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Americana - Adams, Bernstein, Ellington, et al / Rattle

Audio Samples

>Bernstein, Leonard : Story of my life
>     Overture
>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue
>Bernard, Felix : The Dardanella Blues, song
>Donaldson, Walter : Makin' Whoopee
>McPhail, Lindsay : San, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
>Bernstein, Leonard : Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
>Stravinsky, Igor : Ebony Concerto
>     III
>Strayhorn, Billy : Take the A Train
>Ellington, Duke : Sophisticated Lady, song
>Henderson, Luther : That Doo-wah Thing (after Ellington & Mills
>     It Don't Mean a Thing)
>Gershwin, George : Porgy and Bess
>     Summertime
>     It Ain't Necessarily So
>Adams, John : Short Ride in a Fast Machine, fanfare for orchestra

Album Summary

>Bernstein, Leonard : Story of my life
>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue
>Bernard, Felix : The Dardanella Blues, song
>Donaldson, Walter : Makin' Whoopee
>McPhail, Lindsay : San, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
>Bernstein, Leonard : Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
>Stravinsky, Igor : Ebony Concerto
>Strayhorn, Billy : Take the A Train
>Ellington, Duke : Sophisticated Lady, song
>Henderson, Luther : That Doo-wah Thing (after Ellington & Mills
>Gershwin, George : Porgy and Bess
>Adams, John : Short Ride in a Fast Machine, fanfare for orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This new compilation represents over 75 minutes of the very best of Simon Rattle's recordings of American music presented in his unique, exciting and dynamic way. Featured on the album are works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Ellington, Adams and other great American composers of the golden Jazz Age.

Notes & Reviews:

Personnel: Regina Carter (violin); Michael Collins (clarinet); Bobby Ray Watson (alto saxophone); Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone); Clark Terry (trumpet); Geri Allen , Peter Donohoe (piano); Lewis Nash (drums).

Recording information: CTS Studios, London, England (1986-1999); EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England (1986-1999); Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England (1986-1999).

A compilation of earlier released recordings done under the supervision of British classical conductor Simon Rattle, Americana collects pieces by American composers (and one Russian), and is notable for its seamless cohesiveness (it doesn't feel like an anthology at all, but more like a logical, free-flowing sequence) and for being called Americana and not including a single Aaron Copland piece. The emphasis here is on American jazz, and compositions by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin are featured prominently in jazz-classical fusions that work at least as much as they don't. The 16-minute version of Gershwin's classic "Rhapsody in Blue" included here is revealing, and a wonderful exploration of theme at the juncture of jazz and classical; when it works, it opens doors, and when it doesn't, well, it simply fails to swing. Portions of Igor Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto" are included here because of the American jazz sensibilities at the center of the composition, and it works perfectly. Another impressive selection is an obscure Ellington piece called "That Doo-Wah Thing," which manages to do what is so difficult in grafting classical and jazz together: It swings. Combining jazz and classical seems like an easy thing, but it seldom works well, maybe because jazz, with its unbreakable roots in the blues, is too much like Mark Twain's immortal character, Huck Finn, and is a notoriously hard one to dress up all nice and fancy. Still, Americana raises interesting possibilities. ~ Steve Leggett



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Works Details

>Bernstein, Leonard : Story of my life :: Overture
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
  • Running Time: 5 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1953

>Gershwin, George : Rhapsody in Blue
  • Performers: London Sinfonietta (Piano); Peter Donohoe (Piano)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 16 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Bernard, Felix : The Dardanella Blues, song
  • Performer: London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 3 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Donaldson, Walter : Makin' Whoopee
  • Performer: London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 3 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Vocal

>McPhail, Lindsay : San, for voice & piano (or orchestra)
  • Performer: London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 3 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Bernstein, Leonard : Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
  • Performers: Michael Collins (Clarinet); London Sinfonietta (Piano); Peter Donohoe (Piano)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 7 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1949

>Stravinsky, Igor : Ebony Concerto :: III
  • Performers: Michael Collins (Clarinet); London Sinfonietta (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 3 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1945

>Strayhorn, Billy : Take the A Train
  • Performers: City Of Caterpillar (Double Bass); Clark Terry (Trumpet); Geri Allen (Piano); Joe Lovano (Tenor Saxophone); Joshua Redman (Tenor Saxophone); Lewis Nash (Drums); Regina Carter (Violin); Peter Washington (Double Bass); Bobby Watson (Double Bass)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Running Time: 9 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1941

>Ellington, Duke : Sophisticated Lady, song
  • Performers: Geri Allen (Piano); Lewis Nash (Drums); City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Double Bass); Peter Washington (Double Bass); Bobby Watson (Double Bass)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Irving Mills (1894 - 1985), Mitchell Parish (1900 - 1993).
  • Running Time: 5 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1933

>Henderson, Luther : That Doo-wah Thing (after Ellington & Mills :: It Don't Mean a Thing)
  • Performers: City Of Caterpillar (Double Bass); Clark Terry (Trumpet); Geri Allen (Piano); Joe Lovano (Tenor Saxophone); Joshua Redman (Tenor Saxophone); Lewis Nash (Drums); Regina Carter (Violin); Peter Washington (Double Bass); Bobby Watson (Double Bass)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Running Time: 9 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Gershwin, George : Porgy and Bess :: Summertime
  • Performers: Harolyn Blackwell (Voice); The London Philharmonic Orchestra (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Running Time: 3 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1935

>Gershwin, George : Porgy and Bess :: It Ain't Necessarily So
  • Performers: Damon Evans (Tenor); The London Philharmonic Orchestra (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Running Time: 3 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1935

>Adams, John : Short Ride in a Fast Machine, fanfare for orchestra
  • Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Running Time: 4 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1986