Irish lyricist revisits Strauss melodies as songs
“Viva Strauss” by Italian tenor Rudy Giovannini features 14 of Strauss’ greatest melodies as songs with lyrics by Michael Leahy.
By: The Write Stuff
Giovannini is known across Germany, Austria and Switzerland for his heart-felt renditions of light classics and German folk songs. Pavarotti – who was a family friend of Rudy – once told the singer, “There is no first or second class music, there is only beautiful or bad music. What you want to do is beautiful music.”
“Viva Strauss” builds on the growing success of tenors and light orchestras in the Benelux and adds an absolutely irresistible twist: the timeless melodies of arguably the world’s finest composers, the Strauss family. To develop the music as songs, Strato-Vani leader Marc Cortens turned to Irish lyricist Michael Leahy, who is best known for having worked with 90s dance acts 2 Unlimited and CB Milton.
“One of the first pieces I knew by name was actually the ‘Blue Danube’,” recalls Leahy. “When Marc mentioned the idea, I jumped at it.” In addition to the romanticism of the big waltzes, themes that crop include Twitter, speed-dating and Facebook. “We wanted to add a contemporary touch, as Strauss was very modern for his time,” says Leahy. “It’s a fun album overall.”
The first release is actually in German, for which Leahy worked with three German lyricists on the adaptations. The stars of the album are the eternally romantic waltzes such as “Blaue Donau”, while a fun, modern touch is added through the polkas such as “Mausi sagt”, “Tritsch Tratsch” (with its references to Facebook and Twitter) and “Die Speed Date Polka”.
Within two weeks of release, the album was being playlisted in German and Austria radios and hit the n° 1 spot in the Flemish classical music charts. “Viva Strauss” will be released in English in 2013.