Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Manhattan Melody

If Copeland's Apalachian Spring represents the open spaces of America, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue represents her big cities, and none more perhaps than Manhattan in the 20s The two together are about all you need for a complete understanding of the USA. Where Copeland captures (even if he didn't mean to) the essence of farm folk of the Mid West, Gershwin in just over 16 minutes of glorious, riotous, heart warming music captures the chutzpah, exuberance, hopes and dreams of a generation of city dwellers.

The Columbia Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Bernstein directing from the piano (82876 78768 2) are magnificent from the first extraordinary clarinet solo, through some amazing and vibrant brass sections right through to the end. Bernstein plays with great feeling and passion, but for my money doesn't quite match the orchestra's gutsy playing.

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