André Raphel - Conductor
Micah McLaurin - Piano
Gershwin - Cuban Overture
Gershwin - Piano Concerto in F
Gershwin - Porgy and Bess, A Symphonic Picture
Gershwin - An American in Paris
Friday, July 27, 2018
Mann Center for the Performing Arts
The saying "Only in America" easily describes the brilliant career of George Gershwin. Born in Brooklyn in 1898 as the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Gershwin brought the thrilling worlds of jazz and Broadway into the concert hall and opera house. The serious and the playful make this concert a true portrait of this multi-talented American whose music is heard now in every corner of the world.
A travel enthusiast, Gershwin's Cuban Overture and An American in Paris are among the best musical postcards ever written. Although the rhythms of the outer movements in Gershwin's ambitious Piano Concerto in F could only have been written by an American, the soulful middle movement recalls Rachmaninoff's Russia, full of nostalgia and longing. The connection to Philadelphia's great Curtis Institute of Music continues through pianist Micah McLaurin, making his Mann Center debut in this Concerto.
One of the great "what ifs" in music is the early passing of Gershwin. Porgy and Bess premiered in 1935 just two years before the composer's death at age 38, showing a master opera maker with this very first effort. Porgy and Bess has become the most famous and often performed American opera, and justly so. One beautiful melody follows another, thrilling choruses propel the action, and the story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Robert Russell Bennett created a brilliant orchestral suite drawing on the most well-known moments in the opera.