RSNO/Jose Serebrier

George Gershwin


THE association of the RSNO with Uruguayan conductor Jose Serebrier has included an acclaimed eight-disc set of the orchestral music of Alexander Glazunov on Warner Classics and more recent Linn label releases of the music of Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser’s Guitar Concerto. This release, however, dates back twenty years to the centenary of the birth of the composer in 1998, and has reappeared to coincide with both Gershwin’s 120th anniversary and Serebrier’s 80th at the start of this month.

The pianist is Leopold Godowsky and as well as a new note by the conductor remembering how the sessions in Glasgow’s Henry Wood Hall came about, the booklet reprints the original essay by Richard Freed, which is a fascinating journey into how all these people (including Glazunov as well as Godowsky) are intertwined. The big pieces are the Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra and An American in Paris, but the Three Preludes and lovely lush Lullaby, both orchestrated for the recording by Serebrier (at the request of Gershwin’s sister, Frances) are in no way make weights. Even without Rhapsody in Blue, this is an essential package.

Unfortunately there is no information on the line-up of musicians for what was certainly an augmented orchestra for those two dates at the end of July, 1998. Nor is there any indication that the recording has been re-mastered for its reappearance – in which case they made a damn fine job of capturing a wonderfully dynamic orchestral performance first time around.

Keith Bruce