SR 101

A high school girlfriend taught me some flamenco patterns on the guitar in the late 1950s, and my taste for Spanish music was born. Five years later, I learned Triana while I was studying with Jens Nygaard and with Rosina Lhévinne at Juilliard. I loved it, and I looked longingly at the other eleven pieces in Iberia, all extremely difficult. One, Lavapiés, is so dense it was impossible to even read. My dream was deferred for forty-five years. Then, in 2008, inspired by hearing a wonderful recording by the late Esteban Sánchez, and being encouraged by David Dubal and others, I started the journey of learning the entire set of twelve. Once learned, I was fortunate to have Victor Elmaleh sponsor this CD recording, just as he did for other pianists in the Victor Elmaleh Collection. (Originally released as VEC 101, it is now also SR 101 in Schaaf Records.)

SR 102

The idea for these 44 Waltzes came to me in 2012 after I serendipitously found the score to the Dvořák Waltzes in a library. I was immediately attracted to their warmth and humor, and I started learning them. I soon realized that they would go well as a set with waltzes by Schubert and Brahms that I had played many years earlier, in my student days. The music to the fourth set, Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales, had been lying on my shelf for years, so it was time to learn them. I have fond memories of hearing Arthur Rubinstein play them in concert. Ravel's jazzy modern harmonies make a good foil for the romanticism of the other composers. These four groups are, in a way, a rough history of the piano waltz. Of course, many composers are being omitted, most notably Chopin, whose waltzes deserve a CD of their own. (...stay tuned.)