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Benjamin Grosvenor: Rhapsody in Blue


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Benjamin Grosvenor: Rhapsody in Blue + Chopin, Liszt, Ravel + Dances
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Editorial Reviews

The three principal works that Benjamin Grosvenor has chosen for his first concerto album complement each
other perfectly. The urbane charm and dazzling virtuosity of Saint-Saens lead naturally on to the brittle brilliance
and dry wit of his fellow Frenchman Ravel. Ravels distinctly jazzy G major Concerto was written soon after hed
met Gershwin, and just a few years after the great Broadway songsmith had so spectacularly gatecrashed his
way into the classical world with his syncopated, note-bending Rhapsody in Blue.

Rhapsody in Blue needs neither verbal advocacy nor apology from me, says Benjamin Grosvenor. It s simply
a work of rapturous inventiveness a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, as Gershwin himself called
it.

In his new recording, Benjamin Grosvenor puts aside the large and less wieldy symphonic version in favour
of the original jazz-band arrangement that Ferde Grofe made for the works 1924 premiere, given by Gershwin
himself with the Paul Whiteman Band. Its a more intimate version, says Grosvenor, very colourful and
extremely interesting it even includes a banjo, which adds a unique sound.

As for the two French concertos, theyre very much part of a personal crusade: Ive often felt that the French piano repertoire is underrated or that its judged as no more than opulent mood-music or pictures in sound, but I ve adored the Ravel and Saint-Saens concertos from the first time I heard them.

The CD also features Benjamin Grosvenor playing three solo encores, one from each composer represented.
For Saint-Saens, hes chosen Leopold Godowskys deliciously free transcription of The Swan, the famous
cello solo from The Carnival of the Animals. Ravel is represented by a brief Prelude that he wrote in 1913 as
a sight-reading test for students at the Paris Conservatoire. And, to end the CD, there s Gershwins immortal
song Love Walked In in a piano transcription by his friend, the eccentric and eclectic Australian-born
pianist composer Percy Grainger, who created it specifically to serve as an encore for his own performances of
Gershwins Piano Concerto and Rhapsody in Blue.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22 - 1. Andante sostenuto10:25Album Only
listen  2. Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22 - 2. Allegro scherzando 5:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22 - 3. Presto 6:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Saint-Saëns: The Carnival of the Animals (Grande Fantaisie Zoölogique) - Arr. Godowsky - The Swan 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Ravel: Piano Concerto in G - 1. Allegramente 8:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Ravel: Piano Concerto in G - 2. Adagio assai 8:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Ravel: Piano Concerto in G - 3. Presto 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Ravel: Prélude in A Minor 1:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue14:50Album Only
listen10. I. Gershwin: Love Walked In 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Benjamin Grosvenor
  • Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: James Judd
  • Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Maurice Ravel, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin
  • Audio CD (February 5, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Records
  • ASIN: B0086ALXQG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,691 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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BENJAMIN GROSVENOR – BIOGRAPHY
“The 21-year-old British star proved beyond a doubt the pure-gold quality of his sonic imagination and his ability to realise it. He can transport his listeners to new dimensions.”
International Piano (London), 17 October 2013
“. . . Grosvenor is the most mesmerising young pianist Britain has produced for decades . . . what ... Read more in Amazon's Benjamin Grosvenor Store

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
89%
4 star
11%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 9 customer reviews
You will enjoy the music.
Fleabus
He seems at home in most periods of music and yet he brings a fresh stance to everything he does.
Grady Harp
Decca has done its usual fine job with recording, and this disc is well worth your time.
Bruce A. Mcdonald

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2013
Format: Audio CD
There is something about the robust manner of looking at life that comes forth in the music as performed and programmed by the young (he is only 19 years old!) intensely talented British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. He seems at home in most periods of music and yet he brings a fresh stance to everything he does. This charming recording is a fine example of that.

Grosvenor performs George Gershwin's evergreen Rhapsody in Blue but instead of the `big concert hall' approach he instead elects to play the original jazz-band arrangement that Ferde Grofe made for the works 1924 premiere, given by Gershwin himself with the Paul Whiteman Band. It is this kind of honesty and intimacy that Grosvenor paints his performance and he is ably supported by a reduced Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of James Judd. And in keeping with the thematic concept of this album, Grosvenor offers a Gershwin encore - the truly beautiful `Love Walked In' in Percy Grainger's own transcription/arrangement.

The jazz theme is further captured by the programming of Ravel's Piano Concerto No. 2 in G and Grosvenor plunges into the idiomatic feeling of the work with complete control yet with a droll sense of humor. The Ravel encore piece is the rarely heard Prelude in A minor; Grosvenor's French sound makes this very brief (1 ½ minute) piece breathe.

The French repertoire is continued with the Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22, which offers us the opportunity to appreciate the dexterity of this young pianist's fingers coupled with a very mature approach to the aura of French romantic sound. His encore here? The Swan (Le Cygne) from Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals in Leopold Godowsky's transcription for the piano.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Porres on February 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One may listen to the entirely of the album and enjoy it immensely, only to be caught completely off-guard and moved to tears by Grosvenor's incredible interpretation of the Grainger arrangement of Loved Walked In. This is magic in the making and we're blessed that he's but 20 years old.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bruce A. Mcdonald on May 16, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
GRAMOPHONE gave this disc a rave review, and i can see why. Grosvenor is only 22, but his playing shows a musical maturity beyond his years. The RHAPSODY IN BLUE, always enjoyable, receives a fine performance, but even more enjoyable is the witty and superbly played Saint-Saens 2nd piano concerto. Decca has done its usual fine job with recording, and this disc is well worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Lamm on September 30, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I put off getting this recording, in part because I didn't think I really needed another recording of Rhapsody in Blue. And, in fact, that's the weakest track on this recording - solely due to the fact that I'm not crazy about the "jazz version" used on the recording rather than to any weakness on the part of young Mr. Grosvenor. Frankly, based on this recording, I don't think he has any weaknesses.

When listening to this recording, it's hard if not impossible to imagine that the pianist is a mere 21 years old (OK, maybe by now he's 22, but he's still a baby). But man oh man, can this kid play the ivories! His touch is light, almost ephemerally magical, in various passages, but he's capable of strong, emotional playing as well. I'd love to hear him in so many other concertos - Shostakovich, Liszt and so on.

What a find!
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Gifted musician playing both serious classics popular jazz. He is also a charming young man. ...
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