Elixirs Album Notes

Notes on the creation of “Elixirs”

This album is a combination of some repertoire staples that I’ve played for 20 years or more, as well as some new additions. Nearly every piece has a story attached to it, or a special place in my heart. Other pieces are ones that clients regularly request for their special occasions and I wanted to include those as well. I have played since I was six, and trained as a competitive pianist for at least a decade after that. In between competitions, festivals, and performances, my piano was the only thing in my life that never let me down. I took out every emotion on the beautiful instrument I inherited. I play an antique Apollo baby grand (featured on the “Elixirs” album cover art), which my great-grandmother, Agnes, purchased during The Great Depression. It had ivory keys for years, I put nicks in many of them, but the tactile experience of playing on ivory is synonymous with my growth as a child. Eventually it was rekeyed and it has always been very well taken care of, and it is my absolute prized possession.

Music expresses that which cannot be said, and about which it is impossible to remain silent.

-Victor Hugo

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

There are two versions of this song on the album, and I consider them vastly different. The “Traditional” version is gorgeous… I’ve played it for countless weddings, funerals, and important life occasions. The “Modern” version, however, is complex, melancholy and interesting. This is a song full of hope. Sometimes the hope feels sad. I think the “Modern” version perfectly juxtaposes the feelings of dreaming, sorrow and hope – all together, and it speaks to me.

“Remedy”

This is hands down my favorite Adele song. I particularly love the lyric “When the pain cuts you deep, and the night keeps you from sleeping, just look and you will see, I will be your remedy.” I personally have a hard time during the night. My brain wakes up and I feel unsettled sometimes. But when I know my best friend in the world (my dear husband, Matt) is next to me, I feel okay. I dedicate this piece to him. My forever companion.

 “Shower the People”

I have been a James Taylor fan for my entire life and this is one of my favorite songs he wrote. The message is simple, and we all need it now as much as we ever have.

 “Lullabye”

This is a song I wish I could say I wrote. What a masterpiece of tenderness, contrasted with a tumultuous piano solo… I dedicate this to my father, the producer of this album, and my musical partner in crime.

“Cinema Paradiso (Love Theme)”

My little brother left this earth so young, and he was an exceptionally sensitive, artistic, truly beautiful human being. He was unlike anyone I’ve ever known or will likely ever know. He was also my greatest fan. I wish so much he were here for this milestone. As a young boy of seven or eight, he watched this movie straight through (in three languages, with subtitles), and immediately made my mom rewind the tape to play it through again. A seven year old boy watched the brilliant “Cinema Paradiso” twice in a row without budging. We had much of the soundtrack performed at his funeral services. I have chosen the love theme from this film as my way of honoring his love of beauty, and my love of his beauty.  For you, my dear Elliott.

“Only Hope”

My sister is a singer and introduced me to “Remedy” as well as “Only Hope.” These are both pieces I perform and she sings while I play. I love the music box atmosphere this song creates – but it’s deeper than that. Beyond the twinkly exterior, this song has exceptional momentum and heart. I never tire of playing this lovely piece. I dedicate this to my sister, Erin.

“Into The West”

I am deeply thankful this song was introduced to me by a dear friend. I have since added it as a staple in my repertoire. I love the message of hope after loss that this piece gives. It is from the 2003 film “The Lord of the Rings,” performed by Annie Lennox. I fell in love in the first few notes. I can count on two hands the times that’s happened to me in my career.

 “Eleanor Rigby”

I was raised in a home where our religion was “The Beatles.” I love them so much, I walked down the aisle at my wedding to “Here, There and Everywhere.” This song features a cello octet (I’m a big fan of strings… I also played the violin and guitar and always wanted to learn the cello.) It’s the only Beatles’ song in which none of them play an instrument, but the lyrics and the intensity of the cellos have my heart forever.

You’ll find a variety of music in the final medleys on this CD. These are small clips of songs that are regularly requested by clients or songs I love to play.

I hope you find a favorite on this album, I know I have my own….

Thank you for listening. Enjoy!
– Lauren