George Gershwin (1898-1937) [composer Of The Week]

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Piano Magic20181231

Donald Macleod focuses on George Gershwin's early life and love of the piano.

When he was a child, Gershwin's mother Rose, aspiring to upward-mobility, decided the family needed a piano, and that her Ira would learn to play it. But it was the hoisting up and in through the window of the family’s Lower East Side apartment, of a second-hand upright, bought on the instalment plan, which, literally, opened a window on a new world for Ira’s younger brother George. From his beginnings as a song plugger and jobbing accompanist to his own performances of his own concert works, the piano is at the centre of Gershwin's life and music.

Summertime
The Glyndebourne Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

That Certain Feeling
Joanna MacGregor Piano

Three Preludes
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Piano Concerto in F
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Andre Previn, conductor

Has Anyone Seen Joe
Barbara Hendricks, soprano
Katia & Marielle Labeque, pianos

Produced in Cardiff by Martin Williams

Donald Macleod focuses on George Gershwin's early life and love of the piano

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01Piano Magic20181231

Donald Macleod focuses on George Gershwin's early life and love of the piano.

When he was a child, Gershwin's mother Rose, aspiring to upward-mobility, decided the family needed a piano, and that her Ira would learn to play it. But it was the hoisting up and in through the window of the family’s Lower East Side apartment, of a second-hand upright, bought on the instalment plan, which, literally, opened a window on a new world for Ira’s younger brother George. From his beginnings as a song plugger and jobbing accompanist to his own performances of his own concert works, the piano is at the centre of Gershwin's life and music.

Summertime
The Glyndebourne Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

That Certain Feeling
Joanna MacGregor Piano

Three Preludes
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Piano Concerto in F
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Andre Previn, conductor

Has Anyone Seen Joe
Barbara Hendricks, soprano
Katia & Marielle Labeque, pianos

Produced in Cardiff by Martin Williams

Donald Macleod focuses on George Gershwin's early life and love of the piano

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02The Voice of the American Soul20190102

Donald Macleod on George Gershwin and jazz. For many, George Gershwin was the foremost composer of the "jazz age" and it's through jazz-inflected interpretations that his music has reached its widest audience. In this programme Donald Macleod explores Gershwin's relationship with the then-nascent and evolving music of jazz.

The Real American Folk Song
The Kings Singers
George Shearing, piano
Neil Swainson, bass

Fascinating Rhythm
Ella Fitzgerald
Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra

Embraceable You
Herbie Hancock, piano

I Got Rhythm
Stephane Grappelli, violin
Django Reinhardt, guitar

I Got Rhythm Variations
Wayne Marshall, piano

Summertime
Miles Davis, trumptet
Gil Evans, arranger

Someone to Watch Over Me
Blossom Dearie, piano

Rhapsody in Blue
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
James Judd, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Martin Williams

Donald Macleod on George Gershwin and jazz

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03In The Concert Hall20190103

Donald Macleod tells the story of Gershwin's excursions in the concert hall. George Gershwin never really understood why so many people – then, as now – insist on putting popular and classical music in hermetic compartments. After the immense success of Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin gave more time to concert music. He may have been the toast of Broadway, but his attempts to move musically out of the theatre district and into the hallowed portals of the city’s concert halls were, despite some successes, constantly frustrated and a source of disappointment to him.

Second Rhapsody
Prague Philharmonia
Andrew Von Oeyen, piano
Emmanuel Villaume, conductor

American in Paris
Cleveland Orchestra
Ricardo Chailly, conductor

Strike Up the Band Overture
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

Cuban Overture
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
James Judd, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Martin Williams

Donald Macleod tells the story of Gershwin's excursions in the concert hall.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Final Curtain20190104

Donald Macleod charts George Gershwin's final years. In the summer of 1934, Gershwin settled in for a long stay in Charleston, South Carolina, renting a ramshackle beach cottage on Folly Island, a barrier island off the coast: no running water, no telephone and sand crabs everywhere. He shipped in an upright piano and delighted in his visits to local churches, where he joined in, enthusiastically, with some of the more exuberant moments of congregational participation. It was this period in which he finally formulated his magnum opus, the opera Porgy and Bess.

My Man's Gone Now
Jascha Heifetz, violin
Emanuel Bay, piano

I Got Plenty of Nothin'
Cleveland Orchestra & Chorus
Lorin Maazel, conductor

Bess, You Is My Woman Now
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
Andre Previn, piano

It Aint Necessarily So
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

I Loves You Porgy
Keith Jarrett, piano

Catfish Row Suite
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Martin Williams

Donald Macleod charts George Gershwin's final years.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.