“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton is an extremely moving song, written about the loss of Clapton’s 4-year old son. Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara’s soulful and skillful flute playing coupled with Allison Brewster Franzetti’s beautiful piano skills give the song new life without losing a moment of its depth. The trio of instruments seem like live extensions of the musicians playing them and the flutes float through the air as easily as any vocals. Classical covers of popular songs isn’t a new concept, but Steve Markoff, Patricia Lazzara and Allison Brewster Franzetti have tapped into something special. They are able to replicate songs that you can sing along to, even though they’ve removed the words. They’re able to translate the songs from pop and rock into classical without losing any of the song’s recognition.
Patricia Lazzara, who plays the concert flute, is a distinguished soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. She is a three-time winner of the Artists International Competition, has performed at Carnegie Hall several times, and has played at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Every summer, Lazzara travels to Italy to perform at the Assisi Performing Arts Festival where she has performed several World and European Premieres of works. In “Tears In Heaven,” her incredible talent is vastly apparent. Similar to an excellent soprano, Lazzara is able to hit the high notes like butter, creating an uplifting, soaring melody.
Steve Markoff, the alto-flutist, is known for his warm and earthy interpretive style which has been described by professionals and reviewers alike as “formidably expressive”, “heartfelt”, and “poignant.” It is extremely impressive that he didn’t pick up his flute until the age of 56. He actually started off as a student of Lazzara, who recognized his incredible abilities. He co-produced and performed on Patricia Lazzara’s most recent solo album “Radiance”. On “Tears In Heaven,” Markoff’s looser, jazzier style adds some interesting depth to the track and plays off of Lazzara’s more technical style nicely.
Completing the trio is powerful pianist, Allison Brewster Franzetti. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard, and has a Doctorate in Musical Arts from Rutgers University. She specializes in classical and traditional South American music. She has been nominated for Grammys multiple times. In “Tears In Heaven,” Brewster Franzetti delivers an expressive and strong performance, laying the groundwork for the song,and keeping it bright yet melancholy.
It is not easy to take extremely popular, well-loved songs and make them your own, but this trio has pulled it off. Patricia Lazzara, Steve Markoff, and Allison Brewster Franzetti’s rendition of “Tears In Heaven” is captivating and touching and does the original Clapton track justice. This stand-out single, along with their other two collaborative albums, “Timeless” (2019) and “Romances In Blue,”(2021) will have to tie us over until they release their next knock-out project, said to be coming in 2022. This new album will feature songs from Led Zepplin and Aretha Franklin, along with a few other Clapton arrangements. Definitely something to keep your eyes, and ears, peeled for.