Great Songs Without Words,
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This review is from: Get Happy: Jenny Lin (Virtuoso Showtunes For Piano) (Jenny Lin) (Steinway & Sons: STNS 30011) (Audio CD)
Devotees of The Great American Songbook and of piano virtuosity should relish this disc, consisting as it does of 18 arrangements of mostly Broadway songs by the likes of Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. The pianist, Jenny Lin, is of Taiwanese extraction, trained in Austria, Switzerland and the United States and evidently now based in the last-named country. Some of the arrangements have beem enterprisingly commissioned by her and they are all the work of musicians who are, or were, themselves pianists of note. The virtuosity of many of the arrangements as well as the classically-orientated style surely have a lineage that goes back to Liszt via composers like Ravel and, in the case of three Gershwin songs arranged by Earl Wild, the composer himself as performer. The eminent British pianist Stephen Hough (who appeared at the First Night of this year's BBC Proms) contributes four fascinating arrangements of numbers from the great Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. There are one or two less striking items : Stephen Sondheim's 'Johanna' (from Sweeney Todd) lacks memorability, as does Alexis Weissenberg's version of Rodgers and Hart's 'Lover'. But with the benefit of absolutely splendid sound recording and Jenny Lin's assured playing this is a disc to treasure.