SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue; Strike Up the Band Overture; Promenade for clarinet & orch.; Catfish Row: Suite from Porgy and Bess – Orion Weiss, p./ John Fullam, clar. /Buffalo Philharmonic Orch./ JoAnn Falletta – Naxos audio-only Blu-ray
Published on July 2, 2013
GEORGE GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue (arr. Ferde Grofé); Strike Up the Band Overture (arr. Don Rose); Promenade for clarinet & orch.; Catfish Row: Suite from Porgy and Bess (arr. Steven Bowen) – Orion Weiss, piano/ John Fullam, clar. /Buffalo Philharmonic Orch./ JoAnn Falletta – Naxos audio-only Blu-ray (24/96 stereo and 5.1)NBD0033, 54:16 *****:
The latest in Naxo’s series of audio-only Blu-rays (and now they will have Universal and other major labels joining them) provides the second successful hi-res surround album of Gershwin from Falletta and her Buffalo musicians. The first featured his Concerto in F with the same pianist. It’s good in both cases to have not only the hi-res surround reproduction but the piano solidly situated in the center channel and not sounding 50 feet wide. My favorite Rhapsody in Blue is the 1992 effort on Arabesque by David Golub and (of all people) Mitch Miller, but the fidelity of that now sounds completely dated next to this fine 24/96 version.
It’s also wonderful to have this hi-res and sparkling musical performance of Gershwin’s very own concert suite he put together from five important scenes in his Porgy and Bess. It has been recorded before but never with such liveliness and quality sonics as this one. Gershwin’s Promenade, which has been heard in several different transcriptions, is here adapted for clarinet and orchestra, and works beautifully in that form. The album gets off to a fiery start with the flashy arrangement by Don Rose, made in 1976, of the tune “Strike Up the Band,” into a seven-minute orchestral showpiece that sounds straight out of the Broadway stage.
Again, the surround channels were extremely low level and had to be raised considerably for any surround effect, which is a chore with my Integra preamp. Otherwise the album is first rate in both the performance and sonic departments.
TrackList:1. Strike Up the Band: Overture (arr. D. Rose for orchestra) 00:06:55 Rhapsody in Blue (arr. F. Grofe for piano and orchestra) 2. Rhapsody in Blue (arr. F. Grofe for piano and orchestra) 00:18:26 Promenade (arr. S. Berkowitz for clarinet and orchestra) 3. Promenade (arr. S. Berkowitz for clarinet and orchestra) 00:03:32 Catfish Row: Suite from Porgy and Bess (arr. S. Bowen for orchestra) 25:23 4. I. Catfish Row 00:06:53 5. II. Porgy Sings 00:05:14 6. III. Fugue 00:01:50 7. IV. Hurricane 00:03:59 8. V. Good Morning, Sistuh 00:07:27