Venue Details: Portsmouth Guildhall
- Gershwin : Girl Crazy Overture
- Gershwin : Lullaby
- Gershwin : Three Preludes
- Gershwin : Rhapsody in Blue
- Dvořák : Symphony No.9 "From the New World"
- Conductor : José Serebrier
- Soloist: Shelly Berg (Piano)
In 1930, with the Great Depression weighing down on America, George and Ira Gershwin took one last look backward and wrote their ultimate 1920s-style musical comedy, Girl Crazy. It featured more hit songs than any other single Gershwin musical, many of which are interwoven throughout this rip-roaring overture.
Lullaby is a single movement originally written for string quartet. Its lilting, tango-like rhythm provides a gentle underpinning to Gershwin’s sultry, bluesy melodies. This lullaby is intended for adults - less likely to put you to sleep than to help you unwind at the end of a stressful day.
The three pieces that make up the Three Preludes epitomise Gershwin’s “classical” output, using harmonies and intervals from popular music and treating them with the tight melodic rigour of his songs. A fast, rhythmic excursion leads into a languorous blues for the second part before ending with another dashing jaunt based on one of his earlier piano rags.
That Rhapsody in Blue became an American legend from its very first performance is down to Gershwin’s genius to tap into the spirit of his country and his times and translate it into music that possessed “that high attribute of making people fall in love with it.” Instead of imitating European models, he drew on American popular song and dance, African-American jazz, and the rhythm of the New York streets to create a potent new hybrid for the concert hall.
The premiere of the New World Symphony in New York was a huge success and was proclaimed in the US as “the greatest symphonic work ever composed in this country”. Remaining incredibly fresh and abounding with memorable melodies, it describes Dvorák’s own spiritual and emotional journey from his intense longing for his beloved Bohemia to the thrill of the “new world” and its varied peoples.
Pre-Concert Talk: 6.40 - 7.10pm
Free to all ticket-holders. Find out more here.