Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Beau Hunks, Ferde Grofe, Jan Stulen|
The Modern American Music of Ferde Grofé (From the Original Arrangements)
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Soundtracks, Classical
Listen to Samples
Review from New York Times
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the New York Times, December 1 1998, by Allan Kozinn:George Gershwin`s music has never lacked champions, and it is drawing even greater attention this season in honor of his centennial. Perhaps the occasion will lead listeners to reconsider Ferde Grofe, the composer and the arranger for the Paul Whiteman Band who orchestrated Gershwin`s "Rhapsody in Blue", transforming it from a rhythmically vital two-piano score into the atmospheric essay in symphonic jazz that has been a favorite for nearly three-quarters of a century. Little of Grofe`s own music is played today, except two panoramic suites - the "Grand Canyon" and the "Mississippi. In the Modern American Music of Ferde Grofe, the Beau Hunks, an enterprising Dutch ensemble conducted by Jan Stulen, put Grofe`s ambitions in perspective. As a classical trained musician who had held orchestral jobs before joining the Whiteman ban, he believed that the best hope for a flourishing American orchestral style lay in the combination of symphonic music and jazz. It didn`t work out quite that way, but Grofe was clearly onto something: his "Broadway at Night" (1924) paints a vivid picture of the nightlife of the theater district in its heyday, and one of its passing images - a distant muted trumpet - found an expansive echo 16 years later in Aarn Copland`s "Quiet City". There are folksy touches in the " Mississippi Suite" (1925), particularly in the "Mardi Gras" movement that are precursors of moves Copland used in his ballets of the 1940`s. The 17-minute "Metropolis: A Blue Fantasy" (1928) embraces both overt jazziness and fugal counterpoint. The "Cloudburst" movement from the "Grand Canyon Suite",offered as an encore of sortis, is as picturesque an evocation of a storm as you`ll find in the 20th-century repertory. The Beau Hunks' previous explorations have yielded remarkable collections of Raymond Scott`s quirky vignettes and LeRoy Shield`s soundtracks for classic Laurel & Hardy and Little Rascals films. They approach this music the way an early-music group approaches Handel, but with the benefit of erpiod recordings that embody information about the timbres, phrasing and ornamentation of the time. These musicians have picked up these details splendidly: the string glissandos and the grace notes in the trumpet lines in " Metropolis" and "Three Shades of Blue" (1926), the rhythmic fluidity of "Broadway at Night" and the punchy, perfectly balanced wind and brass chording in virtually every work here all create the illusion of a performance from the 1920`s, captured with the clarity and depth of modern recordings. The notes and illustrations also honour Grofe suitably."
A first-rate labor of love
Lee Hartsfeld | Central Ohio, United States | 12/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This wonderful CD features the earliest symphonic works of American composer Ferde Grofe in their original "concert orchestra" arrangements for bandleader Paul Whiteman, for whom Grofe was chief arranger in the 1920s. All but one of these compositions, "Broadway at Night," were recorded by Whiteman in 78 rpm form, but nothing matches hearing them in digital sound, and in such spirited and skilled performances.To the best of my knowledge, this is the first-ever recording of "Broadway," composed in 1924 shortly after Grofe so brilliantly arranged Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." It is as subtle as "Rhapsody" is brash. Grofe lacked Gershwin's melodic imagination and pop-idiomatic genius, but he possessed far greater compositional skill, particularly in his organization of musical material. Whereas Gershwin could barely expand his ideas, Grofe exploited motives and phrases with astonishing ingenuity.The 1928 suite "Metropolis" benefits most from digital presentation. "Mississippi Suite," a light-music staple, sounds remarkably similar in its original form to the expanded orchestration by Grofe, a testimony to the composer's scoring wizardry. No arranger ever accomplished more with 30 pieces, the approximate size of the Whiteman concert orchestra.The Beau Hunks have given light music lovers an incomparable gift in this splendid tribute to Ferde Grofe."
Two very yummy pieces
Jmark2001 | Florida | 05/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Broadway at night and Alice Blue (Which I loved!) are great pieces that evoke the best of 1920's American music. They have also been pretty much unheard of until the Hunks dusted off the music and recorded this album. The other pieces are interesting and the selection from Grand Canyon Suite is a very good rendering. Indispensable if you love 1920's music or Ferde Grofe'."