Who, at the beginning of the previous century, could ever have expected that a little hooligan in the streets of New York would, in less than no time, become one of the most colourful composers of the world? Music softens the morals and can awaken the best things in human nature. That's what happened to George Gershwin. The various kinds of music in the cafés, music shops and in the Jewish theater stimulated him and, when one day the family came into the possession of a piano, the spark spread into a creative powder keg. He soon proved to be a prodigy on the piano and a brilliant composer who, in an inimitable way could bridge between qualitative entertainment music, jazz and classical music.
Although his music is ageless, it expresses perfectly the New York of the nineteen 20'ies and 30'ies.
The musical chameleons of Grupetto often change instruments, from Swanee, over Rhapsody in Blue to his last song.
Tap dancer, singer and actor Serge Hamers sings about the close friendship between Gershwin and his dancing muse Fred Astaire.
'George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue', a tribute to friendship,
directed by Walter Janssens (Kommil Foo, Ulthima Thule, Theater Malpertuis…)
Education: Drama in Studio Herman Teirlinck + course drama UAntwerp
Working environment: Director-broadcaster Radio 1, Radio 3 (nowadays called Klara), World broadcasts, Night radio
Theater (KVS, NTG, KNS, TIL, Brialmonttheater , reizend Volkstheater), Fakkel) | TV-works in Flanders and Holland+ presenting | Film
At the moment: freelance cultural journalist
GRUPETTO'S RHAPSODY IN BLUE
Posted by Viviane Redant - Klassiek Centraal
Concert played 21/11/2017
An afternoon performance during a weekday is attended mostly by a senior audience. They climb the steps to their seats with some effort, panting for breath.
The bright, melodic and nostalgic music of Gershwin works wonders: after the performance the ladies and gentlemen leave the hall full of positive energy.
The musicians of Grupetto are all poly-instrumentalists: equally skilled on wind instruments and string instruments: Jo Vercruysse (violin, trumpet and percussion), Henk Soenen (clarinet, saxophone), Bruno De Schaepdrijver (viola, bass tuba), Valentijn Biesemans (cello, trombone, musical saw) and Jan Lust (piano). For Rhapsody in Blue they are assisted by Serge Hamers (tapdancer, actor, singer).
The quintet GRUPETTO performs around a theme, such as Titanic and In Flanders Fields. As far as Gershwin is concerned, they sink their teeth in the repertory of the brothers George and Ira Gershwin. One took care of the music, the other of the lyrics. Young George Gershwin was stimulated by the various music he heard in cafés, music shops and the Jewish theater and the day the family acquired a piano the fuse of the creative powder keg was lighted. He soon proved to be a prodigy on the piano and a brilliant composer who, in an inimitable way, builds a bridge between qualitative recreation music, jazz and classical Music.
Rhapsody in Blue is a simple but - well taken care of performance. The friendship between George Gershwin and Fred Astaire is the common thread of the whole story.
After a first well-known melody of the Gershwin's immense legacy follows the marvellous Rhapsody in Blue, first performed on January 3, 1924 during a concert "An experiment in Modern Music".
In a few weeks' time Gershwin composed a rhapsody for piano and jazz orchestra in which he combined elements of European symphonic music and American jazz. Even a century later this composition has lost nothing of its originality. On the contrary, the music takes extra colour by the projection of images of New York in the beginning of the previous century. The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps. The bustle takes shape in the music by changes in colour and harmony and the calmness by images of the River Hudson.
Jan Lust at the piano gives a splendid interpretation with a dashing technique and fingering. It's also nice to watch how the musicians smoothly change from one instrument to the other. Then follow lots of tunes of the past century, tunes they sell like hot cakes, such as "They can't take that away from me", "Summertime", "Walkin' the dog", "The man I love", "Swanee" and "I got Rhythm", all melodies that belong to the collective memory.
Serge Hamers sings, dances and talks, tells anecdotes, information about the composer, about Fred Astaire and the spirit of the time.
Result: a nostalgic performance you enjoy on a perfect musical evening.