A restrospective of Robin Spielberg’s 10 years as a recorded musician, Memories of Utopia features some of her best-loved pieces stripped down to their essential sound in piano solos. Back in 1993, Spielberg recorded her first CD at the urging of New York commuters who had heard her daily live performances in the Grand Hyatt Hotel lobby above Grand Central Station. As Spielberg remembers, “It took the encouragement, enthusiasm and insistence of complete strangers, on their way to places invisible to me, to convince me to launch my career as a recording and touring artist. And what a difference that has made in my life.”
Spielberg’s passions are manifest on these gorgeous tracks. “West Bank Serenade,” shaped by a klezer melody and the ravages of war, pleads for peace in the Middle East. “Walk with Me” was born of a wordless walk Spielberg once took with her mother. “A Change of Season” mimics the delicate dance of golden leaves falling from their branches. The songs are moving odes to parts of Spielberg’s life that speak to listeners’ own lives, and Spielberg’s terrific liner notes make the songs that much more meaningful. -Mara Applebaum/New Age Retailer
- Because of You
- Ireland (pdf of sheet music available)
- Piano Parlour Soiree
- A Change of Season (watch Robin playing this here)
- A Song for Jennie
- West Bank Serenade (watch Robin playing this here)
- Walk with Me
- In the Heart of Winter (watch Robin playing this here)
- Dancing in the Quiet Rain
- Soldier’s Journey
- Memories of Utopia
- The Nature of Time
“Memories of Utopia” is a ten-year retrospective of Robin Spielberg’s music, lovingly re-recorded as piano solos. The fifteen tracks include three pieces that haven’t been recorded before, several that are presented as solo works for the first time, and a bonus track that is a wild dance remix of “A Change of Season” that needs to be heard to be believed! I have been a big fan of Robin’s music since almost the beginning of her recording career, and it has been wonderful to be able to watch her mature and blossom as an artist. “Memories of Utopia” is the perfect celebration and commemoration of that journey so far.
“Because of You” opens the collection. A loving tribute to Robin’s husband, the piece is bubbly and effervescent.”Ireland” is a favorite from Robin’s debut album, Heal of the Hand,and has been expanded to a full 9 1/2 minutes. I really love this piece, with its varied themes and swirling air of mystery! “Piano Parlor Soiree” is one of the new pieces, and was inspired by performances Robin has done in Belcourt Castle in Rhode Island. Very classical in scope, this piece is actually made up of several separate themes that are woven together and showcase Spielberg’s elegant and very accomplished playing style.”A Change of Season” has been another favorite for years, and I love this solo version! “Meditation” is a new piece that is dreamy and reflective – gorgeous! Any ‘best of’ collection would be incomplete without the wonderful “A Song For Jennie”, Robin’s piece for her grandmother. In concert she tells a spellbinding story about the hardships Jennie endured travelling from Russia to join her husband in America many years ago. Jennie passed away in 2003, but her spirit lives on with this piece. “West Bank Serenad” is another favorite with its wish for peace in the Middle East. The title track comes from a score Spielberg composed for a play back in 1987 for the Atlantic Theater Company, which she co-founded.”The Nature of Time” is one of my all-time Spielberg favorites, and I’m so glad she included it in this collection! More of a ‘concept piece’ than most of Spielbergís compositions, I love the contrasts between the frantic pace of the first part of the piece and the slow, lazy second part. And then there is the bonus track – a total surprise. A thumping bass and some electronic effects take this beautiful piece into an entirely new realm – and it works perfectly! It reminds me of the dance remix of Ray Lynch’s “Celestial Soda Pop” on his ‘Best Of’ collection of a few years back – I loved that one, too!
“Memories of Utopia” is an outstanding collection! If you are new to Robin Spielberg’s music, this is a wonderful introduction. If you are a longtime fan, these updated solos will be a welcome addition to your collection. Very highly recommended! Brava, Robin!
- Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications