This compact disc is a treasury of alluring miniature pieces that have special meaning for me. There is a personal story behind each one – the moment when I first discovered it and claimed it for my own. Some of my memories go back decades, others only months. Still others feel like members of my family that I have known my whole life. Little did I know that the melody I listened to over and over again from the Blood Sweat and Tears album I had as an adolescent, was in fact a variation of Satie’s first Gymnopédie. His Gnossiennes was the soundtrack to a French film I was assigned to see in Paris as a student, and it haunted me until I learned what it was and had bought a copy of the piano score. My first hearing of Ibert’s Entr’acte was at an open-air concert under the stars at a monastery in Nice during a summer of master classes when I was seventeen. But it was less than a year ago that I heard Grieg’s Arietta for the first time, and when it floated out from my car radio one morning, the poignant phrases colored my mood for the rest of the day.
The mournful Donizetti Andante was a mystery piece for oboe and piano on a ‘meditation CD’ that well-meaning friends gave me when they thought I needed it most, and it nearly went into a drawer untouched. Imagine my surprise when I heard those plaintive opening measures and knew I would track it down to play on the flute. I fell in love with Liebermann’s Five Pieces from Album for the Young when my pianist daughter and I were planning our first full-length concert, and I never ceased to marvel at how its simplicity and innocence suited the collaboration. The moment I heard John Williams’ evocative theme from the film Memoirs of a Geisha, I was under its spell.
Although Fauré’s Après un Rêve, and De Falla’s Nana are taken from art songs, and two others – the Ravel Habanera and Veracini Largo – are borrowed from the string repertoire, many of these works are arrangements we made from solo piano pieces. The two lines of the original piano parts lend themselves exquisitely to the complementary colors of the flute and harp.
I love each one of these pieces and think of this CD as a collection of precious gems from my jewelry box. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.