Imagine begins with “I Have a Dream,” an ABBA hit from the late ’70’s. Skaroulis slows it down a bit and adds string washes to his piano - a lovely start! Next up is “It Might Be You” from Tootsie. Warm, elegant, and deeply emotional, Skaroulis breathes new life into this sweet song. “Unchained Melody” has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard Bobby Hatfield sing it in 1965, and George’s solo piano version updates it while remaining true to the original (which was first featured in an obscure 1955 prison film called Unchained). Skaroulis’ own “The Fire Within” is a passionate piano solo that overflows with deep emotion; this piece is worth the price of the CD all by itself. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is another favorite song and even without the poetry of the lyrics, it really sings. “Both Sides Now” and “Send In the Clowns” are songs whose lyrics have a strong emotional impact, and Skaroulis’ soulful instrumental arrangements wordlessly convey the meanings of the songs. Having seen several Cirque du Soleil performances, it cracks me up that “Let Me Fall” comes from one of their productions. There is nothing funny about this powerful song, though, and Skaroulis captures the compelling drama of the piece - love it! Thomas Albinoni’s “Adagio” is another highlight. A piece that dates back to the 1700’s, the haunting melody is timeless. Skaroulis closes with another timeless classic, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Piano and minimal orchestration express the wistful mood of the song while updating it to the 21st century.
1. I Have a Dream 2. It Might Be You 3. Unchained Melody 4. Imagine 5. Tonight I Wanna Cry 6. You Raise Me Up 7. The Fire Within 8. Hallelujah 9. A New Day 10. The Dreaming Field 11. Both Sides Now 12. Send In the Clowns 13. Let Me Fall 14. The Water Is Wide 15. Adagio 16. Amazing Grace 17. Somewhere Over the Rainbow