Sunday, May 21, 2017
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue & Summertime – Fazıl Say, Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie, Alexander Shelley (HD 1080p)
The Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie is one of nothern Germany's most aspiring young musicians projects. Young and talanted musicians from all over Germany come together to create their very own sound and play energetic and innovative concerts – music from our future! On July 31, 2015 the Junge Norddeutsche celebrated their fifth anniversary at the Laeiszhalle Hamburg.
Turkish virtuoso pianist and composer Fazıl Say plays George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Summertime", with Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie under English conductor Alexander Shelley.
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
♪ Rhapsody in Blue (1924)
♪ Summertime (1934)
Fazıl Say, piano
Junge Norddeutsche Philharmonie
Conductor: Alexander Shelley
Laeiszhalle Hamburg, July 31, 2015
Late at night on 3 January 1924, George Gershwin, his brother Ira and lyricist Buddy DeSylva were having a game in the Ambassador Billiard Parlor at 52nd Street on Broadway, when an item in the amusement section of the New York Tribune caught Ira's attention. It was about a concert of new American music to be given by Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Band at Aeolian Hall on 12 February – Abraham Lincoln's birthday.
"George Gershwin is at work on a jazz concerto", ran the article, "Irving Berlin is writing a syncopated tone poem..."
It was all news to George. His musical comedy, Sweet Little Devil, was set to open in just three weeks. And now he had to write a concerto by 12 February as well?
Paul Whiteman was the most popular bandleader of the 1920s and enjoyed the title "King of Jazz" – although this was no jazz band; rather it was a large dance orchestra that used jazz musicians from time to time.
But Whiteman twisted Gershwin's arm that all he had to do was supply a piano score. Ferde Grofé, Whiteman's brilliant in-house arranger, would be able to orchestrate the work tailored to the band's line-up.
While he was on the train to Boston for rehearsals of his musical, Gershwin sketched out a framework for the new piece, which he began writing on 7 January. Over the next few days, while he also made last-minute changes to ready Sweet Little Devil for its New York opening on 24 January, the genius completed a two-piano score.
What Gershwin produced was not a "jazz concerto" but a rhapsodic work for "piano and jazz band" incorporating elements of European symphonic music and American jazz with his inimitable melodic gift and keyboard facility.
Gershwin's original title for it was American Rhapsody. But, by chance, Ira had been to an exhibition of Whistler's paintings and saw the painter's Nocturne In Blue And Green of the Thames at Chelsea. Why not call the new piece Rhapsody In Blue instead, he suggested. The title would reflect the European and American influences. Also at Ira's suggestion, George contrasted the syncopated character that dominates the tune with an expressive romantic theme the composer had previously improvised at a party.
The Rhapsody, with its composer as soloist, was premièred in front of a packed house that included such musical luminaries as the composer Rachmaninov , the violinist Fritz Kreisler and the conductor Leopold Stokowski.
Despite not yet having written down much of the piano part, Gershwin scored a triumphant success with the work which today is hailed as a landmark in American music.
Source: Jane Jones (classicfm.com)
With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Fazıl Say (born January 14, 1970 in Ankara) has been touching audiences and critics alike for more than twenty-five years, in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world. Concerts with this artist are something different. They are more direct, more open, more exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart. Which is exactly what the composer Aribert Reimann thought in 1986 when, during a visit to Ankara, he had the opportunity, more or less by chance, to appreciate the playing of the sixteen-year-old pianist. He immediately asked the American pianist David Levine, who was accompanying him on the trip, to come to the city's conservatory, using the now much-quoted words: "You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil".
Fazıl Say had his first piano lessons from Mithat Fenmen, who had himself studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris. Perhaps sensing just how talented his pupil was, Fenmen asked the boy to improvise every day on themes to do with his daily life before going on to complete his essential piano exercises and studies. This contact with free creative processes and forms is seen as the source of the immense improvisatory talent and the aesthetic outlook that make Fazıl Say the pianist and composer he is today. He has been commissioned to write music for, among others, the Salzburg Festival, the WDR, the Dortmund Konzerthaus and the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals. His work includes compositions for solo keyboard and chamber music, as well as solo concertos and large-scale orchestral works.
From 1987 onwards, Fazıl Say fine-tuned his skills as a classical pianist with David Levine, first at the Musikhochschule Robert Schumann in Düsseldorf and later in Berlin. This formed the aesthetic basis for his Mozart and Schubert interpretations, in particular. His outstanding technique very quickly enabled him to master the so-called warhorses of the repertoire with masterful ease. It is precisely this blend of refinement (in Bach, Haydn, and Mozart) and virtuoso brilliance in the works of Liszt, Mussorgsky and Beethoven that gained him victory at the Young Concert Artists international competition in New York in 1994. Since then he has played with all of the renowned American and European orchestras and numerous leading conductors, building up a multifaceted repertoire ranging from Bach, through the Viennese Classics (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) and the Romantics, right up to contemporary music, including his own piano compositions.
Guest appearances have taken Fazıl Say to countless countries on all five continents; the French newspaper Le Figaro called him "a genius". He also performs chamber music regularly: for many years he was part of a fantastic duo with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Other notable collaborators include Maxim Vengerov, the Borusan Quartet of Istanbul and the cellist Nicolas Altstaedt.
From 2005 to 2010, he was artist in residence at the Dortmund Konzerthaus; during the 2010/2011 season he held the same position at the Berlin Konzerthaus. Say was also a focal point of the programme of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in the summer of 2011. There have been further residencies and Fazıl Say festivals in Paris, Tokyo, Meran, Hamburg, and Istanbul. During the 2012/2013 season Fazıl Say was the artist in residence at the Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt am Main and at the Rheingau Musik Festival 2013, where he was honoured with the Rheingau Musik Preis. In April 2015 Fazıl Say gave a successful concert with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, New York, that was followed by a tour with concerts all over Europe. In 2014 he was the artist in residence at the Bodenseefestival, where he played 14 concerts. During their 2015/2016 season the Alte Oper Frankfurt invited him to be their artist in residence.
His recordings of works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Stravinsky have been highly praised by critics and won several prizes, including three ECHO Klassik Awards. In 2014, his recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 and Beethoven's Sonatas Op.111 and Op.27 No.2 "Moonlight" was released, as well as the CD "Say plays Say", featuring his compositions for piano.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No.21 in C major – Fazıl Say, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Peter Oundjian (HD 1080p)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for violin & piano No.9 "Kreutzer" – Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Fazıl Say (HD 1080p)
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue – Yuja Wang, Camerata Salzburg, Lionel Bringuier