Sheet Music Review by Karen Marshall
Benny Andersson Piano
Music from ABBA, Chess and more –
21 transcriptions for solo piano.
A MUST this Christmas.
When the store manager of Banks, Music Room York, introduced me to the new Benny Andersson Piano book I knew I had to buy a copy. I really haven’t been disappointed – not only has it been wonderful to play, it has brought back so many memories.
I am just 7 years old stood in the living room, wobbling in my Mum’s high heels, wearing a favourite long frilly skirt and hair brush gripped in hand. And yes, I’m singing! I’m singing my little heart our pretending I am Anni-Frid in Thank You For The Music.
And it appears that Benny himself has been down memory lane recording the Album, from which this music was transcribed by Göran Arnberg. In his own words ………
“In the process of recording this album, which has been tremendous fun, I have come to realise that the pieces I have chosen to play are an integral part of me. In endeavouring to reach for some core within them, I have found that the more I strip away the clothing, i.e. treatments and arrangements from the ‘original versions’, the closer I feel to the music, regardless of whether it was created last year or 40 years ago. In a strange way, I feel like I’m playing my memoirs.” Benny Andersson
The Quality of the publication
The photography in the book is simply beautiful – colour and black and white, spanning Benny’s whole career.
With introductory notes from music journalist Camilla Lundberg, the book is well bound, with high quality, well spaced music engraving. It holds open easily on the piano stand.
The 21 pieces appear in the same order as they did on Benny’s Deutsche Grammophon album. No fingering is included – this is left to the player.
So what’s in the book?
Here we see an introduction from Benny about the album and him performing Thank You For The Music.
And for samples of music from the whole album listen here:
The album begins with I Let the Music Speak – very apt.
I was very relieved (as much as I love ABBA) that this not a book of ABBA covers. The ABBA music in there is some of the most beautiful piano arrangements I have ever encountered.
These are most certainly piano pieces in their own right. In accessible keys, rhythmically challenging at times, the treatment of the melodies is quite extraordinary.
Playing My Love, My Life and I Wonder (Departure), I was totally moved. And there are 6 pieces from the musical Chess including Chess, You and I, and one of my favourites – Someone Else’s Story.
The Swedish musical drama score penned by Benny and Bjorn, Kristina från Duvemåla is superb. Songs featured here include the haunting Aldrig, with it’s echoes of Romantic composition, and the sweet melody of I Gott Bevar.
There are also Andersson’s solo compositions from the 1980’s such as Stockholm By Night, along with music featuring from Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Andersson’s Orchestra). I think the very accessible Midnattsdan must have come from here.
Other ABBA favourites are there including: The Day Before You Came, Happy New Year and of course – Thank You for the Music!
For the full list of compositions and to order the book visit Music Room: https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product1132719/variant1132719/benny-andersson-piano/
And finally …
All in all, this is a perfect Christmas gift.
Suitable for an able Grade 7 or Grade 8 pianist, enjoy the beauty of Benny’s melodies, the genius of his harmonies, the variety of his rhythmic writing and simply the joy of playing some compositional beauties for piano.
Thank you, Benny! – you have made this pianist’s November a real piano playing pleasure. I hope to see this music feature far and wide – as it simply brings joy whilst playing.
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