I have listened to portions of this disc hundreds of time on the drives to and from work. It's a marvelous audio-engineering feat, bringing to life the spirited and brilliant artistry of one of the greatest novelty pianists of all time. Dead in 1934 at the age of 29, Raie da Costa's recordings were preserved only on disc pressings, but the audio engineers have eliminated the surface noise as if there never had been any; as if death and 80+ years have not removed us from this remarkably able and engaging performer. Long live Raie!!! Raie da Costa was a fabulous pianist. What a pity she died so young.
This has to be one of the most brilliant piano collections ever. The whole Keyboard Wizards series is wonderful, but some of the tracks on this disc - notably the duet "Dizzy Fingers" - are jaw-droppingly stunning. As a longtime pianist myself, I can't imagine playing some of these works, and the remastered recordings are a national treasure. I hope the creating company keeps finding and releasing more! Another great audio-engineering feat by this label. Another disc that I have listened to dozens of time. My only suggestion would have been giving Constance Mering billing over Vee Lawnhurst as Constance's playing displays greater technique and artistic range.
This two-fer from Collectables features a pair of out of print LPs by easy listening arranger, composer, and producer Don Ralke, Gershwin with Bongos and The Savage and the Sensuous Bongos, both originally issued in 1960. These 26 tracks are unique in that the arrangements feature bongos as the prominent instrument. Along with several Ralke originals are such Gershwin standards as "How Long Has This Been Going On," "Summertime," and "I Got Rhythm."
Original arrangements of Gershwin tunes are rare these days, but that's what you'll hear in this album by Kiri Te Kanawa. Granted, the arrangements sound somewhat dated according to 21st century tastes, but that's what makes them fascinating. These were like nothing anyone else was writing when the George and Ira first brought them to life. Kiri uses a different, somewhat breathier voice than you might be used to on her classical albums, probably not the type of voice Gershwin had in mind, but I think it generally works pretty well.By Dennis Brightwell
Trevor Nunn's acclaimed 1993 production of Dubose Heyward and Ira Gershwin's classic fable of the tragic love affair between crippled Porgy (Willard White) and beautiful but troubled Bess (Cynthia Haymon) was widely acclaimed as one of the definitive stagings of one of America's best-known operas. Nunn restaged his production for a television adaptation commissioned by the BBC, and this video captures the impressive results. Gregg Baker and Damon Evans highlight the supporting cast, and the London Philharmonic (under the direction of Simon Rattle) provide the musical accompaniment.