Ricardo Lorenz re-imagines Sondheim

M. Horowitz interviews Sondheim during Liaisons’ New York premiere

On April 21, 2012, Ricardo Lorenz attended the New York premiere of Liaisons: Re-imagining Sondheim from the Piano, a concert project involving over thirty of the world’s foremost contemporary composers, including Lorenz, and their solo piano creations based on Sondheim songs.  Produced by Rachel Colbert and performed by pianist and  co-producer Anthony de Mare, Liaisons gathers short piano pieces commissioned from composers such as Steve Reich, William Bolcom, Fred Hersch, Frederic Rzewski, Paul Moravec, Mason Bates, and two dozen others.

Liaisons’ producer Rachel Colbert (center) with pianist/co-producer Anthony de Mare and Lorenz following the premiere

Regarding Lorenz’s re-imagination of Sondheim, the composer writes:  “Summer of 1982 was wonderfully diabolic.  I danced a waltz with Mephistopheles and had my throat slit by the demon barber of Fleet Street.  I was a freshly arrived foreign student from Venezuela assigned to the Indiana University Opera chorus.  The summer opera season that year offered back-to-back performances of Gounod’s Faust and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.  Singing in Faust dressed like a monk was great but this didn’t compare to the experience of encountering the powerful world of Stephen Sondheim for the first time and in such an intimate way.  Since that summer, I’ve come to greatly admire his other musicals.  However, Sweeney Todd has always held a special place for me.  So when pianist Anthony de Mare approached me in 2010 about contributing to the Liaisons Project I knew right away that I would write something inspired by Sweeney Todd.   I chose to re-imagine The Worst Pies in London and Little Priest as a tongue-in-cheek, smorgasbord of Latin American grooves that preserve the original features and intent of these songs.  The Worst [Empanadas] in London, as I titled my re-imagination of Sondheim’s music, was possible through the support of the late Fredda Hyman and  Music in the Loft, who commissioned the work especially for the Liaisons Project.”

Read New York Times Anthony Tommasini’s review of Liaisons’ premiere at Symphony Space