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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
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

Price: $8.52 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 2 Songs, 1987 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1990 $8.52  
Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

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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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Frequently Bought Together

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: $31.40

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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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,136 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 73 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 23 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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9 of 9 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious tribute! November 22, 2006
Format:Audio Cassette
To play Gershwin accurately demands from the player, the absolute domain of an invisible taste, unsaid in the score. Few pianists (and Bernstein is among them) were able to convey the listener, this savoir vivre, humor, elegance, that idiomatic atmosphere that plainly justifies your effort.

To my mind, there just have been five pianists who have surmounted this peak: Oscar Levant, Jesus Maria Sanroma, Eugene List, Earl Wild and Leonard Bernstein.

So, under any pretext you should miss this invaluable musical gem.
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4 of 4 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 still as good as any
I owned this pairing way back in my vinyl days. and it has come up well (from c. 1959) in its CD incarnation. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stanley Crowe
5.0 out of 5 stars RHAPSODY in BLUE-Bernstein
The entire piece is riveting but starting with the swelling of the orchestral background, at the last six and a half minute mark, I am lifted right out of my chair. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Charles Barnard
4.0 out of 5 stars something relaxing for the soul
George and ira gershwinn were two powerful and talented people of our century. I have enjoyed their entertainment for over thirty years.
Published 1 month ago by sarah a. grinnage
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive version of Gershwin master music...Bernstein is...
This Leonard Bernstein's version of these two wonderful works of the great George Gershwin are, without doubt, the referential interpretations of all the times. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Manuel Carranza C
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Quintessential American composer conducted the preeminent American conductor. Good primer for an introduction to classical music. Can't go wrong with this recording.
Published 3 months ago by Paul N. Fehrenbach
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Great Recording
This is a great recording. I love Gershwin music and I think that this is a Bernstein and New York Philharmonic classic.
Published 3 months ago by Howard Moreno
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a listen.
Stirring version of this classic. Not the best sound recording but a great performance. Bernstein could play this piece as well as anyone. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cyrus Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Catchy and Upbeat
Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue is perhaps one of the most upbeat and catchy classical tunes you'll ever hear. It got plenty of play in the car and on our home stereo. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Matt DeFazio
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music and good music
I heard Rhapsody in Blue at a concert and wanted a copy of the recording. The music is lovely and easy to listen to.
Published 4 months ago by Judith
2.0 out of 5 stars Discordant warm up session.
Sorry Leonard;I was very disappointed in this.Always wanted a really good copy of this great piece of music.This is not it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jimmy
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