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  • Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls, Vol. 1
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Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls, Vol. 1


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Audio CD, November 9, 1993
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Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls, Vol. 1 + Gershwin Plays Rhapsody in Blue
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 9, 1993)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J1I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,345 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sweet And Lowdown
2. Novelette In Fourths
3. That Certain Feeling
4. So Am I
5. Rhapsody In Blue
6. Swanee
7. When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em...
8. Kickin' The Clouds Away
9. Idol Dreams
10. On My Mind The Whole Night Long
11. Scandal Walk
12. An American In Paris

Editorial Reviews

Imagine hearing George Gershwin play his own compositions in pristine sound! Pianist/scholar Artis Wodehouse transferred the rarest and most desirable of the over 130 piano rolls Gershwin made for player piano to the Yamaha Disklavier, which reproduced Gershwin's own performances on a 9-foot concert grand (or, in the case of American in Paris , two concert grands!).

Customer Reviews

The sound quality of this CD is unbeatable.
D. P. McClure
Inexplicably, George Gershwin's solo piano music has languished under the radar.
The Delite Rancher
I can still hear the wonderful music putting me to sleep.
Patricia G. Stolp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on January 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Once upon a time in America, player pianos -- which were modified pianos with internal mechanisms that read "piano rolls" very much like computers today read, say, CD-ROM discs -- were "the" big thing in popular American music. I first saw one at the Miami Museum of Science many years ago, and I was enthralled by what (to a 12-year-old boy) was a pretty neat sight -- a piano that played by itself! At the time, Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" rag was in vogue (The Sting had been a big hit movie at the time), and I stayed at that part of the museum, listening to the melody from a long-gone era and watching the keyboard move as if a ghost had decided the museum was too darned quiet and wanted to hear some happy tunes of the past.
George Gershwin grew up in the early part of the 20th Century and thus had first-hand experience with player pianos, as the liner notes by Artis Woodhouse explain in "Gershwin Plays Gershwin," a 12-track collection of piano rolls arranged and performed by Gershwin, whose short life (he, like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, died before reaching his 40th year) nevertheless left behind a rich musical legacy for lovers of American pop, jazz, and even classical music with such works as "Rhapsody in Blue," "An American in Paris," "Porgy and Bess," "Girl Crazy," and "Someone to Watch Over Me."
"Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris," which are normally performed by pianists accompanied by big orchestras, are perhaps the best known works to the general audience; they are often performed by symphony orchestras during "pops" concerts in the summer and, in the case of "Rhapsody in Blue," used in television commercials and movies. (To this day, I can't listen to "Rhapsody in Blue" without thinking of United Airlines' "Fly the friendly skies" ad campaign.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These recordings are based upon Duoart Piano Rolls Gershwin made around 1924.
In the twenties, player pianos were all the rage. They were, and still are, a technological wonder.
However.
The standard player piano is not capable of any expression. Across the entire keyboard, each and every note is played at the same level of force and volume. That is the reason that music played on run of the mill player pianos tends to sound somewhat automatic/artificial.
The Reproducing Piano (for which Gershwin cut these rolls) is a horse of a very different color. Reproducing Pianos (the Duoart, the Ampico, the Welte Mignon, etc.) are nothing short of amazing.
The Reproducing Piano had/has the capability of applying varied and separate force/attack to individual sections of the keyboard (if not individual notes). Honest to goodness; when one hears a Reproducing Piano in person, they sound exactly like a pianist playing live.
I have several of the Gershwin Piano Rolls (including Rhapsody in Blue) which I delight in playing on my standard player piano.
QRS, (a piano roll company which has been in business for a little more than a century) offers some of the Gershwin rolls. But the QRS rolls are in standard format. No expression.
As much as I enjoy my Gershwin piano rolls, it is a real eye opener to hear the Duoart originals. The Reproducing Piano on which these were played makes all the difference in the world.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By macktheknife on February 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I had purchased this CD in a used bin from my local record store more than six years ago. I had heard a brief news story on this CD from CNN, and I decided to take a chance on this ... bargain.
Boy, did I ever make the right call. I knew almost next to nothing about George Gershwin, but the music on this CD was simply too magical. All the familiar melodies and song I had heard one time or another in my life (like the United Airlines commercial from "Rhapsody in Blue") jumped right from my boombox. You can feel Gershwin's energy and intensity in each and every one of these songs, and there were times that I would be swept away in excitement by the speed and emotions.
I know I did a poor job in describing this CD, but I can guarantee you that if you like piano melodies, this CD should definitely belong in your collection. After all these years, it is still one of my favorites.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Through some technological wizardry spelled out in the liner notes, piano rolls recorded by George Gershwin in the early 20th Century have been rerecorded for our listening pleasure. It's kind of eerie, actually, but if these are true to George Gershwin's real playing, you actually can imagine him sitting at an upright piano, cigar in his mouth (well, that's how they show him in the picture!), and playing with joy and energy and not a little skill.
You can hear interpretations of his songs everywhere. There is hardly a recording artist alive who hasn't recorded a Gershwin song. But to be able to hear him play the songs himself is truly a gift, like you were Fred or Adele Astaire in 1922 sitting in a room in Tin Pan Alley, listening to the young songwriter plug his songs for your new show. Wow.
This CD includes a 14 minute version of "Rhapsody in Blue" and a 16 minute "American in Paris", plus songs from his early shows (George White's Scandals of 1920, Tip-Toes, Lady, Be Good!) and a couple of other numbers.
Volume 2 of the Piano Rolls has songs from many other composers (still wonderful); Volume 1 is an all-Gershwin program. Buy it.
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