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Lang Lang - American Classics, "New York Rhapsody", Works by Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, Mancini, Danny Elfman, and more / Lang Lang, piano

Album Summary

>Copland, Aaron : Our Town
>Potter, Craig : New York Morning, song
>Sewell-Ulepic, Janet : Empire State of Mind, song
>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue, for piano & orchestra (orchestrated by F. Grofé)
>Kortchmar, Danny : New York Minute
>Klein, Larry : Somewhere (Dirty Blvd.), song (after Bernstein & Reed)
>Elfman, Danny : Spider-Man
>Bernstein, Leonard : West Side Story
>Mancini, Henry : Breakfast at Tiffany's
>Copland, Aaron : In Evening Air, for piano (arr. from film "The Cummington Story)
Performers Conductors Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

An homage to New York, the city that defined 20th-century music. Includes Gershwin's classic Rhapsody in Blue as well as "Empire State of Mind", "New York Minute" and "Tonight". Produced by the legendary Grammy Award®-winning producer Larry Klein. Featuring guest artists Andra Day, Herbie Hancock, Jason Isbell, Jeffrey Wright, Jerry Douglas, Kandace Springs, Lindsey Stirling, Lisa Fischer, Madeleine Peyroux, and Sean Jones. PBS special, Lang Lang's New York Rhapsody filmed at Lincoln Center and featuring special guests to air nationwide starting in November. Tour Dates throughout the U.S. in the fall.

As it has wowed musicians for over a century, the magic of New York City fired the imagination of superstar pianist Lang Lang who is joined by a one-of-a-kind cast of collaborating artists for the creation of his new album, New York Rhapsody. From the haunting reveries of Gershwin and Copland to the in-the-moment intensity of songs made famous by Alicia Keys, Lou Reed and Don Henley, New York Rhapsody rediscovers the dazzle and the soul of America's most symbolic city as great artists have imagined them. Lang Lang with Grammy Award®-winning producer Larry Klein have assembled an album that embraces the musical spirit of New York in ways both surprising and traditional. The centerpiece of New York Rhapsody is inevitably Rhapsody in Blue that features Lang Lang and jazz legend Herbie Hancock in a two-piano recreation of Gershwin's most popular work with the London Symphony Orchestra. Surrounding it are creative collaborations with Lang Lang anchoring each track that reimagine songs reflecting the varying moods and experiences New York offers. Other guest artists include Andra Day, Jason Isbell, Jeffrey Wright, Lindsey Stirling, Madeleine Peyroux, Kandace Springs, Sean Jones, Jerry Douglas and Lisa Fischer. PBS will air Lang Lang's New York Rhapsody filmed at Lincoln Center and featuring special guests. The concert will be aired as a rare "Common Carriage" show which means the premiere will be aired on all PBS stations nationwide on November 25, 2016 with repeats continuing throughout the month of December.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: 80 Hertz Studios, Manchester, England; Abbey Road, Studio One, London, England; Henson Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Jungle City Studios, New York City, NY; Minutia Studios, Nashville, TN; MSR Studios, New York City, NY; Q Division Studios, Boston, MA; Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN; Strange Cargo, Los Angeles, CA; The Village, Los Angeles, CA; Tom-Tom Studios, Budapest, Hungary.

This Sony Classical release presents superstar pianist Lang Lang in a new role: that of pop accompanist. The album consists of a set of songs about New York (thankfully, "New York, New York" is omitted), featuring not only likely pop suspects like Madeleine Peyroux, but such novelties as alt-country songwriter Jason Isbell in a creditable reading of "New York Morning." Perhaps the most unlikely item is Lou Reed's "Dirty Blvd.," mashed with "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) and sung by Jeffrey Wright and Lisa Fischer, respectively. It may all make you ask exactly why this needed to be done, and the answer would be that the whole thing is suited to the kind of high-ticket concert evening where the money is in classical music these days. The producer is none other than Larry Klein, ex-husband of Joni Mitchell, and he and arranger Vince Mendoza craft textures that weave everything together reasonably well. Better still is the main attraction, which makes this worth the price of admission: the Gershwin two-piano version of Rhapsody in Blue here actually manages to add something to the voluminous recorded literature of that work. The second piano is played by Herbie Hancock, 76 years old when the album appeared in 2016, and still in fine form. He adds some jazz to his part, in a way that Gershwin would have enjoyed (it's not too far from what Gershwin does in his own Songbook version), and in this selection, the two players come alive in the interplay. If the stars here attract you, by all means proceed, and aficionados of Rhapsody in Blue will find something fresh here as well. ~ James Manheim



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Works Details

>Copland, Aaron : Our Town :: Story of
  • Performers: Larry Klein (Keyboards); Lang Lang (Piano)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1944

>Potter, Craig : New York Morning, song
  • Performers: Vinnie Colaiuta (Drums); Thomas Dybdahl (Keyboards); Jason Isbell (Voice); Larry Klein (Keyboards); Lang Lang (Piano)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Mark Potter, Richard Jupp, Guy Garvey (1974 - ), Peter Turner.
  • Running Time: 5 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Sewell-Ulepic, Janet : Empire State of Mind, song
  • Performers: Vinnie Colaiuta (Drums); Andra Day (Voice); Lang Lang (Piano)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), Alexander William Shuckburgh, Alicia Keys (1981 - ), Sylvia Robinson (1936 - 2011), Angela Hunte, Bert Keyes (died 1987).
  • Running Time: 5 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue, for piano & orchestra (orchestrated by F. Grofé)
  • Performers: Herbie Hancock (Piano); Lang Lang (Piano)
  • Conductor: John Axelrod
  • Running Time: 21 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Kortchmar, Danny : New York Minute
  • Performers: Vinnie Colaiuta (Drums); Lang Lang (Piano); Kandace Springs (Voice)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Don Henley (1947 - ), Jai Winding.
  • Running Time: 6 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Klein, Larry : Somewhere (Dirty Blvd.), song (after Bernstein & Reed)
  • Performers: Jayson Desuzio (Programming); Thomas Dybdahl (Keyboards); Lisa Fischer (Voice); Amy Keys (Voice); Lang Lang (Piano); Jeffrey Wright (Voice)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Billy Childs (1957 - ).
  • Running Time: 8 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Elfman, Danny : Spider-Man :: Theme
  • Performers: Thomas Dybdahl (Keyboards); Lang Lang (Piano); Lindsey Stirling (Voice)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Running Time: 4 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Film Score
  • Written: 2002

>Bernstein, Leonard : West Side Story
  • Performers: Vinnie Colaiuta (Drums); Sean Jones; Sean Jones (Voice); Lang Lang (Piano)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Running Time: 4 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1957

>Mancini, Henry : Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Performers: Jerry Douglas (Dobro); Lang Lang (Piano); Madeleine Peyroux (Voice)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Running Time: 5 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Copland, Aaron : In Evening Air, for piano (arr. from film "The Cummington Story)
  • Performer: Lang Lang (Piano)
  • Conductor: Péter Illényi
  • Running Time: 3 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1966