31 Mar 2022

GERSHWIN: American in Paris

From Music Alive, 8:03 pm on 31 March 2022

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NZSO Sessions 2022: Rhapsody

Israeli-born conductor and pianist Asher Fisch leads the NZSO in a vibrant programme including Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' and 'American in Paris', Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition', and Dvořák's 'Carnival Overture'. Recorded in the Michael Fowler Centre, in March 2022.

George Gershwin

George Gershwin Photo: Public Domain

Gershwin spent some time in Paris in 1926 studying orchestration under Maurice Ravel and together they worked out a rough sketch for a new tone-poem.  It lay almost forgotten until George returned to Paris for a holiday in 1928, when he orchestrated and put the finishing touches to An American in Paris.  The work’s colourful orchestration includes four saxophones and several taxi horns, and is intended to portray the impressions of an American visitor to Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere.  The melancholic blues theme, introduced by the solo trumpet, suggests a sudden bout of homesickness which is eventually dispelled by the irresistible gaiety of Parisian life.

George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, completed during his 1928 visit to Paris during which he came into contact with Prokofiev and Diaghelev, amongst other famous figures.  The work was premiered in New York’s Carnegie Hall later that year.

David Houston, music producer
Darryl Stack, engineer