years ago, Greek-born Chris Spheeris and his friend George Skaroulis
embarked on a memorable collaboration; George,
working alongside Chris, recorded his own
interpretations of the much-revered music of his
friend. The two clearly have a mutual respect for
one another, and with Chris's ear for melody, and
George's unique touch on the piano,
it is not difficult to see why.
been part of the New Age circuit since its
inception, with numerous CD releases and documentary
film scores. Self-taught, he cites musical
influences of the highest calibre: Vangelis, Brian Eno, The Beatles and Debussy- quite a diverse range!
George is also self-taught, with no formal training
in piano or theory. He began playing the piano at
the tender age of five. Listening to this recording,
it is amazing that George taught himself- his timing
and touch are both impeccable, but maybe it is for
this very reason that this is so: no one has moulded
him into playing in a certain way or a particular
style. This ‘freedom’ has given him a unique voice
in a saturated market. George also cites
fellow-Greek Vangelis as
an inspiration, along with Yanni (George was
inspired by the audience's reaction to the Greek
composer's wonderful music at a concert he attended)
and fellow pianist Jim Brickman (try listening to
‘Gone’- this artist's most well-known composition).
Both men now live in
America, but it is interesting to read about the
respect they have for their Native countrymen.
used in this recording is of the highest quality; it
produces a beautiful and crystal-clear sound.
The CD opens
with ‘Love and Understanding’, a fitting title where
two artists are required to work so closely together
on a project. It immediately becomes clear that
George is a gifted pianist. In a pattern that's
repeated throughout the CD, George puts his own take
on a great composition by Chris, very much making it
his own. The end result is a melodic
four-and-a-half-minute track which is every
bit as gentle as the title would suggest.
delicate touch on the piano is never more evident
that on the gorgeous ‘Field of Tears’. Something
that comes through very clearly with all the music
on this album is the respect he gives to Chris's
original compositions. These are not merely piano
interpretations; each piece has been lovingly
embraced by George, and this is evidently music that
comes from his heart. ‘Field of Tears’ most
definitely comes straight from there.
piece on this superb album is ‘Where the Angels
Fly’, featuring a beautiful melody. As this, and
many of the other track titles would suggest, the
end result is extremely graceful. The word
‘gorgeous’ does not do justice to this piece.
as to the origins of Track four, ‘Magaya’. It could
Zimbabwean mbira player and teacher
Cosmas Magaya (a mkira is a traditional wooden board
with metal keys). Regardless of the inspiration of
the title, the ensuing piano music develops into a
wonderful melody that I could listen to all day.
of the Rock’ is a short piece which again showcases
George's ambient piano playing, and this leads on to
another pick from the album: ‘Walk With Me’. This is
a gentle stroll somewhere romantic, with the sun
setting at the end of a perfect day. It is a
stunning piece, and I quite simply love it!
soothing, calming and heavenly compositions continue
one by one throughout the rest of the album,
starting with ‘Pavane’, probably a version of the
composition of the same name by the great French
composer Gabriel Fauré, and
continuing with another highlight for me with the
slightly more upbeat ‘Elektra’. After an uplifting
opening, the piece's tempo slows down and what
follows has quite a classical, but highly appealing
feel to it.
captures the beauty of Southern Spain (another guess
at the origins of the track!) but wherever this may
be, it is a place that clearly must be visited.
‘Golden Days’ is a feel-good piece, reflective and
very positive featuring yet another memorable
follows a tribute to Ancient Greek history, with a
composition entitled ‘Eros’- the God of love and
beauty, and there is plenty of both of those
qualities in this piece.
‘Quiver‘ has a
very delicate opening, which is followed by a
free-flowing composition which is more upbeat than
most of the other tracks on this album.
The tempo slows
right down for Track thirteen, ‘Enchantment’, and
enchanted would be a fine choice of word to
describe this lovely piece. It is followed by
‘Juliette’, who I imagine to be every bit as
beautiful as the composition she is obviously named
track on this outstanding album is ‘Slow Dance’. A
slow tempo again for this lovely piece, and I
think this would make a wonderful piece for a
ballerina; ballet teachers take note!
concludes with ‘Invisible Hands’- a gentle,
reflective piece which brings the album to close
a superb collection of sixteen solo-piano
compositions, and for those that like melodic,
relaxing piano music perfectly played on a gorgeous
sounding piano, then this is most definitely the
album for you.
I give it my