"First: this is 4 high-end produced cd's (in low-end jewel cases) for the price of 2. The liner notes of all 4 cd's are condensed in a booklet of microscopic print, so you may need to spend the savings on a magnifying glass. MONEY WELL SPENT. Second: Jack Gibbons plays (and has recorded) the Alkan op 39 etudes (he probably plays a lot more Alkan than that). For those of you not in the know, this is to say he has world-class chops, indeed history-class (Liszt, who never played his friend Alkan, at least in public). But it's also to say that Gibbons knows how to interpret and personalize fantastically difficult piano music. For me, his Alkan op 39 is personal and passionate and real (contrast the facile and over-pedalled Hamelin and the just-the-notes-ma'me Ringeissen). An appreciation of Gibbons' Alkan is important here because while his Alkan is uniquely personal (as such music must be, no matter how hard it is to play) his Gershwin is deliberately impersonal...which is to say: no pianist, no singer would want to reproduce what Gibbons has given us in these 4 cd's, and in fact few listeners will be able to listen for long to these 4 cd's without a respite, a break , some silence, some minimal styling from somebody (anybody) else...which brings me to Third: This is an archive, not a recital. This is a library, not a program. There is no track-by-track contrast of moods here, no track-by-track concession to easy listening, varied delight, any more than a library shelf of novels is alphabetized by authors' last names as a concession to mood or fancy or taste of the searching patron. This is the documented Gershwin in his recording mode: manic, notey, clever, "on", and never, as generations of stylists found in him, ravishing, tender, longing, sweet, glad, hopeful...person-to-person, in a word. I can listen to these cd's about half an hour at a time, max. This is Gerwhsin, not Gibbons. And this is just one side of Gershwin. He died at 38, in the summer. Brain tumor. A lot of pain. Finally, Jack Gibbons has given the world a uniquely valuable and easily available resource. Gibbons could now do us a service by playing us some Gershwin as he feels it, as it hits him and makes him sing (as Gershwin, our American Schubert, does to all of us, and as I think Alkan has done to Gibbons). I would love to see a Gershwin stylings by Gibbons now that Gibbons himself has made sure Gershwin in his authenticity is safe and sound."
A unique project
Kurtha | North Hollywood CA | 11/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gibbons' undertaking is unique: to reconstruct and then execute and record the note-for-note playing of Gershwin as documented on the composers' piano rolls, sound recordings and certain published arrangements. I agree with the reviewer who points out that the result is like a library and not a recital you sit back and listen to (or get up and dance to). In fact Gibbons does some editing of his "library" now and then, and clearly documents it in his liner notes: in some reconstructions he augments accompaniment effects and even the melodic line itself. I don't mind that at all, especially as Gibbons scrupulously accounts for such tampering in his liner notes; but it seems to me that it is in this area of "tampering" that Gibbons the artist is asserting himself...which of course undermines the "library", the "historical archive": you have to search and read a bit to find out when you're hearing only Gershwin and when you're hearing some added Gibbons. I don't mind; Gibbons is a remarkable artist in his own right, not merely an impeccable documentarian. For sheer generosity of production Gibbons' Gershwin must also be unique: 4 cd's, scholar-level liner notes (yes, you need a magnifying glass to read them), and rock-bottom bargain price."
kramich | Poland | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This plates are wonderful. I was charmed, and when I close my eyes now, I see scenes with American in Paris or Porgy and Bess but my favorite piece of music is Rhapsody in Blue. It's more than excellent is fantastic. Jack Gibbons perfectly feels the unique tone Gershwin's music, the mixture rythms of jazz with influences of impressionists and clear and beauty melodies. I'm fascinating."
S. Jones | Chicago, IL United States | 07/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's the whole Gershwin catalog at a great price... Five plus hours of bliss. Definately five stars!
Gibbons, according to a family friend and biographer Edward jablonski "recreates Gershwin's style." I'll never know. I can say this is a lively recording and has the perfect balance. It's neither stuffy and plodding or cute."