Once again The Ark finds itself treated to the stunning stylings of flute duo Steve Markoff & Patricia Lazzara. Their last single – a cover of the ’80s icon (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight, graced our pages in November 2021 and manifested as an unexpectedly gentle and imaginative take on a hard-hitting classic. In 2022 we have a full new collection of tracks from these two to look forward to, and they’ve kicked it off with a second single from this upcoming release. Take On Me is composed and performed in very much the same vein as their previous single, and it offers a similarly soft, wholesome, and inviting sound that we’ve come to expect on each and every project.
Like the majority of Markoff & Lazzara’s tracks, we find Take On Me introduced to us by the nuanced stylings of Grammy-nominated pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti. Her delicate interpretation of this a-ha catalog staple gradually gives way to a singular flute carrying the verse melody, before both the alto flute and concert flute join together in crystal clear harmony through the chorus. This song’s signature high note seems all but made for the flute in this arrangement, creating an ethereal, spine-tingling peak moment that stands as a highlight in this rendition.
Much like in (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight, the arrangement and execution of this track in a direction so starkly contrasted with the original are what give this rendition its captivating quality. The original is high-energy ’80s pop through and through, but you’d never know it if you heard the Markoff & Lazzara arrangement first. The key riffs and melodic standout moments are of course retained, spread tactfully between both the piano and flute parts, but the intensity and electricity of the original are swapped for something subtler, finer, and far more moving. It exchanges sweeping emotional passages in place of synths and drums, and intricate and intentionally placed breaks from the familiar melody to showcase the present musicianship and artistry alongside the recognizable. It’s the most extreme and immersive version of a cover – one where an artist takes someone else’s work and molds it into something that feels completely their own.
Dreamy and light, unexpected, brilliantly arranged, near-perfect in execution, and with plenty of room for the artistry and skills of Steve Markoff & Patricia Lazzara to shine through – this version of Take On Me checks every box. This single sets the bar remarkably high for their upcoming album, but if their past catalog of consistently impressive work is anything to point to, we expect that it will surpass all of our expectations and then some.
BELOW: Listen to Take On Meand connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Steve Markoff & Patricia Lazzara by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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