RHAPSODY IN BLUE
Returning to the Waterloo Festival, The Asyla Ensemble pairs two 20th century
piano concertos by composers who were uprooted by fascism.
Saturday 22 June 2019, 7.30pm
St John's Waterloo, London SE1 8TY
George Gershwin (born Jacob Bruskin Gershowitz) was the second son of Russian and Lithuanian parents who emigrated to New York in the 1890s due to anti-semitism, and Arnold Schoenberg emigrated with his family to Boston USA in 1934 for the same reason.
68-year-old Schoenberg wrote his last concerto in America, yet it harks back to the music of Austria, from which he fled. The four movements which run without break are titled:
Life was so easy;
Suddenly hatred broke out;
A grave situation was created;
But life goes on
Edmund Finnis's in situ uses extracts of choral music attributed to Perotin (c.1200), Matthew Locke (1600s), Josquin de Prez (1500s), Antoine Brumel (1500s) and an overture by Rameau (1700s) as DNA for a sonic reconstruction and exploration to delight contemporary ears.
'Edmund Finnis creates glistening, dancing music... the sounds themselves are delicate and glowing, with an intriguing quality of being familiar and strange at once. Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
'a hugely gifted composer' Sunday Telegraph
'exquisite' Sara Mohr-Pietsch BBC Radio
'ethereally beautiful' Herald Scotland
'iridescent, compelling' The Guardian
'magical' The Times
Ravel Pavane pour un infante défunte (1899)
Schoenberg Piano Concerto (1942)
piano Daniel Lee Chappell
Edmund Finnis in situ (2013)
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue (1924)
piano Joseph Havlat
The Asyla Ensemble
conductor Oliver Till
leader Amy Tress
This is a recording of Gershwin playing his own work, accompanied by the jazz band he wrote it for. This was recorded less than 3 months after the premiere in 1924. The work is cut so it fitted onto two sides of a 12-inch 78rpm phonograph record.