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Extra info for Conducting Concerti: A Technical and Interpretive Guide
I. Piano Concerti 2 47 At 28, an unprinted, but nonetheless pervasive, tradition has taken hold; this tradition involves playing the “answering” phrases in the Andantino section (the third through eighth bars after 28, the eleventh through fourteenth bars after 28, and the analogous passages after 29) at a tempo approximately twice as fast as the actual Andantino theme. As much as I dislike this tradition (mostly because it takes the instruction poco rubato and turns it into a simple mathematical doubling), this particular example can’t be placed in the same category as other questionable interpretive practices that have attached themselves, kudzu-like, to significant musical works.
When the pianist goes forward without this breath the conductor can place the downbeat based on the pacing of the preceding triplets. It is most dramatically effective if there is no silence (or virtually none) on the bar-line at 37. Gershwin and/or Grofe went out of the their way here to make sure that almost no instruments sustaining the fermata before 37 are playing on the following downbeat. This allows for at least the possibility of a clean, strong entrance at 37 without any real need for extra space that was not requested.
After passively marking the downbeat of the bar before E, the baton should remain motionless until the soloist has begun the arpeggio at E. Then, a fairly quick but delicate preparation is all that is necessary for both good coordination and appropriate atmosphere. In like manner, the string chords found two bars and four bars before Tempo I, animato should coordinate with the top note of the soloist’s arpeggio. Usually this means that the preparatory gesture coordinates (roughly) with the bottom note of the arpeggio.