In this age of pop, punk, hip hop, and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s easy to forget where most of our musical roots came from: the Masters. Yes, I’m talking about Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and countless others. It’s hard to extract how much of Good Charlotte was influenced by Grieg, but somewhere along the line, every piece of music has been influenced by a piece from the past. And now the past is getting reinvented. What am I talking about?
Veronique, a local musician whom I interviewed in a previous article, produced just such a CD. As a classical piano soloist, she took eight pieces from the past and brought them to life again in her album, Chanson. Solos from Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, Grieg, Sinding, Lecuona, and Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach take the stage with a rich grand piano tone that would melt the hearts of even the most hardcore listeners as well as stodgy professors, retail store clerks, and someday, a record label executive.
Some of the pieces on the album are well-known to classical aficionados and classical haters alike. Like Debussy’s “Claire de Lune,” for instance. This piece had almost gone into oblivion until it was played in the “Ocean’s Eleven” trilogy. But now you can hear it in its unadulterated form, played by a pro. Another popular piece on this album, “Fantasia in D Minor” is renowned for its mysterious, suspicious, and slightly pretentious rhythm, crafted by the prestigious Mozart himself. Usually, only pieces of it are played in sections of motion pictures or computer games, but here, you are privileged to listen to the piece in its entirety.
“Rustles of Spring,” the first track on the album, also made its claim to fame in a motion picture. “The Music Man” , starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones, characterized this piece in the famous scene portraying old ladies and a player piano. Presented in a humorous air on film, this piece makes a more dignified transition to the album on Chanson.
The spiciest piece on the album, written by Ernesto Lecuona and entitled, “Malaguena,” made its official debut in the Spanish Suite, Andalucia. Not to be mistaken with the piece of the same name by Isaac Albeniz, this variation of “Malaguena” carries a punctuated rhythm and the same melody used for the lead electric guitar by Robert Rodriguez in the film, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” This piece takes on a whole new meaning when heard on the piano, but it still carries the same dangerous flavor of Spanish invasion.
The remaining pieces on Chanson, “Polonaise in F Sharp Minor” by Chopin, “Sofiggietto” by C.P.E. Bach, “Anitra’s Tanz” by Grieg, and “Sonata Opus 7 Number 4” by Beethoven, all offer a completely new variety of music unheard of to most listeners. Be the first to experience a new classical high with this eclectic album by Veronique!
You can sample and purchase Veronique’s album here.