What do you do when you decide to cover a song popularized by Josh Groban and the raw bombastic power of his voice and a backing orchestra? According to Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara, you take the opposite route. With their latest single, a cover of the Grammy nominee “You Raise Me Up”, they’ve done the impossible at least for me: take a tired worn out song that I’d argue almost comes across as parody in some circles today, and give it a beautiful new life in the least conventional ways.
Lazzara, the concert flutist, Carnegie Hall veteran, and multi-competition winner originally met Markoff when he was a student to her and over the next five years the two would become colleagues and record a series of singles and albums with their latest release “Romances in Blue” due later this year. On this cover they’re accompanied by Grammy nominated pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti who brings a large amount of understated soul to this beautiful piece. I know for many this will come across as heresy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Josh Groban. He’s obviously incredibly talented and deserves every amount of praise he’s received, but his work and especially “You Raise Me Up” has always put me off, partially because I think by the time it reaches its climax it’s just a little too much overinflated sentimentality for me.
With no real prior exposure to their work, I was slightly worried I’d have a similar response to Markoff and Lazzara’s arrangement, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised when it unfolded itself as one of the most moving and subtle renditions of a song I’ve never really held in any high regard. It’s an instrumental and that can be sometimes difficult to articulate to some why you should listen to it and their catalog of other works, but succinctly, it comes down to the intimacy shared between collaborators and how it’s evident in their work. In lesser hands it would easy to write this off as a simply a pleasant cover you’d hear at a Spa or a dental office without giving it much thought after, but listening and truly engaging with it, you’ll find yourself immediately at ease with the beautiful precision of Franzetti’s piano well before Markoff and Lazzara make their debut, and when they do, it’s a beautiful treat.
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You’re at the luxury of hearing three masters excel at their craft making it sound easy for those not as musically inclined. Towards the end when the song truly begins to hit its high notes (no pun intended,) Markoff shines with his interpretive style that hooks you by the heart and doesn’t let go. If you’re not already inclined to enjoying classical or even minimalistic music that learns more conventionally orchestral, I can’t exactly imagine that this will be the piece that transforms your perspective, but even with that said I cannot recommend this track enough not just for those who are fans of Groban’s version and its subsequent iterations that have followed.
by Wyatt Kennedy
The music of Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com