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Jukebox ORC100173
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The Jukebox Album
Elena Urioste (violin)
Tom Poster (piano, cello, descant recorder, kazoo, swanee whistle)
rec. 2021, Menuhin Hall, Stoke D’Abernon, UK

Classical violinst Elena Urioste and her partner Tom Poster have recorded a new album titled The Jukebox Album for the Orchid Classics label. Elena Urioste has performed with major orchestras around the world and is active with several chamber ensembles. Tom is a versatile pianist with a creative musical streak and an eye for new projects. They have combined their musical talents to create this colorful array of duets, arranged for piano and violin. They began this project during the pandemic lockdown with a series of short musical videos. Their efforts evolved into this album, featuring a choice set of tunes from yesteryear with the added bonus of several new works from a group of outstanding contemporary composers.

One of the earliest numbers is Serenade Espagnole, a charming salon piece written by French pianist and composer Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944) and first published in 1895. Arranged for piano and violin by Fritz Kreisler, this tune opens with Elena performing a soft Spanish melody on violin backed by Tom providing rhythm with rolling piano chords, before breaking tempo with a short, lively quickstep. Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) was an enormously talented French composer and musician who wrote Cortege in 1914. The Introduction appeared later on a 1930 recording, and was rearranged by Tom for this album as a serene adagio piano and violin duet. The lively, galloping Cortege features Elena’s exquisite phrasing and sweet tone, well-matched with Tom’s dancing piano arpeggios. In 1935 the legendary tango king Carlos Gardel wrote and recorded El dia que me quieras, with lyrics by Alfredo Le Pera, which appeared in the film of the same name. This fabulous love song is arranged and performed with a stately andante tango walking rhythm, as Tom plays a soft, measured accompaniment while Elena performs a wafting, layered Spanish serenade recorded on multiple tracks.

Clarice Assad is a Brazilian-American composer and musician and wrote the beautiful Emotiva in 2020 for this album, capturing the mixed feelings of isolation, sadness and hope from the effects of the pandemic lockdown. Elena performs the slow, searching melody in long, contemplative passages over Tom’s sensitive broken chord accompaniment. Cheryl Frances-Hoad composed Bloom during the same lockdown, inspired by the developing blossoms on the fruit trees near her home. It is a dreamy piece of work, imaginative and hypnotic, with long, meditative violin passages, moving over slow waves of piano arpeggios. One of my favorites on this disc is Cole Porter’s masterpiece Begin the Beguine, which first appeared in the 1935 Broadway musical “Jubilee”. Tom’s interesting piano accompaniment steadily rocks inside the beguine rhythm, as Elena plays her gorgeous, soaring violin duet.

Bruce McCollum

Overture: Look for the Silver Lining Jerome Kern, B.G. De Sylva [2:11]
Introduction et cortege Lili Boulanger [3:15]
An Essay of Love Mark Simpson [6:03]
La Vie en rose Edith Piaf, Louiguy [3:58]
Bloom Cheryl Frances-Hoad [3:41]
Serenade espagnole Cecile Chaminade [2:14]
El dia que me quieras Carlos Gardel, Alfedo Le Pena [3:29]
Emotiva Clarice Assad [3:53]
Begin the Beguine Cole Porter [3:24]
Andante, Op. 75 Gabriel Faure [4:56]
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Manning Sherwin, Eric Maschwitz [4:43]
Arietta Huw Watkins [3:37]
Farewell to Cucullain (Londonderry Air) Traditional Irish [3:54]
Send in the Clowns Stephen Sondheim [4:37]
Peace Jesse Montgomery [4:17]
Bha la eile ann (There was a different day) Donald Grant [3:56]
Jukebox Toodle-oo Pteromost [1:38]

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