arranged by Ferde Grofé for jazz band before being orchestrated for symphony orchestra. Here Kempf and the Bergen Philharmonic play this original version. Concerto in F was a commission for Gershwin to write a ‘proper’ piano concerto, but still takes the rhythms, melodic structures and bluesy harmonies of popular music.
Generally speaking, guitar wizard Al Di Meola has divided his musical attentions over the years between electric and acoustic, fusion and world music directions. This time out he splits the difference with some dazzling results. Coming off his short-lived reunion with Return to Forever, Di Meola returns to the solo spotlight with Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, a strong and varied effort that moves mostly in the acoustic direction and features some high-profile personnel, including pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and bassist Charlie Haden.