Mendelssohn’s famous short piano works known as Songs Without Words or Lieder ohne Worte were written for solo piano and were never meant to be sung. A few of these are included this month, as a prelude to actual vocal works arranged for solo piano. We also offer songs by Schubert arranged by Liszt, Rachmaninov’s own arrangements of his lovely vocal works, as well as straight-ahead performances of songs that can be enjoyed on their own, or serve as accompaniment if you wish to sing along.
From Mendelssohn to “old Napoli” to Carole King
For September, we feature a group of new compositions written for Steinway Artist Antonio Pompa-Baldi by his compatriot Roberto Piana: arrangements of Neapolitan Songs. These are pieces with history, often sung by opera singers. The engaging melodies are especially adapted to the piano and for Pompa-Baldi’s virtuosic skills.
Much of the pop music in the Spirio catalog is in fact written by singer-songwriters, so we are often trying to bring out the vocal qualities of the music. This month we catch up with the music of an important voice in America’s pop culture, Carole King, with a set of her most popular tunes.
We feature a very special performance from Steinway Immortal Dame Myra Hess. The British pianist became famous during the 1920s — and more so during World War II when she created a daytime concert series in London when concert halls were blacked out at night. She was also famous for arranging a piano version of Bach’s popular chorale from the Cantata “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” We have re-created Hess’s own performance of this work, late in her career, as this month’s Spirio-Sync video.
In addition to our Neapolitan Songs and Carole King selections, we have also added new performances from French pianist Hélène Tysman of Chopin’s 2nd and 3rd Ballades. Belgian pianist Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort debuts on Spirio this month with two of those Songs without Words from Felix Mendelssohn. And we welcome the mystical musical world of Canadian pianist Lubomyr Melnyk, as well as the dynamic young American pianist Charlie Albright, performing Michael Torke’s The Bays of Huatulco.