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a little more Gershwin

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here are a couple Gershwin songs that I like: "The Man I Love" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me." "The Man I Love" is probably played more contemplatively than some people may like it, but I don't care. This is how I feel it.

    And now I'm going to put on a beaded gown and pour myself a martini.... 8)

    Gershwin - They Can't Take That Away From Me

    Gershwin - The Man I Love


    p.s. I want to record another of my favorites, "Someone to Watch Over Me", but I can't find a decent version that I like, so if someone has a good one, I'd be most interested. :)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Beautiful sounds as always. The first one seems just a touch too careful and 'classical', and the seconds one is IMO much too slow - it really drags and loses all its swing like this. But I'm no expert on Gershwin and could well be wrong on this. In any case, quality playing.
     
  3. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    As for the sound I agree with Chris in that it is very good. I am not sure the fisrt one insperes me very much (it is not one of those arranged by Gershwin if I am not mistaken.) but that might be the arrangement itself. As for the second... I made a recording of it some time ago and ditched it because it was too slow, Listening to your playing, it sounded rather similar. The 1st section works even at that speed, but the middle one loses all its snap. The coda could fly a little more, The way I feel it is like a will'o'-the-wisp that soars and vanishes.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    "They Can't Take...." I sort of arranged myself; I have two different versions but didn't like either of them as a whole, so I took the parts I liked and combined them into a 'new' arrangement.

    "The Man I Love" - I do not care for fast versions of this piece at all! It loses the whole mood. One must play this piece while thinking and longing for someone (the man/women you love?), and therefore it would naturally go on the slow-side. I recently heard Diane Krall sing it even slower than my rendition here. Plus, my score says "Slowly in a singing style". It's funny though; I made two recordings last night and the first one I felt I had played the middle section too fast. Listening back to this version here I do now agree that the middle section is too slow, so I'll re-record this again tonight and try to find a happy medium.
     
  5. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    That is it: A is slow and B is livelier. When I play this one I think of Ella Fitzgerald singing it and that is just how she does it. My score says "Slow and in singing style." Funny that, since the publisher is obviously the same.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ella Fitzgerald is great - I've always liked her very much!
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I like these (and your sound is very nice), but I find it hard to get Earl Wild's Gershwin arrangements out of my mind. I was surprised to find the recording on youtube, but you might find this interesting to hear. Really lovely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTo-Nk6G79g
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I enjoyed listening to these Gershwin pieces. In "They Can't Take That Away From Me", the introduction goes over a minute! And it seems to bear little relationship to the main theme. Was that actually composed by Gershwin or an arranger? If not, is the intro in the other score any more convincing? As you were playing this it, my sense was that your playing was tentative. But I suspect that's is actually due to the music in that intro, not you.

    "The Man I Love" was played well, but I agree with the others that it could be at a slightly faster pace--not much. Very nostalgic and with a sense of longing.

    Thanks for posting these.

    David
     
  9. s_winitsky

    s_winitsky Member

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    Hey That's kind of neat. I like your arrangement or rearrangement. I know of one artist, Richard Glazier, who kind of does the same thing.

    I actually spent quite a bit of time learning to make my own arrangements of these type of things. I even took lessons from a prominent bebop jazz pianist in my area. I know it takes a lot of work, and in some ways much harder then just playing from a written score.

    I also thought the tempo could of been a bit faster and maybe more steady but that really is just my preference. I thought it sounded nice.

     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I was sort of hoping nobody would mention Earl Wild's transcription..... I am so far below his standard that it's not even funny. But Andrew, indeed that link is a very beautiful and amazing recording. I can only dream.....

    David, I'm not totally sure what you mean about the intro to "They Can't Take That Away From Me" being over a minute long. In my rendition, the introduction is only about 4 bars or so. However, I know that most versions of this piece start right at the place, "the way you wear your hat...". Mine starts a little before that place and is taken from the 1937 movie, "Shall We Dance" starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Here is a clip from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMqXXdBlvZE.

    Well anyway, thank you all for your thoughts and kind words. I've re-recorded "The Man I Love" and shaved off about 20 seconds but perhaps it is still too slow for some people. I pretty much like it like this though. For now, anyway.... :wink: :)
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Exactly! In your rendition that occurs around 1.08. Back in those days many songs had long lead-ins and this was one of them. If I had to listen to just the lead-in by itself without the main theme, I don't think I could identify the song to be honest. That's probably why, without the benefit of the lyrics in the lead-in, I thought it might be a long piano introduction. I watched the link you gave me where Astaire sings to Rogers under the street lamp. Hadn't seen that for years! They used to do some fabulous dance routines in the movies, didn't they? I remember one episode where Astaire danced his way down an ornate staircase. It had to be very dangerous, but he did it smoothly as if there were nothing to it. I don't believe anyone else has ever been able to duplicate that maneuver.

    Thanks for the memories!

    David
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Still slow but it seems to flow better now and it doesn't give the impression of dragging along.
     
  13. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    This is better, yes, I agree, and the right speed.

    Take it this way: Earl Wild plays Earl Wilde's arrangement while you play Gershwin's. Is that not better?
     
  14. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Charming performances, Monica. I didn't listen to the first take, but the tempo seemed fine to me here. Tempo can lie in the shadow of a musically convincing performance. In other words, it won't break your performance if you have something special to say. If that's how you hear AND sing it, then that's how a piece should go.

    I had a dentist that worked for me and she secretly learned "The Man I Love" when her husband wasn't home. She learned the piece just in time to perform it as a surprise birthday gift for him...

    If you were accompanying a singer, the original Gershwin version would be more appropriate. I am not opposed to transcriptions as long as it adds to the character of the music, and not create a distraction. I remember mentioning my partiality to Wild's transcriptions in another thread. I feel that they are more colorful from a pianistic point of view. His Etudes convincingly inject life without sounding like a pyrotechnical display. In the suite, I also like "Fascinating Rhythm." It's a good extension of the Preludes. Hey, you've already recorded the Preludes, so I think you underestimate your abilities to learn the Wild transcription Etudes. BTW, I liked your arrangement of "They Can't Take..." It was seamless and smooth. You should do more arranging?! :wink:

    In any arrangement, these songs will always be a part of the American musical culture whether it's in movies or musical circles. Your performance was evocative and the music was conveyed with deep feeling.

    George
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, thanks everybody! :) I might go right now and make another recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me", but just the regular way - no lead-in, or middle part, and no 'arranging' by me. It will be a very short piece then. I guess I could have both versions up. I don't really know what I want to do....

    Anyway, David, Fred Astaire is wonderful to watch. Can you perhaps find a video clip of him dancing down the stairs? I also like this one of the Nicholas Brothers. Great music too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBb9hTyLjfM

    It's really fabulous - I can't get over how those men can dance like that! And wait to you see what they do on the stairs near the end of the video. :shock:

    Ouch! :lol:
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I just made a second recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me". Only this one is 2 minutes long versus the first recording which is over 4 minutes. I still had to do a little 'arranging' between the two scores I have, but I think this one works okay. I also made a little change to the ending - the score has something that reminded me of "Swanee River" written by Stephen Foster, so I changed a few notes and rhythm to make it sound pretty clearly like "Swanee River". I think Gershwin may have appreciated some of Stephen Foster's music and Gershwin himself wrote "Swanee" (how I love ya, how I love ya..), so that's why I did it. If someone thinks it sounds stupid, I'll change it back to the original ending. So....I know you guys have been kind enough to listen and comment on my previous recordings here, but if someone could please listen to the attachment here and tell me if you think it is better than my first version, I would be VERY appreciative!! :)
     
  17. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Monica,
    I just had a listen to this and I like it very much but have a question. You play the main portion of the melody "straight" but then there's that little bit afterwards (both times) that is in "swing;" why is that? I have no score, but it seems to me that you could do the whole melody in the "swing" style: da dah, da dah, da daaaah; instead of da, da, da, da etc. (if you catch my drift?). Regarding the ending, sounds great to me. :)
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I went to YouTube to search for that Astaire sequence on the staircase, but could not find it there. Might have been in the movie "Blue Skies".

    Yeah, the Nicolas Bros. were incredible! That dance especially was fantastic! It might have inspired Astaire to come with his own dance on the staircase.

    David
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Eddy. I'm too embarrassed now and have deleted the attachment. I do know exactly what you are talking about. It's Gershwin after all, and should really swing! I don't know what happened to me.....maybe because I was playing some Clementi at the same time or something...I dunno... :oops:
    Well, as Scarlett O'Hara said, "tomorrow is another day"...and that is when I will re-re-record this piece, albeit with the proper amount of swing.

    @David - that's okay, all of Astaire's dance scenes are great. I'll look for that movie when I next have some free-time.
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've decided to ditch my long version of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and have opted for the shorter version instead. It also swings now and I didn't fool around with the ending.

    Gershwin - They Can't Take That Away From Me
     

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