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Album Review: Love Story
Robin Spielberg
Cover image of the album Love Story by Robin Spielberg
Love Story
Robin Spielberg
2020 / playMountain Music
65 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Love Story is the nineteenth album from pianist/composer/arranger Robin Spielberg. Dedicated to her husband, Larry Kosson, in celebration of their 25-year love story, the album is a collection of sixteen pop songs arranged for solo piano. Spielberg began her career as a pianist playing in some of the finest piano rooms in New York City, so adapting popular music to her elegant piano style is not something new. In addition to her own compositions, some of her previous albums have included lullabies, patriotic songs, music for Chanukah and Christmas, and a tribute collection of her father’s favorite songs. Love Story includes songs that were popular from 1967-2016, so it covers a lot of musical territory! A big fan, I have been following Robin Spielberg’s recordings (and sheet music) since her first album in 1993, and she has performed in several of my house concerts and workshops with my students. She always reaches deep inside to get to the heart of each piece, making it her own - this album is no exception. Before listening to the album, I wondered if the world really needed another version of “Love Story” or “You Light Up My Life,” but apparently it did, as Spielberg was able to dust them both off and make them sound new again. It’s worth mentioning that the album was recorded and mastered at Cedarhouse Sound and Mastering in New Hampshire on an 1898 Steinway concert grand piano.

Love Story begins with Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” a song that dates back to 1973. If you remember the words, Spielberg’s arrangement is very easy to sing along with! Deeply emotional and very poignant, “Alone By Myself (All By Myself)” is actually based on a theme by Sergei Rachmaninoff (I didn’t know that!) and was originally released in 1975. “Love Story Theme” was originally recorded by Henry Mancini in 1970 and was enormously popular with and without lyrics. Spielberg’s arrangement gets to the emotional core of the piece without overdoing it. Bread’s recording of “If” (1971) has been a favorite for decades and I think I like Spielberg’s version even better! “You Light Up My Life” earned the Grammy Award for Song of the Year, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and an ASCAP award in 1977 - Spielberg does a great job of refreshing it. The most recent song on the album is Adele’s “When We Were Young” (2016), and Spielberg’s arrangement is haunting and nostalgic. “Both Sides Now” is another favorite song of mine. Written by Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins had the big hit with it in 1968. Spielberg captures the bittersweet spirit of the song perfectly. “Love Is Blue” was actually the theme to my junior prom and has always had a special place in my heart! I love this arrangement! The album closes with Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” (1989), a beautiful ballad expressed with heartfelt emotion.

Love Story is available from www.RobinSpielberg.com on CD and vinyl, Amazon, iTunes and many streaming sites.
February 7, 2020
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