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Composed: 1934-35

Length: 13 minutes

Orchestration: 3 flutes (3rd = piccolo), 2 oboes ( = English horn), 3 clarinets (3rd = bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, etc.), harp, piano, celesta, solo soprano saxophone, and strings

This American "folk opera" served to unite Gershwin's incredible skill as a gifted songwriter and his desire to be a serious composer, and it also provided lucky audiences with a wealth of memorable tunes, not to mention powerful and dramatic instrumental interludes. Several different suites (with and without singers) from Porgy and Bess are performed these days, but the one created by Canadian-born arranger and conductor Robert Farnon (1917-2005) makes more use of jazz inflections than the "symphonic" versions that are often heard. Nothing could be more appropriate and suitable for the versatile musicians of the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.

- Dennis Bade