Music by Candlelight: Ode to Gershwin
Severi Pyysalo, composer, vibraphone and programme planning
“This year marks the 80th anniversary of the death of master composer George Gershwin. Not that a death is anything to celebrate, but the fact that his music is alive and well shows what a great influence he has had on Western music. Gershwin became known as a composer of musicals in particular, but he also wrote what some might call ‘proper’ music, such as the piano concerto ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and the opera ‘Porgy and Bess’. I claim that the major credit for preserving Gershwin’s music for posterity goes to jazz musicians who adopted his tunes for variation and improvisation starting in the 1930s, creating a continuum in the jazz community that survives and will continue to do so.
My piece ‘Ode to Gershwin’ is a sort of hybrid: it is not stylistically akin to Gershwin but instead involves experimental soundscapes and improvisation, although one may hear echoes of 1930s musicals if one chooses to do so… There are some quotes from Gershwin’s works, including almost all of Bess’s aria ‘I loves you Porgy’. Gershwin gave voice to the optimistic post-Depression USA, and I hope that this Finnish tribute will not come across as too much of a Nordic funeral march. At least the piece ends on a major chord, which is generally taken as a positive omen…”
– Severi Pyysalo
Duration CA 1 H. No interval.