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Though an enormous Bernstein fan, his piano work in Gershwins' Rhapsody was so frustratingly self-centered and quite distracting from the rhythm and pace of this iconic piece. I found myself wanting to nudge Lenny along to move the tempo to a pace where I could actually start enjoying the musical narrative rather than his laborious technique that seems almost parody rather than beauty.The orchestral interludes are a bit better, though not much; the deliberate tempo nuances just don't work with Rhapsody and nearly alter the impact and emotional tone of this lovely piece- the pompous staccato and emphatic punctuation are surprisingly awful. Buy Previn's version of this on EMI, which interpret's Gershwin's composing the way it was intended to be heard, at least to my ears. On a positve note,Bernsteins' interpretation of Barbers Adagio is sumptuous and gorgeous, my favourite version; so this album has huge contrasts, hence the three stars.
If you like Bernstein, you'll probably like it. If you like it lively, maybe not. To me, it seems he is slowing the exciting parts of the piece down, but then, I have always found his stuff ponderous (except for West Side Story). His piano is not that great, either. I prefer he Oscar Levant rendition, although it is an older recording.