The series “Tales from the Keyboard” currently features ten different programs:
Songs of Exiles, part I: piano arrangements of Jewish and Gypsy music. Highlights of the Jewish part of the concert include such traditional gems as Hava Nagila, Mazl Tov, and Tumbalalaika, as well as more recently composed songs: Papirosen by Hermann Yablokov, “Hosn Kale Mazl Tov” by the greatest Klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras, and medley of Israeli songs by Nurit Hirsh. The Gypsy part offers “Czardas” by Vittorio Monti, “First Hungarian Dance” by Johannes Brahms, “Asturias” by Isaac Albeniz, and a few Russian-Gypsy songs.
Songs of Exiles, part II: more Jewish and Gypsy music. Klezmer pieces such as “Der Shtiller Bulgar” (two versions: the traditional slow one, and the more dynamic version from Benny Goodman's band), and “Freylakhs for Two”; a mystical Israeli song “Shirim ad Kan”; and the Yiddish song with the bizarre name and an even more bizarre story: “Seven Forty”. The Gypsy part showcases Spanish music: “Gypsy Dances” by Joaquín Turina, and “Ritual Fire Dance” by Manuel de Falla, with a comparison of Liberace’s and Rubinstain’s renditions (I try to imitate both). More Hungarian and Russian-Gypsy music...
Freylakhs for Two: still more Jewish music! Klezmer history, from the “straw fiddler” Josef Gusikov, to the great clarinetists of the turn of the 20th century (including Naftule Brandwein with his famous antics), to the Klezmer revival of the 1970-s. Different genres of Klezmer music: Hora (such melodic treasures as “Nokh a Gleysl Vain” and “Gasn Nign”), Doina, and, of course, many Freylakhs (“merry dances” in Yiddish)!
Kalinka: Russian songs and pieces, from “Barcarole” by Peter Tchaikovsky to “Waltz-Fantasy” by Mikhail Glinka (the longest and, well... “fantasiest” of all waltzes); from folksongs to urban love songs. Tales include no less than five love stories!
Dark Eyes: More Russian songs and pieces, including the famous 12th Study by Alexander Scriabin. Soviet songs, such as “Moscow Nights”, “Polushko Pole”, and the World War II song “In the Dugout”. A few waltzes, including the waltz “The Waves of the Danube” by Romanian composer Joseph Ivanovici, which the Russian public adopted as its own...
Your Favorite Waltzes, parts I - V: My most ambitious project so far: a half-dozen all-waltz programs, where I play about 60 waltzes by 30+ composers from more than a dozen countries. The concerts encompass the wide breadth of waltz music: from tiny pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, to piano arrangements of big symphonic waltzes by Tchaikovsky, Waldteufel and Strauss; from romantic compositions by Chopin and Grieg, to uplifting gypsy or syncopated ragtime waltzes.
I play waltzes from movies and musicals, operas and operettas; music from Austria and France, USA and Mexico, from the European North and South... In short, it is a “Grand Tour” of the best waltz compositions written over the last three centuries.
See the separate “Your Favorite Waltzes” page for details about each program.