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Andrew is a widely respected teacher and pianist, published composer and writer based in Milton Keynes. He provides lessons and mentoring online and in person at his studio, via video submission and monthly subscription.
Haydn’s Piano Sonatas (he composed more than 50, but academics lack certainty about the provenance of some) must be of all the great bodies of “core repertoire” still one of the least programmed. Respected by all but advanced by fewer, the Sonatas perhaps suffer from being perceived as too intimate for larger concert halls, too athletically lacklustre for the endless competition circuit, and thus difficult to market.
Whatever the justification for this neglect, the Sonatas have fared better on disc. In particular, John McCabe’s celebrated complete survey for Decca in the 1970’s has long been, for me at least, not simply a benchmark interpretation but one of my most treasured piano boxed sets.
There have been some fine recordings of Haydn in more recent years, too, notably from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Yevgeny Sudbin and Paul Lewis, but none so far that have compelled me to loosen my grip on my beloved McCabe set. Until now.
SOMM have just released the fourth volume in British pianist Leon McCawley’s ongoing cycle, and in my view it is shaping up to be a new milestone, The One to go for in this increasingly populated field…
In this review I will be looking at two recent volumes from publisher Henle Verlag which between them offer an excellent introduction to Beethoven’s 35 Piano Sonatas, in a superb new edition edited by Norbert Gertsch and concert pianist Murray Perahia.
“By 1790, ‘without question the living composer most loved by young and old’ was not Haydn or Mozart but Leopold Koželuch.”
So writes Christopher Hogwood (quoting from Ernst Ludwig Gerber’s Historisch-Biographisches Lexicon der Tonkünstler, Leipzig, 1790) in his deftly compelling introduction to Bärenreiter’s new score Koželuch: Six Easy Sonatas, BA 11565.
This opening claim is not the only surprise in this excellent new publication, which is surely an essential purchase for anyone teaching intermediate pianists, and for players of all ages at this level. So let’s find out more…
Composer James Welburn (whose Musical Escapades collection I reviewed here, and his Reflections in Waltzright here) continues to impress with his latest publication.
Written “for the aspiring virtuoso”, this new addition to Welburn’s catalogue is alliteratively titled Adventures & Accolades. Comprising 14 short pieces, the collection is once again brought to us by the ever-brilliant Editions Musica Ferrum, while the recordings of the pieces are available on the composer’s website, or here:
In common with Welburn’s previous two publications, the music is suitable for intermediate players, although the pieces here are shorter than in his earlier collections, and have a wider variety of style, tending perceptibly towards the more jazzy.
The challenges of self-publishing cannot be overstated, and generally when a composer sends me work they have put together themselves I am left wishing they had found an established publisher to edit, advise, and produce the best score.
Not so in the case of Adrian Lord, whose recently arrived Piano Meditations is so superbly presented that it could even leave those big companies blushing. I am equally happy to report that neither is the collection simply a triumph of style over substance: Lord’s music is absolutely wonderful.
Piano Meditations is a real find. Read on for the full Pianodao review…
A preponderance of music theory publications currently exist which are specifically tailored for those preparing to battle with the somewhat arcane requirements of compulsory exams. And yet, for those who simply want to understand notation and written music in a way that’s useful and relevant to today’s piano players, the market has long been wide open.
Finally we can welcome a simple textbook which is clear, concise, and of practical benefit. While not entirely eschewing the testing regime, David Hall’s excellent self-published There’s More to Playing the Piano offers a thorough explanation of music theory which is for all, and which has two very special selling points.
In the author’s own words:
Each chapter ends with an activity to try at the piano. These activities will bring the theory topic to life and show you how your new theory knowledge can be applied to develop your skills of composition, improvisation, analysis and performance.
Scan the QR Codes to gain access to online videos where David explains each topic again and demonstrates the piano activities.
Could this be the ideal music theory primer for pianists of all ages?
In a word, “yes”. Whether you are searching for a better understanding of the music you play, a returning pianist refreshing your knowledge, or a student wanting a crash course or revising for an exam, I think that this book could well be for you. So let’s take a closer look…
The latest promotional FREE sheet music download exclusive for Pianodao readers is by composer Garreth Brooke: the wonderful Apart, Together from a forthcoming collection to be published by Editions Musica Ferrum next year.
Garreth’s recording of the piece has already been streamed more than 20,000 times on Spotify. Intermediate players and their teachers certainly won’t want to miss this!
London College of Music Examinations (LCME hereafter) bill themselves as a progressive, friendly exam board offering a wide selection of graded music exams and professional diplomas. Founded as far back as 1887, the board arrived on the scene two years before ABRSM, and ten years after the first board, Trinity College Exams.
LCME pride themselves on continuing to lead the way in developing exam options that are relevant to today’s global world. Indeed, the performance grade options that other boards have introduced in the last year follow a blueprint LCME laid down years ago.
Uniquely, having become part of the University of West London, LCME are now the first and only exam board whose qualifications are awarded by a University. Conducting exams in more than 80 countries around the world, LCME retain their traditional qualities while being widely praised for fielding examiners known for being warm and approachable, ensuring candidates are put at ease and able to perform to their full potential.
With such particular strengths, it is perhaps odd that relatively few teachers are aware of their offer, but the recent arrival of the 2021-2024 Piano Syllabus and accompanying Handbooks offers a timely opportunity to take another, closer look…