Rick Wakeman - Piano Portraits

Limited Double Album 2LP 180 Gram Vinyl + Download

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Piano Portraits is a studio album by English keyboardist Rick Wakeman released in January 2017 via UMC.

Prompted by the unprecedented reaction to his performance of David BowiesLife on Mars’ on BBC Radio 2 in 2016, Wakeman has recorded a full solo piano album featuring a varied selection of music including classic songs that he originally performed on.

Recorded at The Old Granary in South Norfolk on a Steinway Model D concert grand piano, the 15 track collection ranges from landmark David Bowie hits ‘Life on Mars’, which Wakeman recorded the original piano parts for, and ‘Space Oddity to which he contributed mellotron; through The Beatles, Yes and Led Zeppelin; to classical pieces composed by Debussy and Tchaikovsky

“I’ve been wanting to do a piano album for years and I spent quite a bit of time looking at everything from straight classical pieces to stuff that I’d played on in the past like ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Life On Mars’,” Wakeman explains. “Plus pieces of music that I thought would work really well like Stairway to Heaven and classics like ‘Clair de Lune’. Nearly all of the tracks have a memory for me somewhere down the line and it just seemed to work.”

In January 2016, Wakeman performed a piano arrangement of "Life on Mars" by David Bowie that was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 in the wake of the singer's death. Several days after, a video of the performance received 2 million views online, which sparked the idea for Wakeman to produce a single including the song, a piano arrangement of Bowie's "Space Oddity", and "Always Together", an original piano composition by Wakeman. The single was released in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The positive response to video and single led to Wakeman receiving offers from several recording labels who suggested to record a solo piano album of rearranged songs in the same style. The idea appealed to Wakeman as the piano is his favourite instrument to work with. Among the offers received was one from Universal Music Group, which Wakeman chose as "they envisioned it exactly as I did — as a real mixture of music, not losing sight of what the original songs stood for but always working as piano pieces". He then selected songs that he had played on throughout his career, as well as renditions of classical music pieces and original music.

The arrangement of Help was inspired by a version recorded by Deep Purple and the Wondrous Stories is from the 1977 Yes album Going For The One that Wakeman had played on when he had returned to the band; a happy time for him.

Upon release the album debuted at #7 on the UK Albums chart, his highest charting debut since his 1975 concept album “King Arthur”.  The following week it peaked at #6, and he is performing a solo tour in the UK in 2017 in support of the album.

Check out a couple of tracks from the album:  Help, Morning Has Broken, Clair de Lune, Space Oddity and I Vow To Thee My Country.

This double album 2LP record set is on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve with a digital download code, pressed in Europe.






Original Artist - Writer



The Beatles – Lennon / McCartney


Stairway To Heaven

Led Zeppelin – Plant / Page


Life On Mars

David Bowie


I'm Not In Love

10CC – Stewart / Gouldman


Wonderous Stories

Yes – Anderson



Gabriel Fauré, arr. Wakeman


Amazing Grace

Traditional, arr. Wakeman


Swan Lake

Peter Tchaikovsky, arr. Wakeman


Morning Has Broken

Traditional, arr. Wakeman



George Gershwin


Space Oddity

David Bowie


Dance Of The Damselflies

Rick Wakeman


Clair De Lune

Claude Debussy, arr. Wakeman


I Vow To Thee My Country

Traditional, arr. Wakeman


Eleanor Rigby

The Beatles – Lennon / McCartney

SKU 602557279726
Record Label UMC
Label / Model # Universal
Catalogue Number 5727972
Country EU - Europe
Release Date (Year) 02 February 2017
Original Release Date (Year) 13 January 2017
Barcode # 602557279726
Shipping Weight 0.5950kg
Shipping Width 0.008m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000789m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition Double Album 2LP Records, 180 Gram Heavyweight Vinyl, Gatefold Sleeve, Digital Download Card
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Classical
Genre Classical Piano
Genre Piano

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