Piano Kaleidoscope

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.

Bärenreiter are a publisher who take pride in achieving the highest standards in all their publications. In their own words:

Bärenreiter Urtext is a seal of quality assigned only to scholarly-critical editions. It guarantees that the musical text represents the current state of research prepared in accordance with clearly defined editorial guidelines.
Bärenreiter Urtext: the last word in authentic text – the musicians’ choice.”

Piano Kaleidoscope is a new piano anthology, produced by Bärenreiter as an appetiser for their Urtext Editions, specially priced at the pocket-money price of just £4.50. And it is the best bargain I’ve ever reviewed here!

But who is it for, and does it achieve more than its basic aim of promoting the rest of their published range? Let’s find out…

A Special Edition

According to Bärenreiter,

“This album is a special edition not only due to its very affordable price, but also because it features a cross section of Bärenreiter’s extensive piano catalogue.”

The volume has a striking cover, and all aspects of notation, print and paper quality and presentation are of the highest order, in keeping with Bärenreiter’s usual benchmark standards.

That said, despite the first class presentation the book makes no attempt to disguise that it is effectively just a “sampler” for Bärenreiter’s other wares. The most eagle-eyed will note that the engraving has been lifted from previous publications, leading to minor differences in appearance between the pieces. Some include fingering but most don’t, again depending on the source.

The rear cover states that Bärenreiter Urtext editions include:

“…Information on the genesis and history of the work;
A description of the sources;
Valuable notes on the performance practice by experts in their field;
A critical commentary explaining source discrepancies and editorial decisions…”

And yet ironically, this anthology contains none of the above, instead providing simply the notation itself. At this price it seems churlish to quibble, but I can’t help wondering whether it would have been an even more effective appetiser had the publisher included these, enabling newcomers to their product range to enjoy the full Bärenreiter experience.

Full Contents

Where I personally think that Piano Kaleidoscope scores more highly is as a stunning compilation of wonderful and varied piano music, suitable for players who have moved beyond intermediate level and towards the higher grades.

As such it offers an outstanding, first-rate edition of these great pieces, making for an attractive and inexpensive alternative to collections such as Encore Book 4 – especially for players who are less focussed on graded examinations and levels.

Here then is the full list of included works:

  • J.S.Bach: Praeludium in C BWV 864, No.1 from The Well-Tempered Clavier I
  • Erik Satie: 1ere Gymnopédie
  • Franz Schubert: Allegretto in C D 915
  • Johannes Brahms: Waltz in B minor Op.39 No.11
  • Leoš Janáček: In the Mists No.1
  • Claude Debussy: The Little Shepherd
  • Robert Schumann: Sicilienne from the Album for the Young
  • Erik Satie: En Plus from 3 Morceaux en from de Poire
  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Venetian Gondola Song Op.30/6
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Allegro (1st movement from Sonata in C, K545)
  • J.S.Bach: Prelude in D minor BWV 851
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Adagio sostenuto (1st movement from Sonata Op.27/2 “Moonlight)
  • Modest Mussorgsky: Tuilleries (No.3 from Pictures at an Exhibition)
  • Johannes Brahms: Album Leaf BA 9606
  • G.F. Handel: Sonatina in D minor HWV 581
  • Franz Schubert: Hungarian Melody D 817
  • Claude Debussy: …Footsteps in the Snow
  • Leopold Koželuch: Sonata in E flat major Op.53/3, 1st movement
  • Erwin Schulhoff: Blues (Esquisses de jazz No.4)
  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Allegro non troppo Op.72/1
  • Bedrich Smetana: Polka in E flat Op.8/1
  • Robert Schumann: Abschied (from Waldszenen Op.82/9)

Readers will undoubtedly recognise that this is an outstanding selection of pieces, and at this astonishingly low price it’s hard to fault Piano Kaleidoscope .

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, writer and composer based on Milton Keynes UK. His book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is published by Hal Leonard.