Re: Condon Collection CDs - Gershwin
By Peter Braun
|Following the discussions on Gershwin CDs, Rob De Land asked whether anyone had heard the Condon Collection. Well, yes but only some of it. All who know DFC's collection and many have attended his evenings, know that Dennis' aim is to hear what was originally played (or edited) onto the roll.|
As you all know, the artist signed the roll saying that this was a faithful recording. This is not very different to recording sessions today, where many takes may be combined to make a final release.
The Condon Collection is amazing and attempts to put the roll on CD without any further editing.
However, the purpose of this mailing is to quote Dennis' comments that are included with "Gershwin - Early recordings by the Composer" (Larrikin CD DDC934) "How did the Composer play it?"
"The Condon Collection allows one to hear how Gershwin interpreted his own works at the piano. When he was in his teens, Gershwin learnt to play by observing and imitating a player piano. When he was asked to record for Duo Art, Gershwin made sure that his earliest renditions, with their unrelenting thrashing at the keys and constant marimba effects, did their best to sound like a player piano. For dancing and singing this was considered a good marketing ploy at the time.
From 1919, when he recorded " I was so young, You were so beautiful" to 1926, when he made his last roll "Sweet and Lowdown", he had developed into one of the best known writers of popular songs in the world. He was a great party performer and his rolls give us a good idea of how he must have played on these occasions. The bounce and verve in the performances are astonishingly lifelike. The boy from Brooklyn had made it!.
It should be remembered that reproducing pianos were the province of the wealthy when they were new. So rich young Americans demanded that their Long Island drawing rooms should re-echo with the sounds of Broadway show tunes played by pianists found in New York supper clubs and speakeasies. Hence the Duo Art catalogue included Gershwin, Phil Ohman, Pauline Alpert, Eddie Duchin and others. How very lucky we are to be able to share these performances seventy years later with such fidelity."
That says it all, really.