Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gershwin - Porgy & Bess - Rattle, London Philharmonic

Gershwin - Porgy & Bess - Rattle, London Philharmonic
Opera | Eac, Ape, cue | log, covers | 3 CD, 752 MB
September 13, 2005 | EMI | RapidShare

Gershwin caught the essence of the American Experience in his music. Here he goes beyond color and cultural experience to the fundamentally human experience of living in "The Land of the Free". This music is now woven into the very fabric of America. There is no greater testament to the quality of this music and the value of the music of Gershwin. This recording is the benchmark by which all others are measured.

This recording of Gershwin's masterpiece has been the recording of choice since its release in 1989, and it remains so. The cast is close to ideal: Willard White, an old hand as Porgy, is at his best, sympathetic, high-spirited, manly, sensitive; Gregg Baker's Crown leaps out of the speakers; Cynthia Haymon, who avoids the hard edge that has befallen many Besses, sounds as if she means every word; Harolyn Blackwell never has sounded fuller or better than she does here as Clara; Damon Evans' Sportin' Life is almost visible; and the rest of the cast is vividly theatrical. If there is a criticism to be made, it is about Simon Rattle's leadership: he leads this not-very-subtle score with even less subtlety. He underscores passages, emphasizes every other musical phrase, and in general drives the music in a manner that is helpful in the more startling, melodramatic moments, but doesn't allow for much fun or tenderness. Still, don't let this dissuade you; this recording is worth its grand reputation.--Robert Levine

CD Content

Porgy and Bess, opera
Composed by George Gershwin

Performed by London Philharmonic Orchestra
with Anne Fridal, Harolyn Blackwell, Willard White, Maureen Braithwaite, Autris Paige, Curtis Watson, Colenton Freeman, Camellia Johnson, Linda Thompson, Paula Ingram, Ron Travis, Michael Forest, Hyacinth Nicholls, William Johnson, Ted Maynard, Mervin Wallace, Marietta Simpson, Ritchie Pitts, Blair Wilson, Damon Evans, Cynthia Clarey, Raemond Martin, Wayne Marshall, Gregg Baker, Bruce Hubbard, Alan Tilvern, Billy J. Mitchell, Jim Malary, Johnny Worthy, Cynthia Haymon, Barrington Coleman

Conducted by Simon Rattle

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