concert nr 34 / GERSHWIN’S WORLD

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hour 19:30 (50 minutes)
day 28.09 Saturday

music category Orchestral


Frank Braley  piano
Sinfonia Varsovia
Mihhail Gerts conductor


Aaron Copland El Salón México
George Gershwin An American in Paris
George Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue


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See more thanks to the Onstage app! The audience at the concert will be able to use their smartphones to see, what usually cannot be seen when sitting far away from the stage – close-ups of the stage, the conductor’s face or the musicians’ hands. This service will also be available during concert No. 19 (American Sounds).


Aaron Copland’s El Salón Mexico and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris are both good examples of programme music. The idea behind a programme in music is very simple – a composer takes a story, legend, a painting, or even a natural phenomenon and describes it with music, telling a complex, usually symphonic story. Both works are symphonic poems and their content is described in their respective titles.

El Salón Mexico was written in 1932–1936, when Copland was inspired by Mexico City, specifically by one place in the city – a ball room famous for its grand dance parties. On the other hand, in the words of the composer, An American in Paris, is a rhapsodic ballet. The work is very suggestive, with the music literally “telling” the listener what is happening to the protagonist. The work was very successful and after Gershwin’s death it was made into a film with Gene Kelly in the title role. All you need to do is sit back, relax and listen to a story about a ball room in Mexico City and about the adventures of an American wandering about beautiful Paris.

The programme of the concert also includes the Rhapsody in Blue­ – a “musical kaleidoscope of America”, as George Gershwin himself referred to it. This is how the composer recounts how the work came to be: “This was on a train. The mechanical rhythm, all the knocking and banging are often an inspiration to composers – I often hear music in the middle of noise. It was then, on the train, that I not only heard, but as written out on paper, the whole structure of the Rhapsody, from the beginning to the very end.”

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