Manhattan Intermezzo

Manhattan Intermezzo—Jeffrey Biegel, piano and Brown University Orchestra/Paul Phillips (Naxos 573490)

David Hurwitz of weighs in: “What a delightful project this turns out to be! The main work here is the Keith Emerson (of ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’ fame) Piano Concerto, an energetic and fun piece that runs the gamut from a 12-tone opening to a primal, toccata conclusion … The other big surprise is Neil Sedaka’s (remember him?) Manhattan Intermezzo, a sort of tonal travelogue of New York County for piano and orchestra, full of good tunes in a genuinely popular idiom. Duke Ellington’s New World a-Comin’ (in Maurice Peress’ arrangement for piano and orchestra) has appeared on disc a couple of times previously, but this version of the inevitable Rhapsody in Blue goes back to Gershwin’s (and Grofé’s) original score and opens up several traditional cuts. It’s great to hear the whole thing, especially the extended solo part. Pianist Jeffrey Biegel sounds entirely at one with Gershwin’s style–he knows how to inflect a phrase without turning mannered or self-conscious, and the whole performance is full of character. The Brown University Symphony Orchestra under its music director Paul Phillips has every right to be proud of its showing here.”

Featured Tue 8/9, Thu 8/18, Mon 8/29

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