Monday, September 19, 2011

Krystian Zimerman: Gershwin's Three Preludes

From a performance in Japan, Krystian Zimerman, the well-known Polish pianist, plays "Three Preludes" by George Gershwin, one of the most popular and accomplished American composers of the twentieth century. This video is from a recent performance, circa 2009 or perhaps 2010, I am not quite sure. Still, it's wonderful to view a classical musician of the calibre of Zimerman playing Gershwin and hearing his sublime interpretation.

The three preludes are as follows
1. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso
2. Andante con moto e poco rubato
3. Allegro ben ritmato e deciso
Although Gershwin is best known for compositions like Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935), he also composed  orchestral and piano compositions, such as this one. George Gershwin was born Jacob Gershowitz in Brooklyn, New York to Morris (Moishe) and Rosa Gershowitz (nee Bruskin) in Brooklyn, New York, on September 26, 1898. His parents, Jewish immigrants from Russia, met and married in New York City in 1895. Gershwin himself first performed the piece at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1926.

For the record, here is a recording of Gershwin playing the "Three Preludes," though the sound quality is understandably poor.

George Gershwin [1898-1937]. This photo was taken on March 28, 1937. Less than four months later, on July 11, 1937, George Gershwin would die from a brain tumour. He was 38.
Photo Credit: Carl van Vechten [1880-1964]; Taken on March 28, 1937
Source: US Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Div.

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