Saturday, November 19, 2011

Historic Gershwin Recordings

"The American Repertory Theatre's new Porgy and Bess, with its claims that Gershwin's is a crippled opera that needs fixing, is controversially in the news. I read that 'Gershwin purists' are expected to thunder their objections. ... I would like to know what a Gershwin purist looks like or might have to say. ... I cannot think of another composer so inherently subject to a range of interpretive possibilities. ... The first recordings of Porgy and Bess were made in 1935 by white opera singers: Helen Jepson and Lawrence Tibbett - and Tibbett's 'Oh Bess, Where is My Bess?' [included here] is the most searing version I know. ... In his indispensable handbook on Rhapsody in Blue (1972), David Schiff ... opines ... : 'The Rhapsody cannot be played as written. Performers either have to reconstruct an evanescent "authentic" style of performance, or have the courage to image a new one.' Gershwin's own recordings [2 are included here] irresistibly apply his bright, quick piano style" (Joe Horowitz, "Gershwin Impurities," The Unanswered Question, 11/7/11).
View catalog record here!


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