Thursday, June 2, 2016

Daniel Wayenberg Plays Gershwin & Rachmaninov

When George Gershwin introduced elements and rhythms drawn from popular and traditional American music into classical forms and conventional musical structures, he was not, contrary to what was said and believed during his lifetime, "conferring nobility" on jazz. His sources of inspiration were so far removed from the spirit of true jazz that it was in fact jazz musicians who drew liberally on Gershwin's themes to compose... real jazz ! Gershwin was in fact merely inventing his own style and — perhaps without realizing it — creating a national style, and indeed... American music! The "classics" had nothing but scorn for this "facile, commercial, bastard" music. It was Schoenberg — a "difficult" musician if ever there was one — who, in 1938, was to dispell the misunderstanding fostered by the very people who had commissioned the Rhapsody and the Concerto, and had created these works with the composer as soloist : Paul Whiteman, with his "Symphonic Jazz" band (on 12 March 1924) and Walter Damrosch, at the head of the New York Symphony Society Orchestra, on 3 December 1925. "One should understand, Schoenberg wrote, that whether serious or not, Gershwin was a composer, that is to say a man who lived his life in music and expressed everything through music (...), whether in a superficial or profound manner, for music was his natural language. What he managed to do with rhythm, harmony and melody does not only constitute his style — it is something fundamentally different from the affectation of many a so-called "serious" composer..." Composed in haste, the Rhapsody reflects this in such aspects as its freedom of improvization, and the unexpected and felicitous meeting of ironic, tender or dancing themes - the whole couched in forms inherited from Liszt, yet in the lyrical parts reminiscent of Tchaikovsky. The Concerto in F, on the other hand, with its highly studied aesthetics and traditional cast, reveals a genuine sensitivity to the dynamics of a large city, unleashed by the implacable mechanism of a booming civilization. The Andante, with its share of dreaming and fantasy, provides the essential counterbalance to the frantic rhythm of modern life through a leisurely promenade theme.
Philippe Mougeot (translated by Elizabeth Carroll), from the booklet

Daniel Wayenberg


George Gershwin

Piano Concerto in F Major
1 I. Allegro  13:05
2 II. Adagio - Andante  12:59
3 III. Allegro molto  6:57

4 Rhapsody in Blue  16:13
(Orch. Grofé)

Sergueï Rachmaninov

5 Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, Op. 43  23:31


Daniel Wayenberg - p
[# 1-4]
Louis Menardi - tp
Pierre Gossez - cl
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Georges Prêtre
Recorded at Salle Wagram, Paris ; 1961
[# 5]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Christoph von Dohnanyi
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London ; 1964


Melanchthon said...

woland said...

One of my favorite Gershwin discs. Thank you.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

That's the music I'm grewn up with, so thanks a lot for this fine reminiscence, very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

A Treasure! Thanks so much MM!

Historicus said...

Thanks, great!