Pennario: Rhapsody in Blue (+ An American in Paris) - German Capitol STK 83 280
Jacket VG / Vinyl NM / German pressing
This lovely LP from Capitol (STK 83 280, German pressing, rainbbow label / Capitol logo at 9 o’clock, stereo, glossy front laminated jacket) features a wonderful all-Gershwin album with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Felix Slatkin, and with guest artist pianist Leonard Pennario, both recorded in Los Angeles, California, in February 1956.
The exact contents are as follows:
Rhapsody in Blue
> with Leonard Pennario, piano
An American in Paris
Wrote the wonderful author and critic David Hurwitz for ClassicsToday:
“These performances have been kicking around forever, mostly in crummy remasterings at a super-cheap price. It wasn’t always this way. Felix Slatkin, the violinist and conductor father of Leonard Slatkin, was a thorough pro who grew up leading Hollywood studio orchestras when he was not playing first violin in the Hollywood String Quartet. The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra in the 1960s also consisted of studio musicians thoroughly familiar with Gershwin’s “crossover” idiom. They just don’t play his music like this anymore.
“The performances here are wonderful. Slatkin understands how this music should go: the brash brass, “dirty” clarinets and saxophones, and lush strings, all join forces in the service of punchy rhythms and a wholly natural rubato. The music swings. Listen to the trumpet solo in the central, lyrical theme in An American in Paris, to that voluptuous vibrato and soulful phrasing. Isn’t it just fabulous? In pianist Leonard Pennario Slatkin has a soloist also totally at one with the idiom. Nowadays, most pianists make a meal out of their very first entrance, taking the music far too slowly, with flabby rhythms and unconvincing accents. Not here. Pennario’s playing is vivacious, chic, and supple.
“The sonics have been ably restored to their original, mid-60s technicolor glory. Here is a potent souvenir of time, place, and a style rapidly vanishing. Savor it while you can.”
The front cover photos are credited to ZFA Heidelberg (San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge) and Rudi Herzog (Eiffel Tower). There are extensive liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, printed in German only.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is bumping/wear at corners, but really that is all. There are no seamsplits, owners’ markings, or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not absolutely silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a NM collector's copy.