egroj world: George Gershwin • Piano Rolls

domingo, 22 de julio de 2018

George Gershwin • Piano Rolls

Review by Scott Yanow
George Gershwin made 130 piano rolls between 1916-1927; 28 were recorded and released in 1998 on two Nonesuch CDs. This particular release has quite a few obscure Gershwin songs, including his very first tune, "When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em, When You've Got 'Em, You Don't Want 'Em." Certainly such tunes as "Novelette in Fourths," "So Am I," and "Idle Dreams" are long forgotten but worth reviving. Among the other highlights of the fascinating and highly enjoyable recital are "Sweet and Lowdown," "Swanee" and a 14-minute rendition of "Rhapsody in Blue." The 1933 item is a bit unusual, for it is a two-piano rendition of "An American in Paris" that lasts over 16 minutes and was arranged by Frank Milne. Well worth exploring.

 Editorial Reviews:
Imagine hearing George Gershwin play his own compositions in pristine sound! Pianist/scholar Artis Wodehouse transferred the rarest and most desirable of the over 130 piano rolls Gershwin made for player piano to the Yamaha Disklavier, which reproduced Gershwin's own performances on a 9-foot concert grand (or, in the case of American in Paris , two concert grands!).

1. Sweet And Lowdown
2. Novelette In Fourths
3. That Certain Feeling
4. So Am I
5. Rhapsody In Blue
6. Swanee
7. When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em...
8. Kickin' The Clouds Away
9. Idol Dreams
10. On My Mind The Whole Night Long
11. Scandal Walk
12. An American In Paris

Performer [Pianola Operated By], Other [Booklet Notes By] – Artis Wodehouse
Producer, Engineer – Max Wilcox
Songwriter, Arranged By [Piano Rolls] – George Gershwin
Technician [Player Piano Simulation Programmed By] – Richard Brandle
Technician [Rolls Converted By] – Richard Tonnesen

Reconstruction of George Gershwin's own piano playing, using piano rolls that he arranged himself between 1916 and 1933.

Produced and engineered between November 1992 and June 1993 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City.
Original piano rolls courtesy of Keystone Music Roll Company.

Arrangement of track 12 is originally credited to "Milne and Leith", which is in reality only one person. The complexity of the arrangement would have required a four-handed piano performance, which Milne faked by also giving credits to his own pseudonym "Leith".

Some piano rolls were played back by a 1911 Pianola vorsetzer (operated by Wodehouse), which in turn operated a 9-foot Yamaha Disklavier grand piano. Other rolls were converted to MIDI files (by Tonnesen and Brandle), which could be fed directly to the Disklavier.
The Disklavier's performance is what is recorded on this release.

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