James Spencer | Valse Romantique

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Classical: Romantic Era Classical: Waltz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Valse Romantique

by James Spencer

A dazzling, sweeping, sparkling collection of Romantic virtuosic waltzes for the pianoforte in Belle Epoque grandeur by Isaac Albeniz, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Erik Satie, Edouard Schutt, and Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky for your listening pleasure.
Genre: Classical: Romantic Era
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a: V. Sleeping Beauty's Waltz
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3:59 $0.99
2. Dolly Suite, Op. 56: II. Mi-a-ou
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1:46 $0.99
3. Dolly Suite, Op. 56: IV. Kitty Valse
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2:22 $0.99
4. Papillons D'amour, Op. 59. No. 2: A la bien aimee
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6:47 $0.99
5. Champagne (Carte Blanche): Valse in E-Flat, B. 24
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4:42 $0.99
6. Trois Valses Romantique
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13:41 $0.99
7. Valse Romantique, L. 71
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3:41 $0.99
8. Je Te Veux
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5:37 $0.99
9. Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a: II. Waltz of the Swans
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6:28 $0.99
10. The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: VIII. Waltz of the Flowers
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5:40 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
VALSE ROMANTIQUE is concert maestro James Spencer's second album in the "PIANO CLASSICS" series. VALSE ROMANTIQUE transports the listener back in time to the grand ballrooms of the Belle Epoque era as James Spencer and guest pianist Roger Helkein serenade you with a breathtaking array of grand waltzes for your listening enjoyment. VALSE ROMANTIQUE is the perfect album companion for your next elegant dinner party, high tea, your daily drive, holiday event, or for general relaxation. If you loved Spencer's dreamy, and meditative PIANO CLASSICS FOR REFLECTION, as heard on Itunes, classical radio stations and podcasts, then you are are sure to love the festive, lilting and sparkling VALSE ROMANTIQUE.

Album Notes:

James Spencer with guest artist Roger Helkein open the album with the dazzling "Waltz" from Tchaikovsky's ballet suite SLEEPING BEAUTY as arranged for piano: four hands by Sergei Rachmaninoff. SLEEPING BEAUTY was the first ballet completed by Tchaikovsky in 1890 and the waltz is forever linked with the song "Once Upon a Dream" from Disney's animated film SLEEPING BEAUTY. As a child James Spencer developed a love of ballet after seeing SLEEPING BEAUTY performed by the Bolshoi. James and Roger continue the Tchaikovsky set with The "Waltz" from SWAN LAKE as arrange by Edouard Langer. The album ends with Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers" from THE NUTCRACKER as penned in a virtuosic four hand arrangement by Stepan Esipoff.

Gabriel Faure wrote DOLLY SUITE for piano-four hands between 1893-1896 to mark the birthdays and other events in the life of the daughter of the composer's mistress.

An orchestral version of the suite was scored in 1906 by Henri Rabaud, and has, like the original piano duet version, received several recordings. The best-known section of the suite, the Berceuse, has been arranged for several combinations of instruments.

The suite, consisting of six short pieces, each with its own title: Berceuse, Mi-a-ou, Le jardin de Dolly, Kitty-valse, Tendresse and Le pas espagnol. The complete suite takes about fifteen minutes to perform.

Mia-a-ou and Kitty Valse were inspired by the composer's pet "Kitty" cat and are in Parisien salon mode.

The romantic Russian composer Eduard Schutt, penned the very popular Belle Epoque waltz A LA BIEN AIMEE which was no. 2 in his PAPILLONS D'AMOUR , op. 59. The waltz became extremely popular throughout Europe and later America. The piece was so popular that many piano rolls were made of it. The great pianist Leopold Godowsky (who shares a birthday with James Spencer: February 13) made a virtuosic transcription of it. James dedicates this track to his mother, soubrette coloratura soprano Dolores Aimee Berea Spencer.

James' great great grandfather is the well known Galician composer Canuto Berea, in honor of his Spanish heritage, James includes the seldom played CHAMPAGNE VALSE of composer Isaac Albeniz.

Emmanuel Chabrier's four hand collection TROIS VALSES ROMANTIQUES seemed apropos and a great compliment to the other valses on the album.

Debussy's VALSE ROMANTIQUE, L. 71 is alas a seldom played Impressionistic waltz written in 1890. This is one of Debussy's early works and published by Choudon in Paris. Debussy was still experimenting with harmonic sonority, moving between romantic idioms and his forward thinking Impressionistic style. Thus Debussy refused to play this work and hampered it's successful circulation.

JE TE VEUX is a Parisien waltz and song by Erik Satie, composed in 1897. Satie wrote it for the singer Paulette Darty whom he had toured with an accompanied. The work was put into a solo piano version around 1903.

James Spencer is a noted recording artist in classical piano and jazz piano. HIs classical album PIANO CLASSICS FOR REFLECTION has been heard on national radio stations and in podcast. James' jazz albums NIGHTFALL, and BLUE GARDENIA have received a following, especially as heard on international podcast COCKTAIL NATION, MARTINI HOUR and COOL JAZZ CONNECTION.

James is a published author and musicologist. His books: LADY LIBERTY: THE DEFINITIVE JULIE LONDON HANDBOOK and AN HISTORICAL STUDY OF KURT WEILL'S DER SILBERSEE are currently available from Amazon.

James is the founder of SPENCER MUSIC AND ARTIST DEVELOPMENT located in Belmont Shore, California. He coaches artists of all ages and levels in: keyboard, voice, acting, strings, music composition, music therapy and music industry.

For information: 562 394 2694.

Roger Helkein and James Spencer met back in 1985 while both competing in Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition held in Palm Desert, California. Later forming the EN BLANC ET NOIR PIANO ENSEMBLE, Roger and James have focused on recording and performing 4-hand French repertoire. They recently performed the original two piano version of Darius Milhaud's LE BOEUF SUR LA TOIT for Ballet Masques out of Orange County, California. Roger Helkein currently resides in Monte Carlo where he has a private studio, and hosts summer piano workshops.


James would like to dedicate this album to 3 significant ballet artists:

Patty Rivadeneyra: James' first "steady'. James met Patty in junior high school in Huntington Beach, California where Patty was studying ballet and James-piano. Still close friends they have shared a life time love of dance.

Yuric Ericsson: Ballet principal with Royal Ballet of Sweden, James met his Yuric when James was rehearsal accompanist for a production of Sleeping Beauty. Sharing a deep, intimate creative partnership, they continue to keep their long distance friendship strong and have collaborated on ballet projects over the last few years.

Mikhail Baryshnikov: Yuric introduced James to Mikhail at a party in honor of Royal Ballet held in Palm Springs, in the early 1990s. James, just finishing up a Bachelor of Music from Cal State Fullerton had the pleasure of playing movements from Prokofiev's Sonata no. 2 for Mikhail.

VALSE ROMANTIQUE was recorded on a Hamburg Steinway, in 4 recording sessions held in Newport Coast, California in the private ballroom of a patron of the En Blanc et Noir ensemble. The recordings were held in late June, of 2014. The album was mastered by Gerald Adamowitz for Adamos Recordings.

Acknowledgements from James Spencer: " Roger is is truly such an honor to have the opportunity to record with the greatest pianist I know. I love how effortless the music feels, and how you feel like you are an extension of myself. What a dream to finally record Tchaikovsky's ballet waltzes... and what a lovely gift you give me to leave these recordings not only for posterity but to inspire my nephew Matthew Spencer (as he pursues studies in classical piano), and for my adorable new niece Caroline who I know some day will be enchanted by the music of Tschaikovsky as I was as a child and still am. I will miss you my friend... and send you a bon voyage back to Monte Carlo.. One of these days we will get around to recording the Poulenc and Mozart double piano concerti.."

I also dedicate this all those who love ballet, and the all those who choose to live in the now moment in wonder of the simplistic gifts the world can offer.. MUSIC NATURE, and A JOYFUL HEART.


to write a review

Trevor P.

Bravada at the highest caliber
I recently listened to this album as I have Mr. S's Piano Classics album as well as his last 3 jazz albums Nightfall, Just in Time and Blue Gardenia. I have to be honest and say I prefer Spencer on the dreamier Debussy cuts of Piano Classics For Reflection which I also feel is a great therapy de stress album. Those who like hyper Romantic will like this.. My favorite cuts were the Debussy, Satie and Faure. J. excels at French Repertoire.

Reginald Robinson

Sweeping Romantic Elegance
As a jazz fan, I have only just become familiar with J. Spencer's classical albums. Valse Romantique is a sweeping album of waltzes that feel like they were recorded in a palace in Europe. I really like the renditions of the Tchaikovsky ballets.

Barney B.

Victorian Elegance, Champagne, Romance!
This album truly feels like you are in Paris in the 1880s. It has a grand ballroom or concert hall feel, and the music is quiet virtuosic, bubbling and full of festive reverb. I would also play this at my next Xmas party.. as the Nutcracker Waltz is a favorite of mine. But I also learned some new classical numbers .. I really like the Albeniz Champagne Waltz and Chabrier Valses sound more festive than romantic.. but put you in a good mood. The piano playing is beyond belief. Reminds me of Rubinstein or Van Cliburn back in the day.

Valerie Argonne

A dazzling collection of waltzes and ballet music
I have to admit I'm a bit biased as I have followed Mr. Spencer's career for years, and feel he is one of the most outstanding concert artists out there. I was also fortunate enough to receive one of the first copies of VALSE ROMANTIQUE at a release party in Seal Beach, CA. VALSE ROMANTIQUE.. is a nice companion and great followup to his PIANO CLASSICS FOR REFLECTION. While Piano Classics is dreamy and mellow, this album has a festive grand atmosphere. Jim had mentioned that he wanted to create an album that showcased some rarely played waltzes of the Romantic era compared to over recorded waltzes of Chopin. I am pleasantly surprised what a balanced album. Besides the obvious Tschaikovsky ballet waltzes, it is refreshing to here the Albeniz Champagne Waltz which I was not familiar with. I also really love the Je Te Veux Waltz by Satie which is also rarely played. Simple said this is the best classical Waltz album I have heard. James always does a great job on music programming as well as his album covers are also elegant and imaginative. I love how James also spends hours in studio to get the right sound. While Piano Classics was mellow, velvety and warm.. Valse Romantique sounds like it was recorded in a grand ballroom...
Roger Helkein the 2nd pianist on the album seems well matched with Jim, as I can hardly tell it's sometimes four-hands on one piano. In fact I had to look several times in the album notes.. to see which tracks Roger plays on. A superb album. GET IT!

B. Price

Elegant Romantic Era Piano Music at it's best!
I recently picked up of VALSE ROMANTIQUE at Mr. Spencer's release party. I wanted to write a review as truly this is an amazing album. Jim captures the elegance of the ballrooms of Europe with these beloved waltzes. My daughter loves dancing around the room to the Tschaikovsky waltzes. My daughter's ballet teacher loves the album so much she is now using it for ballet rehearsal music. The album cover is so elegant as well. And that is what I would say about Mr. Spencer: FLAWLESS, ELEGANT and JOYOUS. I can't recommend this album enough. 5+ stars. Just breathtaking.

D. Robertson

My daughter dances around the room to this album
I am a huge fan of Mr. Spencer from Cocktail Nation.. and do prefer his jazz albums NIGHTFALL and BLUE GARDENIA. However my daughter studies ballet, and I was looking for something she would like but that I would also enjoy listening to. Leave it to Mr. Spencer to create a truly breathtaking and virtuosic album. Mr. Spencer made me love classical music. And I really didn't care for it until I heard this album.. The Tschaikovsky tunes I remember from my youth, and they have that festive Xmas atmosphere. The Champagne Waltz I was not familiar with but is truly amazing. My daughter loves the Kitty Cat waltzes on the album, and our cat actually goes over to the piano everytime this album is on the Ipod dock. What a joy to do what one loves. It is obvious Mr. Spencer is passionate about his music.. and I believe this artist deserves great praise. I hope to hear more from him in the classical realm. .. though he is becoming pretty established now I think in jazz. I hear him played on Cocktail Nation and Groove Shark pretty regularly.

Jasmine A.

Grandiose Romantic Virtuosity
I can tell James is a true virtuoso of amazing varied talents in jazz and classical. This album is great if you are in the mood for Romantic waltzes that reverberate in a large ballroom over the crystal and champagne classes. Frankly I feel the style of classical piano is outdated and a bit pompous. I prefer more mellow dreamy classical piano works myself... such as Clair de Lune for example. But I totally dig his jazz albums.. This album is good if you are perhaps a ballet fanatic, or like Romantic period music.. I prefer Debussy and Satie. (which alas those were my favorite tracks on this album). I did really like je te veux.

Carlos L.

French and Spanish Romantic Era Waltz Bravado
I was so glad Mr. Spencer included thee Champagne Waltz of Albeniz.. As a Mexican born musician, I am always interested in hearing classical Spanish music. Esp. Albeniz, Granados and De Falla. The rest of the album is pure magic. Dazzling playing. I look forward to many more albums by Mr. Spencer. HE IS ALSO THE BEST PIANO COACH.. check out spencermusicschool.com which is where we found his school for our son.

Lance Larson

The ballet comes to life in this piano rendition
I had given James Spencer's PIANO CLASSICS FOR REFLECTION 5 stars because it was exactly what I'm looking for. This is also a brilliant album, and shows Mr. Spencer's amazing virtuosity and versatility. The albums couldn't be more different in mood. This is exhuberent, dazzling and highly Romantic. It feels like it was recorded in a grand ballroom, or European concert hall, while PIANO CLASSICS FOR REFLECTION feels like the pianist is playing by candlelight in quiet salon. VALSE ROMANTIQUE contains some of the most beloved Tchaikovsky ballet waltzes and some new waltzes I'm not familiar with. The Je Te Veux by Satie is especially lovely. I didn't give it 5 stars only because I preferred the other classical album better. Also I think I would have liked to have heard some of Chopin's waltzes. But the Faure Dolly Suite Waltzes are truly delightful and again Mr. Spencer delivers a stellar well thought out album. The artwork again is lovely. I feel this artist James Spencer.... really thinks about how the songs work together and the packaging. Again I don't see one negative review on anything Mr. Spencer has recorded. Awesome work.

Roberta Pate

Sweeping Victorian Romance...
I'm speechless. This album is so virtuosic and sounds like it was recorded in one of the huge palaces in Europe. It feels so elegant and sweeping. I love it! The Tschaikovsky ballet music is glorious, and I had never heard the beautiful Champagne Waltz of Albeniz. James masterful versatility is apparent as he weaves in and out of everything from Faure to Debussy and Satie. The album art is lovely. I especially play this for holiday dining by candlelight. The album is romantic, festive, and very grand. What Bravado!
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