Gershwin CD - Enough!
By Joyce Brite
|First of all, congratulations to Jody and his wife on the birth of their new daughter! Thank you for sharing the good news with all of us. Best wishes to all!|
Gershwin CD: OK guys, enough is enough! All this discussion about the CD roused my curiosity to a fever pitch, so I went out and bought it. Please don't discuss any more CD's; my budget can't handle it.
My initial impression after hearing the first couple songs: That's a player piano, definitely a player piano. After listening a little longer, I no longer cared whether the sound came from Gershwin, Artis Wodehouse, or wherever. It was enjoyable music. I have not heard the original piano rolls, so I cannot comment on how well they compare with the CD. But, it would be a shame to completely dismiss the CD as worthless.
Some thoughts: Unless the performer is an automaton, individual performances of the same music by the same performer will vary slightly or greatly each time. Even the most talented pianists have days when the fingers just won't do what he/she wants. Unless there is a major mistake, many of these variances are indiscernible to all but the most knowledgeable and discriminating ears. Furthermore, the performer's performance will vary over time. Just listen to live performances by some of today's recording artists, especially performances that have been recorded years apart. There is a difference!
When Gershwin recorded the original piano rolls, that is how he played on that particular date, at that particular time. If he had recorded the rolls a month earlier or later, or five years earlier or later, they would have sounded different. As long as present day "reengineered" recordings capture Gershwin's style and flair, I have no problem with minor editing changes.
The one person who has been left out of this discussion is Gershwin himself. We can only speculate what he would have thought of our late 20th century technology. Thankfully, he had the foresight to use the technology available to him to produce the piano rolls for later generations. By bringing his music to the masses, he insured his popularity for years to come. I wonder how many of Gershwin's talented contemporaries failed to do this, or worse, thought it beneath their dignity to record a piano roll? Well, those contemporaries are long forgotten, and Gershwin is still "alive" and well today through his music.
(Message sent Thu 24 Oct 1996, 22:10:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)