REGISTER NOW AND GET
• 5 FREE tracks! • 101 tracks for $9.99
ClassicsOnline Home » GERSHWIN: 6 Songs / COREA: Children's Songs
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
3 Preludes 6 Songs
Corea (1941- )
has had an interesting artistic development owing to its blending of cultures from various
parts of the world. It seems only fitting that the musicians who grow up in this diversity
should write music that reflects it. However strong the diversity, the basic elements of
jazz (American Classical Music) and European Classical Music have followed different
tracks even as they have developed. The musicians who have grown up in one area have
seldom entered the other.
Gershwin and Chick Corea represent two different periods in American musical creativity
but both have been involved as creators of music one might call Fusion, in the case of
Gershwin a blend of Jazz and Classical ideas and with Corea the entwining of Jazz, Rock,
and classical elements. The piano has been the creative voice for both men and composition
an extension of the pianistic gift.
is a similarity between the Preludes of
Gershwin and the Children's Songs of Corea
in that they both write in short simple statements. While their styles of harmonization
are different, that seems to be a reflection of their respective time periods, Gershwin
living from 1898 to 1937 and Chick Corea being born in 1941 and continuing to create at
is very fitting that these two composers are sharing this recording since the one,
Gershwin, helped to establish many of the musical ideas by which the other, Corea, has
undoubtedly been influenced. Together their contributions cover an entire century.
Doubtless what they have contributed will be considered in the future in the realm of
serious art music.
Preludes of Gershwin are indicative of this
composer's interest in writing in Classical forms. The two outer pieces are highly
rhythmic and charged with great energy while the middle selection is an evocative Blues
piece. The playing of these works requires an appreciation of the lyricism of the Blues, a
standard American form of expression, and the highly rhythmic music popular in the urban
areas of America in the early twentieth century.
Songs of Gershwin are well-known examples of
American creative genius. They have been used over the years in many different
arrangements. It was an interesting challenge to write my own arrangements though. I did
not want to lose the flavour of the original melodies but at the same time I wanted to
make a statement that would allow me to realize my own pianistic ends.
idea for the arrangements came up as a result of my interest in performing Gershwin's
settings of his songs. The composer's versions, however, were quite brief and did not
allow me room to show my own piano skills. Fascinatin' Rhythm, Somebody
Loves Me, Liza, and I've Got Rhythm all make use of
Gershwin's original ideas to establish their respective characters. My own written
improvisations are then woven into the existing fabric. The remaining two songs, The
Man I Love and Strike Up The Band are completely original arrangements.
The total statement is exciting for me in that it represents my contribution to a legacy;
the continuum of musically creative people for ever influenced by their predecessors.
Songs accomplish what I aimed for, as
countless performances will attest. The pieces are certainly technically challenging,
thereby giving one a substantial amount of music to interpret. I have used broken octaves,
rapidly moving chords, ascending and descending chromatic thirds, grace notes, flattened
thirds and sixths over a stride bass as part of my vocabulary. I have filled them with
what I think are interesting challenges that lie well in the hand but certainly take
practice to maintain sharpness. At the same time these ideas do not get in the way of what
Gershwin wrote. At least I do not think so. In any case you can be the judge. In an era
which thrives on Pop culture, it is refreshing to encounter the music of a
composer-pianist who is both a stepping-stone to the music of the future and a link to the
Corea is a serious creative force who is current with his time in that he employs the
resources of his time to be expressive. His continued involvement in the development of
Jazz Fusion since its inception in the 1960's has given him the chance to use electronic
instrumentation as a means of creating. His performance group, Return to Forever of the
1970's helped chart a course in electric Jazz. Chick Corea's name has become synonymous
with new ideas in music. He is currently involved in the continued evolution of electronic
music as he performs with the Elektric Band, a modern representative of the Jazz Fusion
evolution. In addition he has been a steady performer in the traditional jazz settings,
having become legendary for his skills as a performer on acoustic piano. At present he is
making a strong statement with a group called the Akoustic Band.
Corea has also used his pianistic skills in collaboration with other well-known
keyboardists such as Keith Jarrett, Friedrich Gulda, and Herbie Hancock. His busy schedule
as a performer in his own compositions as well as the works of others links him to the
exploits of Franz Liszt and Ludwig van Beethoven. As a composer Corea has proved his
diversity by his ability to write in Classical forms as well as modern ones, as
demonstrated by his Septet that was written for the chamber group Tashi, and his piano
all of the songs can be played either way. The Songs reminders
of the Scenes from Childhood of Robert
Schumann and the Childrens Pieces of
Mussorgsky in that they are short to the point and are quite contrasting in their natures.
The Corea songs are characterized by infectious ostinato bass-lines syncopated rhythms and
circular melodies that are very charming in their innocence. The Childrens Songs are fun to play because while
being simple and direct in their statements they are sometimes quite probing and colourful
in their nuances, not unlike children themselves.
in Philadelphia Leon Bates took his first music lesson in piano and violin at the age of
six. He studied under the late Irene Beck at the Settlement Music School and under Natalie
Hinderas at Temple University. In his career he has won many awards and prizes and has
performed with several of the leading world orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra and
the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. His previous recordings for Orion records have met with
Last Albums Viewed
GERSHWIN: 6 Songs / COREA: Children's Songs