Review By Dave Saemann ,Fanfare,July 2012
This is Gershwin with a bit of a twist. As a Gershwin conductor, [JoAnn Falletta] virtually excels herself. The Buffalo Philharmonic produces a big, beautifully proportioned sound—rich in texture with lovely playing by the first chairs, including the important trumpet solo in the slow movement of the concerto. This is world-class Gershwin; Falletta really swings. The twist I mentioned comes from the soloist, Orion Weiss. He is a thoughtful and scrupulous pianist, with a fine technique. Weiss plays Gershwin as if he were playing Mozart, with lucidity and limpidness. What Weiss does contribute is an authentic sense of personality…Artur Schnabel spoke of music that is greater than any possible performance of it. Well, Gershwin in these works is a great composer, and I
Review By Bill O'Connell,WCLV,July 2012
David Hurwitz of ClassicsToday.com calls this disc “a very pleasant surprise…the Second Rhapsody, comes across as a work of impressive brilliance and depth” in this performance. “The same goes for the Variations, given a bold, gutsy performance with plenty of pizzazz.” Of the 1925 Concerto in F Major, this recording, says Mr. Hurwitz, “…is one of the more thoughtful and beautiful versions of the work to come out in recent years. The disc is also very well recorded aand sounds quite impressive.”…the disc is a steal! © 2012 WCLV Read complete review
Review By Christophe Huss,ClassicsTodayFrance.com,June 2012
Excellent disque Naxos, avec un programme judicieux, évitant d’ajouter au catalogue une nouvelle Rhapsody in Blue. Le pianiste en est un protégé d’Emanuel Ax, qui cultive une complicité goguenarde avec la chef JoAnn Falletta.
Review By Scherzo,June 2012
Review By Brian Reinhart,MusicWeb International,May 2012
Weiss is a pianist I’d never heard of…I find him very easy to like. The tunes roll off the piano with unaffected charm and lyrical shape; Weiss’s entrance in the adagio is so perfectly done it gives me chills. The Buffalo Philharmonic, under JoAnn Falletta, are his equals, and the partnership is a truly inspired one with a real sense of synergy (try the first movement at 10:18). The orchestral players often steal the show, in fact, as when the strings surge in at 8:30 in the adagio and slip back tenderly forward at 10:18, or in the exquisite woodwind solos which end the movement.
Review By Julie Amacher,Minnesota Public Radio,May 2012
On their latest release, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic are wrapped up in the music of the great American composer George Gershwin. Falletta believes this music is a natural fit for the Buffalo Philharmonic. “Those rhythms, the kind of swinging quality that Gershwin has, the easiness of it. It’s not easy to play, but there’s kind of a swing that feels natural, that feels American, that’s in our vernacular. It was really tailor-made for the BPO. It was so much fun to do this.”
Review By Jason Victor Serinus,San Francisco Classical Voice,May 2012
On this new Naxos CD, all but the grossly over-recorded Rhapsody in Blue receive bang-up, knock down treatment in the hands of 30-year old Orion Weiss. The Classical Recording Foundation’s 2010 Young Artist of the Year, who puts his all into the music, receives rousing support from Music Director JoAnn Falletta and her Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
…Weiss sounds more weighty than insouciant as he plays up a storm. The Concerto in F gives him relatively few measures to display sensitivity and shading, though he makes the most of them. Then he begins to fly all over the keyboard, often banging away as though the construction of the Empire State Building is at stake.
Review By Peter Dickinson,Gramophone,May 2012
If we have to have yet another recording of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto, there are things to admire in this one. Orion Weiss never engages in the kind of exaggeration which some pianists have used to define their identity and his dry rhythmic delivery is thoroughly idiomatic.
In the Adagio…Weiss is perky…in the faster middle section…the orchestra serves him well, with a fulsome tam-tam just before the last climax, not an apologetic ping as in some recordings.
Review By Jonathan Sánchez Hernández,Ritmo,May 2012
Naxos lanza al mercado una recopilación de obras para piano y orquesta de Gershwin bajo la serie “American Classics”. Para este disco han seleccionado tres: Concierto en Fa, la Segunda Rapsodia y las Variaciones “I Got Rhythm”. Estas piezas tan populares han disfrutado de numerosas grabaciones, y este es su gran pecado: una discreta orquesta como la Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra difícilmente podrá competir con las grandes, poseedora de un sonido de trazo grueso y turbio y unos solistas discretos, o a veces insuficientes, como ocurre en el movimiento central del Concierto, con un trompeta que apenas logra recrear ese aire de blues. La directora JoAnn Falleta despiega una visión brillante
Review By Record Geijutsu,May 2012
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Review By El Nuevo Herald,April 2012
El Concierto en Fa fue la respuesta de George Gershwin a los pedidos de un “concierto apropiado” luego del éxito de su Rhapsody in Blue. En esa nueva pieza, el compositor…nos regaló una fiesta de edificantes y nostálgicos…Rhapsody Nr. 2…describe el animado ambiente citadino de Manhattan, en plena construcción por aquellos tiempos. Ambas obras, complementadas por I Got Rhytm Variations, proveniente del popular musical Girl Crazy, integran este compacto en el que el pianista Orion Weiss y la Sinfónica de Buffalo, le rinden homenaje al inmortal creador. © 2012 El Nuevo Herald
Review By SteveHoltje,Culture Catch,April 2012
if you’re in the market for an inexpensive alternative reading in excellent sound, rising star Weiss and company are worth hearing, and the other two items here, also for piano and orchestra, make for a more interesting program than the usual Rhapsody in Blue pairing. The Rhapsody No. 2 deserves to be better known; it is a colorful celebration of New York, and gets a joyously sensual reading here. The variations on his most famous tune make a scintillating conclusion. As for Weiss and Falletta’s take on the concerto, its jazz elements sound completely natural (never a given), with rhythms sharp and lively, and the languid aspects are played up deliciously in a more tender reading than the norm…As Weiss shape the concerto, it’s a major work of
Review By John Whitmore,MusicWeb International,April 2012
There are two extreme ways of approaching the concerto—either as an orchestrated piece of jazz or as a romantic piano concerto with jazz influences. JoAnn Falletta and her virtuoso soloist present the latter view and very good it is too. Nothing is overstated or interpreted to death. The music is allowed to speak for itself. There’s clearly a good rapport between conductor and soloist…the whole thing is as smooth as silk. The musicians produce a sophisticated, creamy orchestral sound rather than one inspired by the world of jazz. The marvellous string tune at 8:30 is a knock-out, played with just enough schmaltz without it becoming cloying. The finale—not the strongest of movements—zips along nicely and brings the concerto to a very exciting
The young soloist, Orion Weiss, has…that special gift of making you listen to what he has to say. There’s nothing barnstorming or aggressive about his work. His perfect technique is there to serve the music and he doesn’t use it to browbeat the audience. Some will criticize the concerto for not being flashy enough but it’s enjoyable, very musical and leans towards Rachmaninov rather than Tin Pan Alley.
Turning to the sound quality…[h]orns are spectacularly caught, brass and strings are glorious and the dynamic range is huge. The whole orchestra is set in a natural-sounding hall ambience and producer/engineer Tim Handley has certainly delivered the goods. Of its type this is a fine recording.
For smooth sophistication of execution captured in digital sound, this Buffalo production will be widely admired.
Rhapsody No.2…receives a fabulous performance here, just about the best now placed before the public. JoAnn Falletta conjures up some inspired, witty orchestral playing that really makes you smile. This is pure Hollywood, no more, no less. Written originally as film music I must admit that I couldn’t get the image of Tom and Jerry walking through the streets of New York out of my mind whilst listening to it. The work emerges here as a nostalgic piece of Americana and it’s tremendously enjoyable.
Finally we come to the I Got Rhythm Variations. This has an extra ingredient that’s not always in evidence in the performance of the concerto—spontaneous fun. It’s as if the hard work has been done, the microphones have been turned off and this is an encore at the end of the recording session. It’s more daring, high-spirited and unbuttoned. In truth it’s the best thing on the CD, Weiss is outstanding and the orchestra’s contribution is superb. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review
Review By Brian Wilson Download Roundup,MusicWeb International,April 2012
these new, thoroughly idiomatic recordings are very welcome. The music may not be quite as snappy as the better known Rhapsody, but all the usual jaunty Gershwin trademarks are there, as, indeed, they are in the foot-tapping variations on I Got Rhythm. The mp3 transfer sounds fine and the notes are short but to the point. This is one of those recordings that you know are going to be excellent right from the start. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review
Review By Mary Kunz Goldman,The Buffalo News,March 2012
The vibe was right for this little Gershwin festival. The mood was upbeat and funky. The performers did not take everything too seriously—important in music like this, which can suffer from being overplayed.
Orion Weiss, the pianist, added to the excitement. He brought good spirit to this music, and though his playing has confidence and strength, he has a light touch that is all his own.
You hear funky touches from BPO players, too, including Principal Clarinetist John Fullam and also Alex Jokipii, principal trumpet. © 2012 The Buffalo News Read complete review
Review By Andy Propst,TheaterMania.com,March 2012
This disc, headlined by pianist Orion Weiss performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, contains three ravishing pieces of George Gershwin's orchestral music, including the sumptuous "Concerto in F,"…It is terrifically complemented by "Rhapsody No. 2," a piece meant to capture the driving energies of New York City…The third offering on this immensely satisfying recording is the playful "I Got Rhythm" variations, which contains some marvelous riffs on the song so famous from Girl Crazy. © 2012 TheaterMania.com Read complete review
Review By Christophe Huss,Le Devoir,March 2012
Ils ont le coup de tambour infernal sur le violon qui scratche et les vieux banjos. Leur chanteuse est un mélange mordant de gouaille et de raffinement…Ils ajoutent les os qui claquent comme des épouvantes et même du beatbox pour établir encore plus fortement la connexion avec cette formidable tradition afro-américaine des string bands. Ils ont le vieux son sale des routes de poussière de la Caroline du Nord et la super énergie de leur jeunesse, mais ils peuvent aussi se donner de la gravité et se fondre dans la tristesse d’un violoncelle sur les ballades. L’an dernier, ils ont remporté le Grammy du meilleur album de folk traditionnel. Cette année, ils sont encore meilleurs. © 2012 Le
Review By Infodad.com,March 2012
Orion Weiss…plays with vivacity and power, and the Buffalo Philharmonic under JoAnn Falletta backs him up with altogether infectious enthusiasm. …the brightest and bounciest performance here is the “I Got Rhythm” Variations…: they simply sound as if they are having more fun. The whole CD is fun…a showcase for music whose modern sensibilities blend beautifully with classical models to produce a highly listenable and thoroughly enjoyable experience. © 2012 Infodad.com Read complete review
Review By James Norris,Audiophilia,February 2012
Orion Weiss plays the Concerto with great panache and draws a depth of sound out of the piano that makes it almost sound like Rachmaninov in places. His rhythms are crisp and poised and the contrasts with the calmer more retrospective passages are well handled.
Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic give him excellent support and the slow movement is turned into a mini tone poem in its own right with the plaintiff trumpet solo at the beginning heralding its blues credentials. This is the very heart of the piece and at nearly thirteen minutes paints a magical scene which soloist and orchestra cleverly maintain without any loss of momentum. The third movement is again full of energy and the melodies swagger along with the high energy of the roaring twenties in full swing.
Review By John J. Puccio,Classical Candor,February 2012
In the present album American pianist Orion Weiss, conductor JoAnn Falletta, and the Buffalo Philharmonic present three of Gershwin's most-famous creations, the Concerto in F, the Rhapsody No. 2, and the I Got Rhythm Variations. Although I was not familiar with Mr. Weiss's playing, I have been an admirer of Ms. Falletta's work in Buffalo for some time and looked forward to their collaboration. They did not disappoint me.
An Allegro opens [Concerto in F] in a big, robust, sweeping fashion, with Weiss and Falletta leading the way in a forward drive they sustain wonderfully.
Review By David Hurwitz,ClassicsToday.com,February 2012
the Second Rhapsody, a splendid, neglected work…is very well played and conducted by the team of Orion Weiss and JoAnn Falletta, and comes across as a work of impressive brilliance and depth. The same goes for the Variations, given a bold, gutsy performance with plenty of pizzazz.
The disc is also very well recorded and sounds quite impressive in both regular stereo and Blu-ray versions. A very pleasant surprise. © 2012 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review
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