The Original Rhapsody in Blue

Marin Alsop - Conductor

Jon Kimura Parker - Piano

program

Debussy/orch. Schoenberg - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue (original jazz band version)

INTERMISSION

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5

Thursday, October 29, 2015

8:00 pm Verizon Hall

Here's a fascinating rhythm: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in the groundbreaking original version commissioned by the legendary bandleader Paul Whiteman. (Stokowski was in the audience when it premiered in 1924.) Gershwin specialist Jon Kimura Parker brings his "crisply focused pianism" (The New York Times) to a program led by Marin Alsop, who has recorded the work in this intimate jazz band form. You'll hear Debussy's dreamy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun in a different way, too, in a rarely heard and imaginative chamber orchestration by Schoenberg. Featuring just 11 instruments, this treatment of the well-known symphonic poem was conceptualized after Debussy's death--and six years after Nijinsky famously danced to it with the Ballets Russes. We'll never know what Shostakovich might have sounded like had he been composing in America, or among his contemporaries in Paris, instead of beneath the oppression and threats of the gulag (or worse) in Soviet Russia. His intense and vehement Fifth Symphony is our concluding work, a crushing blow of music in stark contrast to the program's more intimate and uninhibited opening works.

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