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ChristopherSchlegel

Gershwin Piano Roll CDs

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In much the same vein as the "Window in Time" Rachmaninoff CDs, there is also a version of George Gershwin playing his own works & the works of other composers. In Rachmaninoff's case the other composers are mostly classical (one interesing exception is his own arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner"). In Gershwin's case the other composers are jazz & early 20th century popular music. Whereas the Rachmaninoff CDs are "realized" by Wayne Stahnke, the Gershwin "realizations" were done by Artis Wodehouse. Both are outstanding pieces of work.

Essentially, Rachmaninoff & Gershwin both "recorded" piano rolls for player pianos. Within the last 10 years these rolls were then scanned & transfered to a computer program that was then used to reproduce them on an electronic reproducing piano. It's sounds much better than you might imagine & in a way it is actually them performing.

Gershwin's recordings of his works on Amazon

Gershwin's recordings of other composers works on Amazon

Rachmaninoff's recordings of his own works on TowerRecords

Rachmaninoff's recordings of other composers on TowerRecords

I have them all, they are wonderful (or in the case of the Gershwin CDs - s'wonderful!). I have CDs of Rachmaninoff & Gershwin that are actual audio recordings & they are fabulous, but frustrating to a certain extent because of the poor recording quality of the time.

Obviously, Rachmaninoff's works are much more serious & finely constructed objects. However, the Gershwin CDs offer not only a chance to get a better impression of his actual skill level (which is quite impressive), but also to hear the unbridled joy, unstoppable optimistic-gung-ho-can-do-spirit & unrestrained benevolence of early 20th century American music. & performed by one it's primary craftsman! Some of the pieces have more than one "layer" of piano playing (essentially a early form of multi-track recording). One of these is "Rhapsody in Blue"; it is astounding to hear it in this form. Another is "An American in Paris" & it is practically unbelievable how good it is. Gershwin was not the performer on this last tune; it was Frank Milne. Nevertheless, it is still a Gershwin composition, one of his best in my estimation & a welcome addition on the CD.

Also, for whatever it's worth, the tune "Sweet & Lowdown" on my Recital page is based on the Gershwin tune (& specific solo piano version) on one of these CDs. Man, that's good stuff.

Happy listening.

Christopher

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Too bad the Gershwin piano rolls don't include "Rialto Ripples"!

THERE'S some "tiddlywink music" for you! :)

Remember the version Ernie Kovacs used as theme music, on TV?

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"Rialto Ripples"...Remember the version Ernie Kovacs used as theme music, on TV?

No, I don't! I have seen a few segments of Kovacs' amusing, inventive TV shows but never a "whole episode".

It does seem a great fit.

Thanks for that interesting tidbit, Bill.

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