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The Gershwin & Bernstein Connection


Composers: George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein
Performed by: Eliane Rodrigues (piano), Nina Smeets (piano), Carlo Willems (percussion) and Koen Wilmaers (percussion)
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 May 2019

Piano virtuoso Eliane Rodrigues returns with her latest Navona Records release, The Gershwin & Bernstein Connection, a new look at timeless pieces by legendary American composers. Together with talented artists including her daughter, pianist Nina Smeets, Rodrigues performs Gershwin’s 'Rhapsody in Blue', an arrangement of symphonic dances from Bernstein’s 'West Side Story' and Gershwin’s 'Concerto in F'...

I've lost count of the number of classical albums in my music library that include 'Rhapsody in Blue'. For me, it's become a track I no longer enjoy... I've heard it so many times that it has become rather dull and flat.

What I totally loved about The Gershwin & Bernstein Connection is that it takes familiar and often done to death pieces and presents them in a way that is impossible to ignore. On this recording 'Rhapsody in Blue' feels as fresh and captivating as it did the first time I heard it.

It's obvious that not only are the performers having a ball and really getting a kick out of working together, but that they are totally in love with the pieces they are playing. 'Concerto in F - Allegro' is a particularly energetic and frenetic piece and the barely noticeable stumbles help to make this sound raw and almost spontaneous. Likewise, the 'Symphonic Dances from West Side Story' sound contemporary and very fresh.

It's a bold and very brave individual who would tackle these well known pieces and "dare" to put their own spin on them. For me, this has made me appreciate the originals even more. These new recordings are not to be missed.

Track listing:

George Gershwin
01 - Rhapsody in Blue (19:37)
Arr. for percussion C. Willems & K. Wilmaers
Arr. for 2 pianos E. Rodrigues & N. Smeets, based on the original score Molto Moderato - Moderato Assai - Poco Agitato - Tempo giusto - Meno Mosso e poco scherzando - Andantino Moderato, con espressione - Agitato e Misterioso - Molto Sletando - Agitato – Grandioso - Molto Alargando

Leonard Bernstein
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Arr. for percussion Peter Sadlo
Arr. for 2 pianos E. Rodrigues & N. Smeets, based on the arr. of John Musto
02 - Prologue (Allegro Moderato) (3:58)
03 - Somewhere (Adagio) (4:19)
04 - Scherzo (Vivace e leggiero) (1:17)
05 - Mambo (Meno Presto) (2:24)
06 - Cha-cha (Andantino con grazia) (1:02)
07 - Meeting Scene (Meno mosso) (0:55)
08 - Cool (0:40)
09 - Fugue (Allegretto) (2:56)
10 - Rumble (Molto Allegro) (2:02)
11 - Finale (Adagio) (3:14)

George Gershwin
Concerto in F
Arr. percussion Thomas Schindl
Arr. 2 pianos E. Rodrigues & N. Smeets, based on the original score
12 - Allegro (13:54)
13 - Adagio (12:49)
14 - Allegro Agitato (6:58)


Darren Rea

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