Musical Highlights From The Spirio Catalog
This month we highlight dazzling, seemingly impossible creativity at the keyboard — within and beyond the classical genre.
The Art of the virtuoso
We start with one of the greatest jazz players of all time, Art Tatum. Though he died in 1956, Spirio has reproduced an entire program of Tatum’s actual playing. A pianist who influenced practically every jazz artist since, Tatum’s art is a marvel to see and to hear. And this month you can see and hear the man himself performing in a video from 1954. As with many jazz performers, he was influenced by classical music and you can also hear his take on Dvorák and Massenet. Classical pianists have also responded to the Tatum legacy and you can hear the dynamo classical virtuoso Yuja Wang play Tatum’s version of Tea for Two.
As with Art Tatum in the jazz world, we have actual performances of legendary Russian virtuoso and composer Sergei Rachmaninov in the Spirio catalog. You can compare his own performances with Spirio artists who carry on his legacy, including the sensational Olga Kern.
Virtuosity plays a role in transcribing meaningful solo piano versions from works originally meant to be heard on amplified guitars, drums and vocals. Listen to Robert Glasper play Nirvana, or Christopher O’Riley’s renditions of Radiohead.
the original virtuoso
It would be impossible to cover the Art of the Virtuoso without highlighting 19th-century Hungarian composer and pianist — and the original rock star — Franz Liszt. His music dominates the field of fiendish fingering, and though we don’t have his own performances on Spirio, we do have a bountiful selection of superlative performances of his music.
Start with Jenny Lin’s version of Liszt’s Rigoletto Paraphrase, or Antonio Pompa-Baldi’s flowing and dramatic Sposalizio. Or leap into the Rhapsodie Espagnole with Stanislav Khristenko, or Jeffrey Biegel’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12, or Liszt’s arrangement of Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture performed by Sean Chen. The Russian composer Sergei Lyapunov was profoundly influenced by Liszt and was inspired to compose a set of Transcendental Etudes, whose difficulty surpassed a similarly named group of works by Liszt. To hear the results, listen to Lyapunov’s Transcendental Etude No. 12, “In Memory of Franz Liszt.”
This month we introduce a full program with Hungarian pianist Gábor Farkas which fits perfectly into the virtuoso theme. Also, straight from the Bellagio in Las Vegas, we give you a taste of David Osborne’s unique approach to performing pop music on solo piano. We will hear much more from David in coming months.
The ZOFO duet present 4-Hand virtuosity with lively works titled Hesitation Tango, Boogie,Tempo di Fox à la Hawaii, and Cortège burlesque. The finger-benders continue with Antonio Pompa-Baldi’s marvelous renditions of Etudes by another famed virtuoso pianist/composer, Anton Rubinstein. Antonio also plays Rachmaninov’s monumental Variations on a theme of Corelli and the Brahms Rhapsody in G minor.
Explore The Music
Each month we features highlights from the Spirio catalog. Learn more about the artists, the history and the music found exclusively on Spirio.
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