Faber Music launched their deluxe Faber Music Piano Anthology with impeccable timing, just a few weeks before Christmas – but it makes a wonderful gift book for enthusiastic pianists, all the year around!
Quite simply, Faber Music have spared no trouble or expense in ensuring that this large hard-back volume screams “quality” in every department, from the sturdy board covers to the high-grade paper, and from the attractive presentation to the outstanding music engraving. The book even has a tassel bookmark so that you can quickly find the piece you last played.
As an object, The Faber Music Piano Anthology is a thing of splendour! But you may be wondering how well a stiff hard-back volume copes when required to stay flat and open on a piano music rest.
The short answer is: with some difficulty. In fact before I could play from it I needed to vigorously pull the covers back, fully bending the spine to a point where I was concerned it might break. And this process had to be repeated for each piece. I wondered whether the pages might become loose in the process, but as it turned out, the book is so well made that even when subjected to quite rough treatment it was fine. Basically, the book is built to last!
So – what of the content?
The pieces have been carefully selected by classical pianist Melanie Spanswick, who announces in her Foreword:
“I am delighted to present this anthology featuring over 75 original classical piano pieces intended for piano lovers far and wide. Containing a complete mixture of styles, genres and composers, this compilation provides a veritable potpourri of piano music from the sixteenth century up to and including the late twentieth century.
“The volume comprises piano works from Elementary level (around Grade 2 of most worldwide examination boards) to Advanced level (around Grade 8), and reflects the development of piano music over the centuries.”
The selection of pieces is both unpredictable and delightful. To start with, many of the most well-established favourites are included, such as To a Wild Rose, Für Elise, Träumerei and Satie’s Gymnopèdie 1 and Gnossienne 1. There are also some easier pieces in the form of Bach’s ever-green Minuet in G, the Solider’s March from Schumann’s Album for the Young, and several other fairly easy one-page miniatures, which will undoubtedly bring back fond memories for the adult enthusiast.
Best of all in my view, the anthology includes many lesser-known gems, including pieces by Köhler, Dargomyzhsky, Massenet, Franck, Borodin, Ilyinsky, Delibes, Maykapar and Britten. For those unfamiliar with them, these lovely pieces will come as fabulous discoveries, and including them alongside the more familiar favourites is sure to delight players exploring the collection.
You can read the full book contents on the Faber Music site here.
Though drawing on Faber’s extensive catalogue of publications, the music setting here is consistent throughout. Sufficient fingerings are included in most (but not all) of the pieces, which will help the player who is exploring this music on their own, although in some cases I might choose or suggest alternatives to those given.
Overall, this is definitely a collection to cherish! The Faber Music Piano Anthology contains a fabulous variety of great music, beautifully presented. It not only represents a rather wonderful Christmas gift, but will surely stand the test of time to become a treasured source of pleasure and piano-playing enrichment.