|Gershwin's An American in Paris
Great American Composers
Ever since PBS filmed a concert of music from my CD "The Great American Piano," I have been asked to perform music from that program all over America. It was such a pleasure to share this music ? our musical heritage ? with people from around the country, that I decided to do another album. "Great American Composers" is in many ways the companion CD to "The Great American Piano."
Of course any CD devoted to American music must include Gershwin. The piano was Gershwin's first love and I found that "American in Paris" translated beautifully to the keyboard. Less well known are the Gottschalk pieces. Gottschalk was the first internationally renowned American concert pianist and his Caprice Americaine (inspired by the melody from Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home") is a tour-de-force of piano writing. Included is a piano arrangement of "My Old Kentucky Home" and it is clear that in the realm of melody writing Stephen Foster is the "American Schubert."
With regard to such icons as Barber, Bernstein, Copland and Sondheim, the quality of their musical thought is so stunning that I prefer to let the music speak for itself. Permit me however to make a final comment on the beautiful simplicity of Scott Joplin's concert waltz "Bethena." I include this little ragtime waltz as a unique glimpse of the beginning of the American Century.
Paul Bisaccia, Provincetown, Massachusetts