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Gershwin Fantasy / Joshua Bell, John Williams, London SO

Audio Samples

>Courage, Alexander : Fantasy on Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", for violin & orchestra
>Gershwin, George : Preludes (3) for piano
>Gershwin, George : Girl Crazy
>Gershwin, George : Nice Work If You Can Get It, song (from A Damsel in Distress, film)
>Gershwin, George : Show Girl
>Gershwin, George : But Not for Me, song (from Girl Crazy, musical)
>Gershwin, George : Sweet and Low-Down, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
>Gershwin, George : Goldwyn Follies

Album Summary

>Courage, Alexander : Fantasy on Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", for violin & orchestra
>Gershwin, George : Preludes (3) for piano
>Gershwin, George : Girl Crazy
>Gershwin, George : Nice Work If You Can Get It, song (from A Damsel in Distress, film)
>Gershwin, George : Show Girl
>Gershwin, George : But Not for Me, song (from Girl Crazy, musical)
>Gershwin, George : Sweet and Low-Down, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
>Gershwin, George : Goldwyn Follies
Performers Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The centerpiece of this collection is the "Porgy and Bess Fantasy", arranged by composer Alexander Courage (composer of the original "Star Trek" theme). Bell contributed many of his own embellishments, including a cadenza leading to the finale. Composer/conductor John Williams joins Bell as pianist in the Three Preludes transcribed by Jasha Heifetz. -H&B

Notes & Reviews:

This disc was nominated for the 1999 Grammy Award for "Best Classical Crossover Album." It is also available in mini-disc format.

Personnel: Joshua Bell (violin); John Williams (piano).

Recording information: EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England.

Jascha Heifetz asked George Gershwin to compose a violin work, but the composer's early death prevented what would no doubt have been a fruitful collaboration. Whether Alexander Courage's 'Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra on "Porgy and Bess"' is "as close as we can get to the violin concerto Gershwin never wrote," as Joshua Bell says, is certainly a point for debate. Courage, composer of the original 'Star Trek' theme, was asked by conductor John Williams to assemble the fantasy and the result is a showpiece for violin which uses eight songs from 'Porgy and Bess.' The work is a successful vehicle for the soloist: Bell's Stradivarius sings as he glides through the passagework with ease.

GERSHWIN FANTASY also includes Heifetz's violin-piano arrangement of Gershwin's 'Three Preludes for Piano' and new violin-orchestra arrangements of six more Gershwin tunes. The song arrangements, two by Jonathan Tunick and the rest by William David Brohn, are nicely varied and allow Gershwin and Bell equal footing. Gershwin himself makes an appearance in "Sweet and Low-Down": the arrangement includes a piano roll the composer made of the tune.



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Works Details

>Courage, Alexander : Fantasy on Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", for violin & orchestra
  • Performers: Joshua Bell; Joshua Bell (Violin)
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 20 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Gershwin, George : Preludes (3) for piano
  • Performers: John Williams (Piano); Joshua Bell; Joshua Bell (Violin)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Gershwin, George : Girl Crazy
  • Performers: Joshua Bell; Joshua Bell (Violin)
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 4 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Gershwin, George : Girl Crazy
  • Performers: Joshua Bell; Joshua Bell (Violin)
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 4 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Gershwin, George : Nice Work If You Can Get It, song (from A Damsel in Distress, film)
  • Performers: Joshua Bell (Violin); Joshua Bell
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 3 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Gershwin, George : Show Girl
  • Performers: Joshua Bell; Joshua Bell (Violin)
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 3 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1929

>Gershwin, George : But Not for Me, song (from Girl Crazy, musical)
  • Performers: Joshua Bell (Violin); Joshua Bell
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Gershwin, George : Sweet and Low-Down, song (from Tip-Toes, musical)
  • Performers: Joshua Bell (Violin); Joshua Bell
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 3 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1925

>Gershwin, George : Goldwyn Follies
  • Performers: Joshua Bell (Violin); Joshua Bell
  • Conductor: John Williams
  • Running Time: 3 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937