An album of keyboard favorites may seem like child's play to a pianist of the caliber of Warren Mailley-Smith, the star of Classic FM in the U.K. and a rising recording artist for Sleeveless Records. But as famous as these pieces are, and a number of them are regularly played by amateurs, there are degrees of difficulty and artistry that make them rather thrilling in the hands of a brilliant pianist. Mailley-Smith renders them all with confidence and panache, from the placid Gymnopédie No. 1 of Erik Satie (mislabeled as Gymnopédie No. 3 on the cover) to the virtuosic showpiece of the title, George Gershwin's solo version of Rhapsody in Blue, with various gradations of difficulty between them. Yet Mailley-Smith communicates great enthusiasm and joy in these performances, despite their overfamiliarity, so there's much that newcomers to classical music and connoisseurs can appreciate, apart from his virtuosity. His performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's perennial Für Elise is quite elegant, and his interpretations of the Arabesque No. 1 and Clair de Lune of Claude Debussy are sublime, so this program offers a range of expressions and styles that makes it a fine starting point for anyone exploring the piano's greatest hits.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson