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Henry Mancini (1924-1994): Peter Gunn; Gershwin: By Grofé / Lincoln Mayorga, piano; Harmonie Ensemble NY, Steven Richman

Album Summary

>Gershwin, George : Girl Crazy
>Gershwin, George : Yankee Doodle Rhythm, song (from Strike Up the Band)
>Gershwin, George : That Certain Feeling, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
>Gershwin, George : George White's Scandals of 1924
>Gershwin, George : Sweet and Low-Down, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
>Gershwin, George : I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise, song (from George White's Scandals of 1922)
>Gershwin, George : Strike up the Band
>Oler, Newell : Fascinating Rhythm
>Gershwin, George : Porgy and Bess
>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue
>Mancini, Henry : Peter Gunn, television score
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This CD Plus Catalog release pairs albums of music by two iconic American composers. On Music for Peter Gunn, the GRAMMY®-nominated Harmonie Ensemble / New York places their stamp on Mancini's iconic orchestrations for the classic TV detective series. Gershwin By Grofé is a swinging set of symphonic jazz orchestrations penned by composer and arranger Ferde Grofé in the 1920's for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. The disc's main event is a red-hot performance of the original jazz band version of the immortal Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Lincoln Mayorga.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City (04/2004); The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State Uni (04/2004); The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City (04/2006); The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State Uni (04/2006); The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City (05/2007); The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State Uni (05/2007); The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City (06/2012); The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State Uni (06/2012).

This Harmonia Mundi double album combines two earlier releases by the Harmonie Ensemble of New York and its director, Steven Richman; these musicians specialize in American crossover music of the 20th century. It's one of those cases where, even beyond the monetary benefit, the pair is better than the individual releases. Henry Mancini's music for Peter Gunn has a rightfully famous theme, but much of the score is pretty generic jazz. Mancini benefits, however, from juxtaposition with Gershwin, who was certainly one of his ancestors. Consider the theme, which manages to use rock & roll heavily without being rock & roll at all (much as tanguero Astor Piazzolla, who met Gershwin as a teen in 1930s New York, did in his own rock experiments). It's not hard to imagine that Gershwin would have loved this. The Gershwin disc includes unusual material: orchestrations of Gershwin's music mostly by Ferde Grofé, done for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra that premiered the original jazz band version of the Rhapsody in Blue at Whiteman's "Experiment in Modern Music" concert in 1924. Grofé also arranged numerous Gershwin songs for Whiteman's jazz orchestra, and these arrangements are well worth a revival. In the main, they smooth out the rhythms of Gershwin's very jazzy tunes, but they contain many ingenious touches in the orchestration. The arrangements were written for a fairly large group of 15 or more players, and they do live up to the designation of "symphonic jazz" to which Whiteman aspired. Sample Fascinating Rhythm (track 9), whose rhythm is a little less fascinating than usual, but that has a variety of sonorities of the kind Duke Ellington would soon cultivate. Recommended for Gershwin fans, and full of insights about his world. ~ James Manheim



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Works Details

>Gershwin, George : Girl Crazy
  • Performer: Lincoln Mayorga (Piano)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 8 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Gershwin, George : Yankee Doodle Rhythm, song (from Strike Up the Band)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 3 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1927

>Gershwin, George : That Certain Feeling, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 2 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1925

>Gershwin, George : George White's Scandals of 1924
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 2 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Gershwin, George : Sweet and Low-Down, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 2 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1925

>Gershwin, George : I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise, song (from George White's Scandals of 1922)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1922

>Gershwin, George : Strike up the Band
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 5 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Oler, Newell : Fascinating Rhythm :: Variations, arranged for solo piano (after Gershwin)
  • Performer: Alfred Gallodoro (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 3 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gershwin, George : Porgy and Bess
  • Performers: Alfred Gallodoro (Clarinet); Lincoln Mayorga (Piano)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 4 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1935

>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue
  • Performers: Alfred Gallodoro (Clarinet); Lincoln Mayorga (Piano)
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 15 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Mancini, Henry : Peter Gunn, television score
  • Conductor: Steven Richman
  • Ensemble: Harmonie Ensemble New York
  • Running Time: 2 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern