George Gershwin is without doubt one of the most influential composers ever to come out of the American musical scene. He had an uncanny knack of combining popular song with classical compositional technique. In addition to Broadway musicals and comedies he wrote an opera (Porgy & Bess), a piano concerto, a tone poem (An American in Paris) and two rhapsodies for piano and orchestra. He died at the age of 38 after undergoing an operation for a malignant brain tumour. This was a huge loss to 20th century music – who knows what he would have achieved had he lived longer – but his body of work ensures a place in the list of all-time great composers.
This recording of pieces for solo piano – subtitled ‘American Dreams’ – features Rhapsody in Blue, Three Preludes, and transcriptions of several classic songs and pieces – many of which are now classed as jazz standards. Many of the arrangements are by Gershwin himself – together with those by Percy Grainger, Maurice Whitney and Henry Levine.
Three bonus tracks are also included from the Gershwin Songbook (arranged for piano and orchestra by Hershy Kay) and feature the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Lee.
Viv McLean has performed at all the major venues in the UK as well as throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. He is one of the most active pianists in the UK today with almost 100 concerts in 2018.
His concerto work includes appearances with the RPO, Philharmonia Orchestra, LPO, Hallé Orchestra, ECO. BBC Concert Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, Orchestra of the Swan, London Concert Orchestra, Scottish Concert Orchestra, Northern Chamber Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Viv studied at Chetham’s School of Music and then at the Royal Academy of Music. While still a student he was the piano winner of The Royal Overseas League Music Competition, which led to his Wigmore Hall debut in 2005. He has recorded frequently for BBC R3 (through the BBC Young Artists Forum scheme) and has also recorded for Classic fM and numerous other broadcasters and record labels.
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About ICSM Records
Founded in 2014 and based in London, Independent Creative Sound and Music (ICSM) Records – is run by musicians for musicians – and is committed to uncompromising quality in every aspect of the recording, creating artistic statements beyond time and fashion. ICSM believe that artists should have full control over all aspects of the production, and at the same time fully respects artistic integrity and intellectual property rights. The label aims to give artists creative freedom and flexibility in the choice of repertoire they record.
The ethos of the label is to release recordings of the highest quality, free of compression and as close as possible to the real live performance.