Jazz Nocturne: American Concertos of the Jazz Age

Jazz Nocturne: American Concertos of the Jazz Age

by Richard Rosenberg
     
 

This unique album is a wonderful snapshot of American jazz in an orchestral setting. Most classical music aficionados are familiar with George Gershwin and his works such as "Rhapsody in Blue," but there are also a number of less-famous composers who wrote around the same time who are no less brilliant. These composers also interacted with and influenced each other.… See more details below

Overview

This unique album is a wonderful snapshot of American jazz in an orchestral setting. Most classical music aficionados are familiar with George Gershwin and his works such as "Rhapsody in Blue," but there are also a number of less-famous composers who wrote around the same time who are no less brilliant. These composers also interacted with and influenced each other. For example, James Price Johnson also wrote a rhapsody, entitled "Yamekraw, Negro Rhapsody," which is a sophisticated work full of tempo changes, varied rhythms, and various moods and character. (William Grant Still orchestrated this piece.) "Yamekraw" swings and is syncopated, giving it a very dancelike feel, and the Hot Springs Music Festival Symphony Orchestra does an excellent job bringing the music alive without ever making it rigid. Not only do it play beautifully on this first piece, but also through the rest of the album, where it truly captures all the moods jazz pieces require while never losing strong classical technique. It is much to conductor Richard Rosenberg's credit that all of the pieces have energy and good musical taste. The "Suite for banjo & orchestra" surprisingly showcases the instrument much like a violin, and even a mandolin in the second movement. Two works by Dana Suesse are another joy to hear. Her "Jazz Nocturne" begins with an ethereal feel that conjures up the night, and then a jazz melody enters on the piano. The piece is romantic, with a sweeping melody in the strings (not surprisingly, a popular song was based on one of the melodies in this piece). Suesse's "Concerto in Three Rhythms" is a complex piece that draws on syncopations, active dialogues between instruments, and long, legato lines in the strings. The third movement is especially exciting, an orchestrally fleshed-out rag that shows the strength of this talented yet relatively unknown composer. Suesse and Gershwin were well acquainted with each other, so it is fitting that "Rhapsody in Blue" should also be included on this album. What sets apart this recording of an arguably overplayed piece is its interpretation: it is like a work of jazz that happens to be played by an orchestra, rather than an orchestra trying to play a jazz composition. Pianist Tatiana Roitman's style is clean and bright, accompanied by a sprightly orchestra. The legato lines are never schmaltzy, but crisp. Highly recommended and highly enjoyable.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2011
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943964729
catalogNumber:
8559647
Rank:
170872

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Richard Rosenberg   Primary Artist,Conductor
Don Vappie   Banjo
Peter Mintun   Piano
Michael Gurt   Piano
Hot Springs Music Festival Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Gary Hammond   Piano
Tatiana Roitman   Piano

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
William Grant Still   Arranger
James P. Johnson   Composer
Harry Reser   Composer
Paul Griffith   Engineer
Peter Mintun   Liner Notes
Dana Suesse   Composer
Ferde Grofé   Arranger
Carroll Huxley   Arranger
Richard Rosenberg   Liner Notes
William Fulton   Producer
Jamie Tagg   Engineer
Hugh Dunnahoe   Cover Painting

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