Porgy and Bess [1993]

The 1998 Lugano Festival presented this elegant concert of George Gershwin's orchestral music, including the colorful Cuban Overture and the Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin's strongest claim to immortality, however, lies in his vocal music--Porgy & Bess and dozens of songs written for Broadway shows but able to stand by themselves. No singing is heard on this disc, but the vocal music is well-represented in a symphonic suite from Porgy & Bess and transcriptions for piano and orchestra of three songs: "Embraceable You," "'S Wonderful," and "The Man I Love." In a sense, the program is a showcase for pianist Adam Makowicz, who solos gracefully in the Rhapsody and the songs with a self-confident virtuosity that gets to the heart of the music. In the Rhapsody, Makowicz fluently and imaginatively improvises cadenzas, as Gershwin did for the first performance, producing a version that is different from all others. --Joe McLellan

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