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Not so very long ago, my bride and I attended a superb Faculty Recital by the hugely talented Conservatory Professor-pianist-performer, Robert Weirich, D.M.A., in the acoustically-sympathetic White Recital Hall on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.

One of the pieces Dr. Weirich played set my mind spinning about all the far more well-known pop or at least more popular songs which this single, particular piece has spawned.

Apart from my late mother’s playing this particular Etude on our piano during my boyhood, the first recollection I have of it is Jo Stafford’s singing No Other Love on the radio.  Jo Stafford had a fine voice but, alas, she is nowadays largely forgotten.  Have a listen.

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjDqMftHbKI

The British soprano Lesley Garrett’s television show featured her performance of So Deep is the Night with Gary Barlow, the British lead man for the pop group Take That who proves his nicely becalmed side as a quite adequate pianist-accompanist.

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsl8G6PEW_I

Sarah Brightman’s Dans la Nuit from her Classics album is one of the more melodic and appealing, although one always fears that with La Brightman, her slightly frail soprano may fold before she goes soaring, but here she manages it (just) and does so quite pleasantly, or to my ear.

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMhK7aXDeDU

 

By far the most recent and really somewhat musical (okay, at least in the early part) was the ‘Official Theme’ of the 2012 London Olympics, a piece called ‘Muse’ by the British pop group Survival.

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaffvPkqVU4

As a stark change of mood and skills, there’s Jerry Vale’s This Day of Days.

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5FqNPa792Y

Finally, let’s get back to sheer genius, to the nth power indeed, not only of Chopin himself, but also from one of the finest younger breed of up-and-coming pianists on the scene.

I refer of course to the Ukrainian born-and-educated Valentina Lisitsa, a lady who now lives in the United Stated with her equally-talented pianist husband, Alexei Kuznetsoff.

Enjoy her performance of Chopin’s Etude (as dedicated to Franz Liszt) Opus 10, Number 3 in E Major: Lento ma non troppo

Chopin large in color

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2yKSmqPirw

Sublime.

Utterly sublime.

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PS:  One can’t necessarily end on such a wonderful high note.

Beware, however, the more than slightly odd to frankly perverted (to put it most charitably) version that must have poor Chopin’s Heavenly-Head-in-His-Hands.  I refer to one version by the late Serge Gainsborough’s Incest du citron  (Lemon Incest).

Those of a too-sensitive nature should pass on this one.  Whether in French or English, the one word in the title speaks for itself.

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnKt84AdUHA

Readers of a certain age who actually remember the 1960s well will immediately recall Gainsborough’s having recorded one of the then-most steamy, erotically-scandalous songs anyone could then imagine much less remember.  His partner in this effort was his then-paramour, Jane Birkin.

The song?  “Je t’aime… moi non plus” (I love you…me neither).

Birken’s breathless delivery and the heavy-breathing generally are perhaps, uhm, reminiscent of the very closest of male-female relationships, shall we say.

That feature alone ensured that the tune became a huge hit, or at least in those places where it was not banned.

With all proper caveats and comments re young ears and eyes, the link is here:

If this fails to play, my apologies, please click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlpDf6XX_j0

Ah, the French!

Perhaps we all need a time to reflect, and indeed maybe even with some famed Chopin Vodka.

Chopin Vodka with Sandra Bullock

Well, perhaps not quite as large this bottle towering over the actress Sandra Bullock.  The words ‘Make mine a large one’ take on an entirely new meaning!

Cheers!

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Hat-Tips to:

Professor Robert Weirich, D.M.A., Website:Dr. Weirich’s website    Twitter: @robertweirich

University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, website:  UMKC Conservatory  Twitter: @UMKCCons

Miss Lesley Garret, whose website is here: Miss Garrett’s site

Her latest album, A North Country Lass, is available here:  Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/NORTH-COUNTRY-LASS-Lesley-Garrett/dp/B0076IH1O2/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1329410885&sr=1-1

Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/North-Country-Lass-Lesley-Garrett/dp/B0076IH1O2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350943354&sr=8-1&keywords=b0076ih1o2

The late Jo Stafford (12 November 1917 – 16 July 2008)

Valentina Lisitsa, Website: Miss Lisitsa’s site Twitter: @ValLisitsa

Ms. Lisitsa’s latest recording I consider a must-have for anyone’s library, “Valentina Lisistsa Live at the Royal Albert Hall”. ASIN: B0086AYAQ6.

Amazon USA: Amazon USA lisiting

Amazon UK: Amazon UK listing

Mr. Gary Barlow, Mr. Barlow’s site Twitter: @GBarlowOfficial   [JSB note over 2 mil Twitter followers]

Miss Sarah Brightman’s website: Miss Brightman’s site, Twitter: @SarahBrightman

Sarah Brightman’s Classics album is not only a best-seller but also widely available via various sales outlets.

Jerry Vale’s album Till the End of Time  Amazon USA

Amazon USA listing

Amazon UK: Amazon UK listing