Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F

San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas' long association with the music of George Gershwin results in performances so idiomatic they could be categorized as (almost) definitive.

No one can deny the natural flair of [Tilson Thomas's] response to these masterpieces of new world/old world integration.

- Christopher D. Morley, Birmingham Post

In all three works, Thomas not only reveals Gershwin’s compositional genius but also wonderfully captures the composer’s trademark playful swagger. This quality comes through strongest in Rhapsody in Blue, here in its original jazz band orchestration with Thomas impressively performing double-duty as pianist and conductor. Even Bernstein’s storied (and cut, and mannered) CBS performance can’t match the heightened bawdiness of Thomas’ reading. The New World Symphony sounds remarkably like the virtuoso big bands of the jazz age.

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