Discussion:
Porgy and Bess
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Ricardo Jimenez
2020-07-17 01:59:15 UTC
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Gershwin's opera will be presented as part of PBS' "Great Performances
from the Met" series this weekend. I had long thought it was just a
musical and never had seen a performance before the DVD, shot on a
movie set, with the music under the direction of Simon Rattle. It
turns out that it is a real opera. There is only a small amount of
spoken dialog, given to the few white characters. Besides some great
tunes, the harmony, counterpoint and orchestration seemed to me that
Gershwin had learned his craft pretty well. The description of Porgy
as the greatest American opera doesn't seem to be unreasonable.

However, not everybody agrees. I once posted Harold C Schoenberg's
takedown and here is one from a serious musician who also composed
operas, Virgil Thompson: "The material is straight from the melting
pot. At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory stirring-up together
of Israel, Africa and the Gaelic Isles. … [Gershwin’s] lack of
understanding of all the major problems of form, of continuity, and of
serious or direct musical expression is not surprising in view of the
impurity of his musical sources. … I do not like fake folklore, nor
fidgety accompaniments, nor bittersweet harmony, nor six-part
choruses, nor gefilte fish orchestration".

What the hell is he talking about?
g***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 02:05:21 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Gershwin's opera will be presented as part of PBS' "Great Performances
from the Met" series this weekend. I had long thought it was just a
musical and never had seen a performance before the DVD, shot on a
movie set, with the music under the direction of Simon Rattle. It
turns out that it is a real opera. There is only a small amount of
spoken dialog, given to the few white characters. Besides some great
tunes, the harmony, counterpoint and orchestration seemed to me that
Gershwin had learned his craft pretty well. The description of Porgy
as the greatest American opera doesn't seem to be unreasonable.
However, not everybody agrees. I once posted Harold C Schoenberg's
takedown and here is one from a serious musician who also composed
operas, Virgil Thompson: "The material is straight from the melting
pot. At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory stirring-up together
of Israel, Africa and the Gaelic Isles. … [Gershwin’s] lack of
understanding of all the major problems of form, of continuity, and of
serious or direct musical expression is not surprising in view of the
impurity of his musical sources. … I do not like fake folklore, nor
fidgety accompaniments, nor bittersweet harmony, nor six-part
choruses, nor gefilte fish orchestration".
What the hell is he talking about?
Sounds like envy to me.
g***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 02:15:02 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Gershwin's opera will be presented as part of PBS' "Great Performances
from the Met" series this weekend. I had long thought it was just a
musical and never had seen a performance before the DVD, shot on a
movie set, with the music under the direction of Simon Rattle. It
turns out that it is a real opera. There is only a small amount of
spoken dialog, given to the few white characters. Besides some great
tunes, the harmony, counterpoint and orchestration seemed to me that
Gershwin had learned his craft pretty well. The description of Porgy
as the greatest American opera doesn't seem to be unreasonable.
However, not everybody agrees. I once posted Harold C Schoenberg's
takedown and here is one from a serious musician who also composed
operas, Virgil Thompson: "The material is straight from the melting
pot. At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory stirring-up together
of Israel, Africa and the Gaelic Isles. … [Gershwin’s] lack of
understanding of all the major problems of form, of continuity, and of
serious or direct musical expression is not surprising in view of the
impurity of his musical sources. … I do not like fake folklore, nor
fidgety accompaniments, nor bittersweet harmony, nor six-part
choruses, nor gefilte fish orchestration".
What the hell is he talking about?
Could it be that some works of art initially polarize critics and audiences but over time eventually become recognized for the masterpieces that they are?

Think CITIZEN KANE, VERTIGO, and APOCALYPSE NOW.
Frank Berger
2020-07-17 04:07:55 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Gershwin's opera will be presented as part of PBS' "Great Performances
from the Met" series this weekend. I had long thought it was just a
musical and never had seen a performance before the DVD, shot on a
movie set, with the music under the direction of Simon Rattle. It
turns out that it is a real opera. There is only a small amount of
spoken dialog, given to the few white characters. Besides some great
tunes, the harmony, counterpoint and orchestration seemed to me that
Gershwin had learned his craft pretty well. The description of Porgy
as the greatest American opera doesn't seem to be unreasonable.
However, not everybody agrees. I once posted Harold C Schoenberg's
takedown and here is one from a serious musician who also composed
operas, Virgil Thompson: "The material is straight from the melting
pot. At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory stirring-up together
of Israel, Africa and the Gaelic Isles. … [Gershwin’s] lack of
understanding of all the major problems of form, of continuity, and of
serious or direct musical expression is not surprising in view of the
impurity of his musical sources. … I do not like fake folklore, nor
fidgety accompaniments, nor bittersweet harmony, nor six-part
choruses, nor gefilte fish orchestration".
What the hell is he talking about?
Candidate for cancellation.
r***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 12:45:59 UTC
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I looked at the PBS schedule on my cable box and I could not find a listing for Porgy and Bess anywhere. Is this supposed to be the recent production conducted by David Robertson or the earlier one conducted by James Levine?
Ricardo Jimenez
2020-07-17 13:27:23 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
I looked at the PBS schedule on my cable box and I could not find a listing for Porgy and Bess anywhere. Is this supposed to be the recent production conducted by David Robertson or the earlier one conducted by James Levine?
The David Robertson with Eric Owens as Porgy.
https://www.pbs.org/video/excerpts-porgy-and-bess-21ji8m/
r***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 13:42:19 UTC
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This is great (as with the performances, which I recorded from the series of feeds)!!! Thanks!!!
Dan Fowler
2020-07-17 14:57:55 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
This is great (as with the performances, which I recorded from the series
of feeds)!!! Thanks!!!
Indeed, many thanks for the heads up. Plays on Sunday here, so I’m looking
forward to it. I first heard the work by listening to Maazel’s version and
later the one by the Houston Opera. I’m quite happy with those, but are
their any newer releases worth pursuing?

Thanks!
Dan F
c***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 19:34:24 UTC
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Post by Dan Fowler
Post by r***@gmail.com
This is great (as with the performances, which I recorded from the series
of feeds)!!! Thanks!!!
Indeed, many thanks for the heads up. Plays on Sunday here, so I’m looking
forward to it. I first heard the work by listening to Maazel’s version and
later the one by the Houston Opera. I’m quite happy with those, but are
their any newer releases worth pursuing?
Thanks!
Dan F
Not newer, but do you know this one? https://www.guildmusic.com/shop/wbc.php?tpl=produktdetail.html&pid=7650. Cuts, dialogue instead of recitative, but still essential imo. If you want the opera complete, for me it's a toss-up between Maazel and Rattle, and I don't see why you need both. The Met performance has its moments, but I wasn't thrilled by it. YMMV of course.

AC
s***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 21:19:50 UTC
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I still like the 1951 version produced by Goddard Lieberson that was on Sony. (Also have a copy of the original LPs.)

Stan Punzel
Dan Fowler
2020-07-17 22:24:57 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by r***@gmail.com
This is great (as with the performances, which I recorded from the series
of feeds)!!! Thanks!!!
Indeed, many thanks for the heads up. Plays on Sunday here, so Im looking
forward to it. I first heard the work by listening to Maazels version and
later the one by the Houston Opera. Im quite happy with those, but are
their any newer releases worth pursuing?
Thanks!
Dan F
Not newer, but do you know this one?
https://www.guildmusic.com/shop/wbc.php?tpl=produktdetail.html&pidv50.
Cuts, dialogue instead of recitative, but still essential imo. If you
want the opera complete, for me it's a toss-up between Maazel and Rattle,
and I don't see why you need both. The Met performance has its moments,
but I wasn't thrilled by it. YMMV of course.
AC
Thanks Alan, that’s a great version. Lots of flair. My version’s on the
Audite label.
Frank Berger
2020-07-17 13:42:24 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
I looked at the PBS schedule on my cable box and I could not find a listing for Porgy and Bess anywhere. Is this supposed to be the recent production conducted by David Robertson or the earlier one conducted by James Levine?
I searched Fios for ""Great Performances at the Met" and
found it on my local PBS station. Tonight at 9. Starring
Eric Owens and Angel Blue.
graham
2020-07-17 21:26:46 UTC
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Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Gershwin's opera will be presented as part of PBS' "Great Performances
from the Met" series this weekend. I had long thought it was just a
musical and never had seen a performance before the DVD, shot on a
movie set, with the music under the direction of Simon Rattle. It
turns out that it is a real opera. There is only a small amount of
spoken dialog, given to the few white characters. Besides some great
tunes, the harmony, counterpoint and orchestration seemed to me that
Gershwin had learned his craft pretty well. The description of Porgy
as the greatest American opera doesn't seem to be unreasonable.
However, not everybody agrees. I once posted Harold C Schoenberg's
takedown and here is one from a serious musician who also composed
operas, Virgil Thompson: "The material is straight from the melting
pot. At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory stirring-up together
of Israel, Africa and the Gaelic Isles. … [Gershwin’s] lack of
understanding of all the major problems of form, of continuity, and of
serious or direct musical expression is not surprising in view of the
impurity of his musical sources. … I do not like fake folklore, nor
fidgety accompaniments, nor bittersweet harmony, nor six-part
choruses, nor gefilte fish orchestration".
What the hell is he talking about?
A rough translation: "I wish my music were as popular as Gershwin's so
that I didn't have to write reviews for a living!"
Frank Berger
2020-07-17 21:42:22 UTC
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Post by graham
Post by Ricardo Jimenez
Gershwin's opera will be presented as part of PBS' "Great
Performances
from the Met" series this weekend.  I had long thought it
was just a
musical and never had seen a performance before the DVD,
shot on a
movie set, with the music under the direction of Simon
Rattle.  It
turns out that it is a real opera.  There is only a small
amount of
spoken dialog, given to the few white characters.  Besides
some great
tunes, the harmony, counterpoint and orchestration seemed
to me that
Gershwin had learned his craft pretty well.  The
description of Porgy
as the greatest American opera doesn't seem to be
unreasonable.
However, not everybody agrees.  I once posted Harold C
Schoenberg's
takedown and here is one from a serious musician who also
composed
operas, Virgil Thompson:  "The material is straight from
the melting
pot. At best it is a piquant but highly unsavory
stirring-up together
of Israel, Africa and the Gaelic Isles. … [Gershwin’s]
lack of
understanding of all the major problems of form, of
continuity, and of
serious or direct musical expression is not surprising in
view of the
impurity of his musical sources. … I do not like fake
folklore, nor
fidgety accompaniments, nor bittersweet harmony, nor six-part
choruses, nor gefilte fish orchestration".
What the hell is he talking about?
A rough translation: "I wish my music were as popular as
Gershwin's so that I didn't have to write reviews for a
living!"
With a touch of antisemitism, that he probably wasn't even
aware of.
s***@nycap.rr.com
2020-07-18 16:14:38 UTC
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I did not watch the opera as it ran opposite "How Green Was My Valley" on another channel. But I looked at it briefly and saw that the character Porgy was walking around on the stage. Is it my imagination or is Porgy supposed to be played on his knees?

MIFrost
Dennman6
2020-07-19 02:24:11 UTC
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No, that was the one about Toulouse-lautrec...
s***@nycap.rr.com
2020-07-19 17:14:01 UTC
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Post by Dennman6
No, that was the one about Toulouse-lautrec...
Henri and Bess?

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