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American in Paris, An (arr Tamanini)

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George Gershwin

George Gershwin (trans. Marco Tamanini)


General Info

Year: 1929 / 2015
Duration: c. 19:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Baton Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €196.00   |   Score Only (print) - €33.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Solo Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Celesta
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Taxi Horns
  • Tom-Tom
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone

Cello


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Gershwin was best known as a writer of music for the entertainment market, but he did make several excursions into the realm of art music. One of these was the result of a brief visit to Paris in 1926 (from which he returned with a French taxicab horn and the sketch of a melody) and a longer stay in 1928. He made use of both the horn and the melody while writing this piece during his second visit. He called the work a "rhapsodic ballet." His description follows:

I have not endeavored to present any definite scenes in this music. The rhapsody is programmatic in a general impressionistic sort of way, so that the individual listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him. The opening section is followed by a rich 'blues' with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a cafe, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The blues rises to a climax followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris.

-Program Note from Program Notes for Band


First performed as an orchestral piece in 1928, An American in Paris was inspired by Gershwin’s time he spent in Paris, evoking the senses with the sights, sounds and energy of Parisian streets in the 20s. Gershwin himself called it a “rhapsodic ballet”, and included a different writing style than he used previously, with more modern musical expressions and a more free style of composition. The first melodic motive of the piece was an homage to his Parisian hosts from the trip, and is the foundation of the entire piece.

There are loose sections of the piece that are extremely episodic, the first including two main “walking” themes and a slower, third theme. Gershwin even described in his original program notes, “You are to imagine, then, an American visiting Paris, swinging down the Champs-Elysées on a mild, sunny morning in May or June.” The style of this section is, rightfully so, inspired by the French style of composers like Debussy, Milhaud and Poulenc. This section also includes the sound of taxi horns, emulating the true feeling of strolling down the streets of Paris. The second section is an homage to the musical styles of America including a statement of the twelve-bar blues. This nostalgia and homesickness is felt by the entry of a solo trumpet, and feels distinctly American when compared to previous episodes. The next section is an extension of the bluesy melodic ideas introduced previously using the saxes, trumpets and snare drum. This is followed by a restatement of the walking themes, and a full “Grandioso” finale.

- Program Note from SUNY Fredonia Wind Symphony concert program, 12 March 2020


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Symphony (Donna Dolson, conductor) – 12 March 2020
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Ensemble (Chad R. Nicholson, conductor) - 26 April 2018


Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music


All Wind Works


Resources

  • An America in Paris, Wikipedia Accessed 29 July 2018
  • Gershwin, G.; Tamanini, M. (2015). An American in Paris [score]. Baton Music: Eindhoven, Netherlands.
  • Perusal score
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 226.