This month Spirio juxtaposes music separated by two centuries.
The 1970s was a decade of change in society and in music. Popular music's continued dominance was pitted against the commercialization of rock and the rise of funk and R&B. The Beatles disbanded in 1970, but we begin with the eponymously titled song from their final released album, Let it Be, performed by Davell Crawford — also this month's featured Spirio Sync video. Our real emphasis is on the mellow sounds of the ‘70s starting with the soul of Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Commodores These tracks share a bit of Dionne Warwick’s R&B style, a singer who also gave voice to the music of Burt Bacharach, composer of myriad hits and film themes. Simon & Garfunkel’s influential singer-songwriter music also launched the decade with Bridge Over Troubled Water. The mellow pop music of the Carpenters and John Denver is also represented here, along with the tightly orchestrated nostalgic sound of Barry Manilow.
There is probably little to associate these tracks with the decade 200 years earlier, but the composer we highlight of the 1770s, Franz Joseph Haydn, single-handedly contributed to most musical genres of the time, including popular song and dance tunes. Our focus is on his pivotal keyboard compositions. The Piano Sonatas of Haydn are landmarks in classical musical composition, and Spirio listeners are privileged to have one of his leading exponents, the Irish virtuoso John O’Conor as his interpreter. And we also have one of the newest voices in pianism of that era, ChangYong Shin, winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, performing Haydn as well. The 1770s also saw the blossoming of Italian Opera composer, Domenico Cimarosa, who, like Haydn, wrote many works for Keyboard. Cimarosa’s Sonatas are charming works, though firmly set in the simpler style of Scarlatti rather than the three-movement Sonata form established by Haydn. They are performed by a specialist in this repertoire, Stefano Miceli.