George Gershwin

An American in Paris [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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This set is a celebration of George Gershwin's music, an attempt to expand the original soundtrack album, which had a very short running time and only an excerpt from the ballet; the re-sourcing of the songs works in some spots and not in others, and some listeners may not care for the inclusion of bits of dialogue. The songs hold up well, even under the somewhat shaky but expressive singing of Gene Kelly, who gets some much-needed assistance from Georges Guetery. (Guetery's rendition of "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" is one of the classic performances on this album.) "An American in Paris" had been reorchestrated and rewritten in part for the movie -- to make room for a tap number among other changes required by the action and choreography -- and it is interesting to hear as a freestanding piece of music in this adapted form. [Some reissues include all of the outtakes and unused songs found in the vaults when the movie was restored in the mid-'90s.]

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