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Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & An American in Paris

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Album Review

George Gershwin is easily one of the greatest and most beloved modern-day composers that America has ever produced. The two pieces on this album, "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris" are indeed two of his greatest compositions, and have been recorded by countless orchestras. Why, then, should a recording by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra be regarded as special? First of all, the performance is spectacular — all of the dynamics and textures in Gershwin's two greatest "hits" are brought to the fore here. Also, conductor Eugene List pulls out all the stops, putting together one of the finest arrangements ever of these classics. But that's not all that's appealing about this record. Cut in 1981, the versions contained here are possibly the first digital recordings ever done of Gershwin's work. Even at this early stage of digital recording, the results are spectacular, and serve the grandeur of George Gershwin's talent. Awesome.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra has roots going all the way back to the 1870s, but was not officially distinguished from its parent organization, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, until 1977. The early Cincinnati orchestra society programmed popular music concerts and that continued with the Cincinnati Symphony, particularly under conductor Max Rudolf, who became its director in 1958. In 1965, Rudolf hired Erich Kunzel as assistant conductor and asked him to conduct the first "8 O'Clock Pops" concert....
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