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Cuban Overture

Sheetmusic for concert band.
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Item no.: 100265
Composer: George Gershwin
Arranger: Naoya Wada
Grade: 5-6
Duration: 9:30
Publisher: Tierolff
Size: A4 21x29,7cm, score A3 29,7x42cm


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The Cuban Overture is a work for symphony orchestra by American composer George Gershwin written in 1932. It was premiered on August 16, 1932 at Lewisohn Stadium, New York by the Lewisohn-Stadium Orchestra conducted by Albert Coates.
In February 1932, Gershwin went to Cuba for a two-week vacation with some friends. When he had taken up residence at the Hotel Almendares in Havana, rumba bands such as the Palau Brothers and the Castro Brothers appeared under his hotel room window to serenade him. Gershwin heard a lot of authentic South American music during his stay there, including Cuban dances like the son, rumba, conga and mambo, rhythms and lots of indigenous percussion like the guiro, maracas, bongo, conga, cowbell and claves. Returning to New York with a batch of percussion instruments, he immediately set to work making an impression of his short stay in Cuba. His plans to go to Europe fell through anyway due to the death of his father on May 14 of that year. Instead, he began working like mad on his new "Cuba" impression. He wrote the piece within three weeks and finished it in July. The orchestration was completed - according to the manuscript - on August 9 at 33 Riverside Drive, New York. The title of the piece is, as stated on the manuscript: Rumba. Gershwin did not find the premiere very successful because it was an open-air concert and the sound of the percussion instruments - essential in this piece - was completely lost. However, it was very well received by the critics. They compared it to Ravel's Boléro but richer in rhythmic ingenuity.
The premiere was otherwise a huge success. The stadium was sold out and the program consisted entirely of works by Gershwin. On November 1, the first performance of Rumba took place in an auditorium by the Musicians Symphony Orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera. For this concert, Gershwin changed the title of the piece to Cuban Overture. He stated, "When the audience reads Rumba, they expect something like the 'Pindaman'". The new title Cuban Overture is better. It gives a clearer picture of the character and intent of the music. The piece has not become a regular repertoire piece but is performed regularly. Worldwide, 160 different performances of it have been released on compact disc.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.
This composition was created with the help of a contribution from the Music Investment Fund, an initiative of Buma/Stemra in cooperation with Voi©e, the Copyright Interests Federation and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in the Netherlands.

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