ALICIA ZIZZO

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GEORGE GERSHWIN: ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS

GEORGE GERSHWIN: ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS

All Selections Edited by Alicia Zizzo

George Gershwin

ALICIA ZIZZO, piano

[MS1127]

$12.95

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REVIEWS
"[Zizzo] plays the piece with a remarkable freshness and a carefree manner...Zizzo's performance has a compelling flow to it, letting one theme stream into the next with ease...[This is] a disc no Gershwin fan can be without."
Gramophone - November 2009
"[Zizzo's Blue Monday Suite is] affectionately played..."
BBC Music Magazine - December 2009
"Dr. Zizzo has distinguished herself in musicological circles for her scholarship and dedication to restoring Gershwin’s solo piano literature. Her detailed analysis and exegesis of the composer’s original piano manuscript of the Rhapsody in Blue, which she plays on this recording, makes for fascinating reading as well as listening. Her artistry at the keyboard is no less than her erudition; she is a fine pianist who brings a special insight into a composer too often under-appreciated and misunderstood. Strongly recommended to all lovers of Gershwin’s music."
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare - September/October 2009
"...Zizzo certainly plays all of this material well. The [new MSR  transfer is] full-bodied in sound... if one is genuinely interested in George Gershwin then MSR Classics' George Gershwin: The Original Manuscripts is indispensible."
Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide - June 2009
"Lovers and enthusiasts of Gershwin will find this recording quite enjoyable as it offers a more authentic version of some of Gershwin’s undeservedly neglected piano works. The pianist Alicia Zizzo is obviously someone who is quite close to this music. This bond between the performer and the music comes out quite naturally in the performance. The whole recording has a very relaxed and unassuming atmosphere to it, something that is perfectly in tune with the works themselves. If you’re looking for great music you can find it in the Rhapsody in Blue and can be further pleased by Alicia Zizzo’s virtuosic execution of it."
Thomas Healy, Classical Voice of New England - October 2009
"All these Gershwin manuscripts were edited by Dr. Zizzo, who writes in the notes that since the composer had an incomplete high school education and no conservatory training, he didn’t dispute editors and publishers who took liberties with his scores. After all, he had to have both Blue Monday and Rhapsody in Blue orchestrated by others. Gershwin’s original manuscripts have not been given their due, but Dr. Zizzo is doing her part to improve on that... Gershwin’s first attempt to fuse classical music with early jazz was his 20-minute operetta  of 1922, Blue Monday.  It’s somewhat corny plot was a variation on the Frankie & Johnny idea, but it paved the way for Gershwin’s later masterpiece Porgy and Bess. It was after conducting Blue Monday that Ferde Grofe asked Gershwin to composer a piece for piano and orchestra which became the famous Rhapsody in Blue. The operetta has been recorded, and an edited piano-only version was published, but Alica Zizzo plays the complex and tuneful piece from its original manuscript... The three Gershwin Preludes have been much played in their original piano versions, and in innumerable transcriptions for various instruments. Who knew that Gershwin - inspired by his main influence, Chopin - originally planned to created a parallel set of preludes to Chopin’s 24 (which had been in turn inspired by Bach’s)?  He was going to dub it The Melting Pot. In his premiere performance of 1926 Gershwin played not three but five preludes. One was later used as a song and another became the opening of the last movement of his Concerto in F.  Zizzo gives us eight separate tracks here, though some are as short as :27. I never realized that the second and third Preludes had special titles: Blue Lullaby and Spanish Prelude, respectively... Her performance of the restored Rhapsody in Blue from Gershwin’s original manuscript is most edifying. The publisher had originally deleted over 50 measures in the piano part with orchestra and 88 bars in the solo piano version, plus there were many other cuts.  The restored version runs 17 1/2 minutes, longer than any other recording of Rhapsody in Blue... The piano sound is excellent and the notes most informative. Every fan of one of America’s greatest composers will want to have this CD."
John Sunier, Audiophile Audtion - September 2009
"Dr. Zizzo has distinguished herself in musicological circles for her scholarship and dedication to restoring Gershwin’s solo piano literature. Her detailed analysis and exegesis of the composer’s original piano manuscript of the Rhapsody in Blue, which she plays on this recording, makes for fascinating reading as well as listening. Her artistry at the keyboard is no less than her erudition; she is a fine pianist who brings a special insight into a composer too often under-appreciated and misunderstood. Strongly recommended to all lovers of Gershwin’s music."
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare - September/October 2009
"...Zizzo certainly plays all of this material well. The [new MSR  transfer is] full-bodied in sound... if one is genuinely interested in George Gershwin then MSR Classics' George Gershwin: The Original Manuscripts is indispensible."
Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide - June 2009
PROGRAM NOTES
In every turn of history there exists a kaleidoscope of human expression where new light refracts on old traditions of composition and performance. Because music is an aural art, the penned notation of each work is of critical importance to its interpretation, and even the “silent spaces” within that notation become indispensable in shaping rhythm in performance.

George Gershwin lived in an era where spaces between the notes literally defined American music. It was called Jazz, and he weaved magic with it during his short life. Much of that magic was distilled into arrangements, interpretations, editions and performances that went unchanged for more than half a century. Sadly for Gershwin lovers, there were few references to his original manuscripts. And yet Beethoven’s or Mozart’s or Chopin’s works are heard in many recordings from which one can choose a favorite — not so with George Gershwin.

Gershwin was a born and bred New Yorker, and as Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Paderewski filled its concert halls, the atonalists were decomposing tradition, early jazz players found their niches in sweet-toned, crowded hideaways, and Tin Pan Alley was pumping out mass produced tunes. In their midst was George Gershwin, a happy-go-lucky kid with the genius of Chopin and an incomplete high school education, who passionately immersed himself in every aspect of musical composition. He was also an astute businessman, uneasy with his lack of conservatory training, and as a consequence never developed as an egoist who would dispute the work of editors who often took liberties with his scores. Gershwin greatly benefited from his published editions, however, and although he was happy to perform them from them as well as from his own original manuscripts, his heart and soul rested silently in those neglected piano manuscripts — until now.

*     *     *

As one of America’s great classical musicians, Alicia Zizzo’s pianistic artistry has brought her international acclaim on four continents, from London (Barbican Center), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Vienna (Musikverein), Budapest (Vigado with the Budapest Symphony), Warsaw (Ostrovsky Palace for the Chopin Society) to New York (Avery Fisher and Carnegie Halls) as well as many other venues throughout Europe and the United States. She is a Steinway Artist and her portrait hangs in their Hall of Fame in New York City.

Alicia Zizzo’s work has been hailed in magazines and newspapers throughout the world, ranging from The New York Times‚ The Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times and Boston Globe to the Toronto Star‚Tokyo’s Asahi Shimbun, the China Post, Gramophone magazine, Classic FM Magazine, Netherlands’ NRC Handelsblad and El Espectador in Bogota.Her groundbreaking musicological analysis of the original manuscripts of the Rhapsody in Blue was published internationally in Clavier magazine. She has also written about Gershwin’s “lost” Preludes for this magazine and others, including Piano & Keyboard, Piano Today and The New York Concert Review.

Dr. Zizzo has appeared on The Today Show, ABC Evening News, BBC World Service, WLIW TV (PBS New York), BBC Radio Four, CNN, Voice of America, National Public Radio, KKGO-San Francisco, WGBH-Boston, CBC in Canada and Radio France. She also performed in a major National Public Radio documentary celebrating Gershwin’s 100th Birthday, and has participated in film documentaries about Gershwin for the noted French filmmaker Alain Resnais, as well as for the BBC Wales, the latter of which was filmed at the Library of Congress. Her previous MSR recording, Piano Dreams [MS1053], was used in the soundtrack of a film produced in Canada.

Along with Honorees President George H.W. Bush and Billy Joel, Alicia Zizzo was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree by Hofstra University in 1998 in recognition of her significant contributions to American music. In 2004, she was honored with an International Prize for her work by the President of the Greek Parliament through the Euro-American Women’s Council. Zizzo is now also Dame Alicia Zizzo, having been knighted by the Russian Royal Ancestry dating from the 18th Century. In December 2005, her biography and a special citation for her contributions to American music history were read into the Congressional Record of the 109th United States Congress.

One of Dr. Zizzo’s goals has been to enhance the remarkably small classical solo piano repertoire of George Gershwin. Working with the Library of Congress, Warner Brothers Publications, the Gershwin estate and late Gershwin scholar Edward Jablonski, she has researched, transcribed and reconstructed the composer’s lost or forgotten classical solo piano manuscripts notated in his own hand. Dr. Zizzo approaches Gershwin’s manuscripts for the purpose of reconstructing from fragments, sketches and partially completed scores Gershwin’s own long-neglected material. Warner Brothers Publications, which administers the copyrights of Gershwin’s material, has made Dr. Zizzo’s reconstructions of Lullaby, Blue Monday, Seven Preludes, Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm Variations, Gershwin Miniatures and other unpublished manuscripts for solo piano the first new authentic editions of Gershwin’s classical material to be published in more than half a century. In a four-day Library of Congress celebration of the Gershwin Centennial in 1998, Alicia Zizzo was honored to be the only concert pianist invited to present a full recital and lecture at this historic event, where she performed her editions and received the highest laudatory praise.

PROGRAM

GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937)

BLUE MONDAY for Piano Solo

PRELUDES
Prelude I (1926)
Prelude – Melody No.17 (1925-26)
Prelude – Novelette in Fourths (c.1919)
Prelude – Rubato (1923)
Prelude II – Blue Lullaby (1926)
Prelude – Fragment (1925)
Prelude III – Spanish Prelude

MINIATURES (Songs Without Words)
Sleepless Night (Prelude)
Sutton Place
Machinery Going Mad
Three Note Waltz
Romantic 1927
Impromptu in Two Keys
Irish Waltz

RHAPSODY IN BLUE for Piano Solo





MSR Classics
PIANO DREAMS
PIANO DREAMS

ALICIA ZIZZO

[MS1053]