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Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue / An American In Paris

George Gershwin , Leonard Bernstein , New York Philharmonic Orchestra , Columbia Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 2 Songs, 2013 $1.98  
Audio CD, 1990 $6.99  
Audio Cassette, 1987 --  

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Rhapsody In BlueColumbia Symphony Orchestra;Leonard Bernstein16:27Album Only
listen  2. An American In ParisColumbia Symphony Orchestra;Leonard Bernstein;New York Philharmonic18:22Album Only

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Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue / An American In Paris + Bernstein Century - Copland: Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, etc / Bernstein, New York PO + Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite/Mississippi Suite
Price for all three: $27.96

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Product Details

  • Performer: Leonard Bernstein
  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Columbia Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: George Gershwin
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000025MH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Performances - Wrong Disc November 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
These are considered to be among the best performances of both pieces. Berstein's vitality serves well here and is a perfect match for Gershwin's music. However, the Bernstein Century recording with these peices is coupled with Grofe's Grand Canyon at roughly the same price, making it a better deal...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Version and Good Sound Quality! June 6, 2006
Format:Audio CD
This ADD recording has surprisingly good sound quality for an older recording that hasn't been remastered. The performance by Bernstein and both the Columbia Symphonic and the NY Philharmonic on the pieces is simply breathtaking. You'd be hard pressed to find better interpretations of these Gershwin masterpieces. The only problem with this album is that it's very short and although would have been the perfect length on an lp or cassette as it was originally, it seems to be a waste of cd space here. Sony should probably remaster this and add some tracks like perhaps "Porgy and Bess" to make it a better value proposition. I hope they re-release a remastered version on mini-lp sleeve replica packaging too.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By SlanFan
Format:Audio CD
Fifty years and change ago, I got to know both these Gershwin masterpieces when I bought a copy of the Bernstein LP from Columbia. I've since heard other renditions of these works by other conductors and pianists, and Bernstein's rendition of An American in Paris holds up against all recordings (including Bernstein's own earlier mono recording for RCA Victor). However, the Rhapsody is another matter entirely. When I heard Leonard Pennario's recording a few years later, I realized that Bernstein, or someone, had made a number of cuts in the Rhapsody, so that this recording doesn't have the entire piece. (I read reviews of the original LP at the time it was released, and none of them mentioned the cuts, which was the beginning of a lifelong distrust by me of professional critics.) Furthermore, Bernstein takes the Rhapsody at a slower pace than most pianists -- including Gershwin himself, in an acoustic recording which used to be available on RCA (unfortunately, a version with even more cuts than Bernstein's version), and also on a player piano roll which the composer cut (available on several recordings, including one with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting an orchestra in accompaniment). Bernstein was known sometimes to opt for odd tempos, sometimes painfully slow ones, and this seems to be one of the times he did so. (Others include his excruciatingly slow version of Bach's Magnificat, and his eccentric, but at least interesting, take on Shostakovich's fifth symphony.) So this recording of the Rhapsody is strictly for Bernstein fans, and people who like lethargic tempos. The best recording of the Rhapsody in Blue, uncut and at an appropriate tempo, which I have heard is the RCA recording with Earl Wild at the keyboard and Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops, still available on CD. Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Great Performance August 18, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I originally found this record in a used record store and purchased it for $1. This was not too long ago. After listening, i could not believe that this record only cost me $1 and that some idiot actually sold this to a used record store without listening first. I have never heard a performace of Rhapsody In Blue that is as powerful and heartfelt as this one. Bernstain melts into the piano, resulting in a performance that outshines so many Gershwin performances that exist. On the other side of the record is An American In Paris, a textbook tone poem, and i mean this as a great compliment. The images of Paris and a partially homesick/partially jubilant American strolling along exude from every note. When i found these great performances on CD, i snatched up a copy as quickly as i could. GET THIS RECORD. It is truly a Great Performance.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein plays Gershwin October 14, 2010
Format:Audio CD
We all know that Leonard Bernstein was a great conductor, possibly the greatest of the American born conductors of the twentieth century. It was wonderful to learn that Bernstein was always an excellent pianist. On occasion, Bernstein would conduct the orchestra AND play the piano, too. In the early days of stereo LPs, Columbia Records released Bernstein's recording of two masterpieces by George Gershwin: "An American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue." For some reason, the album featured two DIFFERENT orchestra: the New York Philharmonic in "An American in Paris" and the Columbia Symphony in "Rhapsody in Blue."

While it is obvious that the New York Philharmonic was an established orchestra, actually the oldest symphonic orchestra in the country (founded in 1842, the same year that the Vienna Philharmonic was started), many people have wondered what was the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. There is a simple answer. Columbia Records, the oldest recording company in America, sometimes wanted to make recordings with a "house" orchestra and it was apparently cheaper and easier to simply contract New York musicians and put together an ensemble of musicians. They usually recorded in Columbia's 30th Street Studios. This practice went back to at least 1949, when Sir Thomas Beecham visited New York and made a series of high fidelity recordings in Columbia's studios, which were released on both 78-rpm and 33-1/3 rpm discs. Sometimes, however, the Columbia Symphony Orchestra was also drawn from Los Angeles musicians, as was the case with some of the late recordings made for Columbia by Bruno Walter, who lived in Beverly Hills.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recordings - best I have heard!
Really and truly - excellent sound!!! Other recordings may be original recordings, but this effort recreates the what one would expect at a concert.
Published 12 days ago by Renshai
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great renditiion of Gershwin from Bernstein and was very happy to be able to locate this particular CD.
Published 1 month ago by Professor 39
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
One of my favorite CD's.
Published 2 months ago by Jean Krewson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous rendition of this magnificent piece of music.
Published 2 months ago by sharon
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimism of the American Spirit
Rhapsody in Blue was one of the first truly American works, and it embodies the passion, energy, and optimism of the American spirit. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Regina M. Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Memorable music from a famous composer/conductor that's a must for portable electronic playlists.
Published 2 months ago by Peking_Duck
5.0 out of 5 stars An eternal classic
The music carries you along, now matter how many times you've heard it.
Published 2 months ago by Irving Cantor
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Rhapsody and American in Paris from America's Heartland
George Gershwin is an American legend and represents the first not-so-secret passageway between jazz and classical worlds. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joseph Kline PhD, MD
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive versions
There's nothing more to say other than these are the definitive versions, the ones that you think of when you think of Gershwin's classic compositions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. Kendall A. Whitney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music
I have head several versions of Rhapsody in Blue/An American In Paris, and this is my favorite version. As I said before, great music.
Published 4 months ago by Joann C. Supulski
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