Leonard Slatkin

Gershwin: An American in Paria: Catfish Row; Promenade; Etc.

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Back when these Gershwin recordings were first released on Vox in 1975, they were received with tepid applause by audiences and polite notices by the critics. It's not that the performances were poor: in their day, Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra were more than capable of turning in more than competent performances, and their performances of American repertoire were often much more than merely capable and competent. It's that the sound on the original Vox LPs was so gritty, so scratchy, so grainy, and so scrappy that it was hard to tell exactly what kind of performances Slatkin and the St. Louis had turned in.

Thanks to the marvelous restoration accomplished by Mobile Fidelity, however, it is finally possible to actually hear Slatkin and the St. Louis' performance, and the results, while not revelatory, are deserving of more than tepid applause and polite notices. Slatkin and the St. Louis' feel for Gershwin was unaffected and affectionate, and their interpretations here are delightful, exciting, and often quite captivating. While not competitive with the best recordings of all time, these are still much more than adequate performances, and, in their magnificent Mobile Fidelity reissues, well worth hearing by anyone who loves Gershwin.

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