Gershwin – An American in Paris / Grainger – Fantasy on Porgy and Bess

Even though this is work that I don’t know that well, I still enjoyed it thoroughly. It is well recorded and performed, and this jazz and classic crossover is starting to grow on me. Gershwin’s piece is testament to his love affair with Paris, Australian born Grainger is showing his admiration for Gershwin by arranging his Porgy and Bess opera in a piece for two pianos.

Porgy and Bess is probably best known for the jazz Golden Oldie Summertime, sung by Billie Holiday in 1936, and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong in 1959. The opera tells the story about the disabled black street beggar Porgy, and his attempts to rescue Bess from a bad fate. It is an adaptation of DuBose Heyward’s 1925 novel Porgy, and had its first production in 1935. It started in Boston, then went to Broadway, New York.

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