04 Jacqueline SchwabI Left My Lamp
Jacqueline Schwab
Sono Luminus DSL-92257 (sonoluminus.com)

American pianist Jacqueline Schwab is renowned for her musicianship in many Ken Burns documentaries including The Civil War, Baseball and Benjamin Franklin. Here, she performs a collection of her solo piano arrangements of 19 traditional decades-spanning classic songs associated with American immigrants from many cultures 

Schwab’s respectful, well-thought-out arrangements and performances are simultaneously true to the original song form while incorporating her unique artistic vision. The opening track, the air For Ireland I’d Not Tell Her Name is a free flowing, sensitive musical performance which is followed directly by the upbeat, high-pitched melodic jig, The Blarney Pilgrim. Schwab amazingly sets three Scottish fiddle tunes successfully to piano, like the second reel Miss Dumbreck being held together by low-pitched left-hand accompaniment. Her straightforward, harmonic, “very classical” playing of Sibelius’ Finlandia Hymn is coupled with the Swedish waltz Vals efter Soling Anders with its free time and singalong quality. The well-known habanera La Paloma is played surprisingly, successfully slower than usual, featuring full melodic right hand. There is a moving darker improvisational feel to Schwab’s blues-flavoured rendition of the spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child. Other tracks feature music from Brazil, Bulgaria, Italy and more.

Schwab “travels the musical immigrant America” in her intelligent, clear, balanced piano performances and arrangements, complemented with clear production sound quality and Stephanie Smith’s detailed informative liner notes. This is a fabulous cross-section of American immigrant music.

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