'S Wonderful Gershwin

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

On this edition of Reflections from the Keyboard, we remember George Gershwin.

Gershwin, who would have turned 115 on Thursday, took great pains to represent complex and powerful aspects of the American melting pot in his work. He was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as he was in Harlem and Hollywood. An exhilarating pianist as well as a classical composer, he embodied the transfigured jazz age. Today, he is the most celebrated American composer for the canon and arguably the finest songwriter of his era.

On this week's program, host David Dubal features several fine piano transcriptions of Gershwin's work. Among them is Gershwin's good friend and pianist, Oscar Levant, performing the third movement of the Piano Concerto in F with the New York Philharmonic. Others include Gershwin specialists Earl Wild and Andre Watts as well as two recordings played by the master himself.


Variations on "I got rhythm" for Piano and Orchestra / Earl Wild, piano; Arthur Fiedler, conductor; Boston Pops, ensemble

Prelude No 2 in C sharp minor, Andante con moto e poco rubato / Leonard Bernstein, piano

Preludes (3) for Piano / George Gershwin, piano

Concerto for Piano in F major: 2nd movement, Andante con moto - Adagio / André Previn, piano; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, ensemble

Virtuoso Etudes after Gershwin: No 4, Embraceable you / Gershwin, George/Wild, Earl / Earl Wild, piano

Swanee / André Watts, piano

Somebody Loves Me / André Watts, piano

Who Cares (so long as you care for me)? / André Watts, piano

I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise / André Watts, piano

The Man I Love / André Watts, piano

Nobody But You / André Watts, piano

Concerto for Piano in F major: 3rd movement, Allegro agitato / Oscar Levant, piano; New York Philharmonic, ensemble; Andre Kostelanetz, conductor

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Comments [7]

Jedrury from Virginia

I was so impressed by David's Gershwin program I bought his "Essential Canon Classical Music" by David Dubal
which I found at an used book sale. His book and his commentary is exquisite and is treasured despite the pittance paid.

Oct. 03 2013 08:30 PM
meredith from nyc

youtube has these great earl wild transcriptions of gershwin songs...including embraceable you! I didn't know about these and am thrilled with them.

Sep. 28 2013 01:35 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Gotta laugh at the slow "tempi" used by "the boss" Bernstein.

I thought for a while that Oscar Levant wouldn't be heard. Another Oscar should also have been included, if only to show the "polyglot" aspect of Gershwin's appeal - Oscar Peterson, maybe even with Ella on vocals.

Superb program. The best I've heard since I can remember listening to Dubal. Also, nice to have the web audio functional from about the initial broadcast time. The program time listed on the front page though is the old time. Not 7PM. At least it wasn't 9PM.

Sep. 28 2013 10:06 AM
Fabius Fox from New York City

I love your shows. I remember your days at WNCN. In your Gershwin program, I was listening to the Earl Wild treatment of "Embraceable You", when it struck me how much more inventive some of the great jazz pianists are (or were). As an example check out this recording by Tommy Flanagan. The tune has also been recorded by Bill Evans, Barry Harris, and others, but this was a nice example of the tune done by a great piano trio.


Keep up the good work.

Sep. 27 2013 10:30 PM
Meredith from nyc

Mr. Dubal, I've been listening to Reflections for years, but this Gershwin show has to be one of your very best. I was out jogging listening to the show, and this just added to my exercise high.
You picked great points to highlight his life/career. And I was very struck by your comment about the Jewish reflection on black life in Porgy and Bess.

Your selections were all great. Glad you played Levant in the concerto. Bernstein played that prelude so expressively. The piano song arrangements were superb. The Man I Love was an exquisite high point. These arrangements did justice to these unique songs. Thanks--please stay on wqxr.

Sep. 26 2013 10:36 PM

Enjoying your Gershwin program. Would love to have the same
treatment of Jerome Kern. Showboat has been compared to Mozart.

Sep. 26 2013 08:53 PM
LES from WDC 20036

Can't wait! My favorite. Thx WQXR. Will the program be archived?

Sep. 26 2013 09:15 AM

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