Pianist, organist, composer, arranger
Gershwinicity for Soloists and Symphony Orchestra
Gershwinicity is a fantasia based on five Gershwin songs, for soloists and orchestra. The richness and variety of Gershwin's songs have long inspired classical and jazz musicians, and this piece draws on five of his best known melodies. Strong jazz elements infuse the music, and the solo writing has an improvisatory quality. The piece opens with Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, a lively swing number. This is interrupted by a brief and noisy street scene that sets the mood for A Foggy Day in London Town, a sassy blues. The pace picks up with a jazz-funk style version of Fascinating Rhythm. A sudden change of mood introduces Embraceable You, one of the classic Gershwin love songs. Initially the mood is positive but doubts soon begin to creep into the music. As the tension builds, the tone becomes dark, passionate and tragic, before subsiding to calm resignation. The final song Lady Be Good is an energetic perpetual motion, that finishes in a joyous celebration.
The work was originally performed by five different soloists, but can be performed by one soloist or any different combination of instrumentalists.
Premiered 15th July 2018, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall. BBC Concert Orchestra, Andrew Gourlay (conductor)
Duration: 14 mins
Soloists: Alexandra Ridout (trumpet), David Childs (euphonium), Alexander Bone (alto saxophone), Emma Johnson (clarinet), Jess Gillam (soprano saxophone)
Listen to a performance here: