#Classical365: 6 – Gershwin Piano Concerto

First day back at work. The first test for any well-meant New Year regimes. How would I fit in listening to a new classical music work, go to the gym and going to work after a two week break away from the work. Surprisingly well, it seemed.

Got up at 6.00am, without any undue difficulty. Quick coffee, then off to the gym. Hard at work on a 20 stint of cardio by 6.45am aided by the showy brilliance of Gerswhin’s Piano Concerto, recommended by Nicky Rowbottom.

Endless virtuosic fun at the keyboard in a work which is miles better than the ubiquitous Rhapsody in Blue. Give me this over that any day. After a dark percussive opening building to a gripping scene-setter, the piano comes in with the main theme constituting what sounds like the musical equivalent of a massive early morning stretch – every time it appears my smile gets just that little bit wider.

There are echoes of an American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue in the opening of the piano solo in the second movement (and mid-way through the third movement as it happens), but for some reason it feels a little more satisfying – maybe that’s just unfamiliarity with the work as a whole, clouding my judgment.

The third movement is the kind of white-knuckle ride that always raises a smile. Like my friend Caroline reminded me last week, ‘it’s got to be loud and fast’. This certainly doesn’t disappoint, especially when that musical stretch I heard in the first movement comes back again in the third. Musically the work isn’t going to change the world, but, dear God, its hugely entertaining and just as good as an espresso first thing.

George Gershwin – Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F recorded by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with soloist Jon Nakamatsu. I enjoyed it so much I listened to it three times in one day.

At the request of Kat Miller, I’ve also amalgamated all the Classical 365 works in one Spotify playlist. Thanks Kat. Great idea! 

If you’ve got a suggestion for a work for me to listen to, leave a comment below or tweet me@thoroughlygood.

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