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Faber Music have been producing a steady flow of printed compilations of piano music for some time, with a focus on bringing together pieces from films, arrangements of hit songs, and popular classical favourites.
Latest addition, Ultimate Piano Solos boasts “over 50 bestsellers” and offers an appealing selection of mainstream favourites that most people will instantly recognise. Keenly priced at just £15.99 it offers excellent value, and is perhaps the ideal collection for the enthusiastic player at around Grade 5 level who wants to grow their repertoire of popular favourites.
The presentation here is very similar to Faber Music’s previous The Ultimate Songlist and Ultimate Easy Piano Songlist. Most of my comments about the latter, in my review here, equally apply to Ultimate Piano Solos – this is an attractive and well-presented collection, with glossy soft covers and fairly sturdy binding.
Within, the 176 black-and-white pages include a contents page, and beyond that just the music itself. The notation has a clean well-spaced presentation, and pieces range from a single page to (in a couple of cases) nine.
As a general rule fingering isn’t included, although in a few pieces there are limited suggestions, perhaps carried over from other Faber Music editions.
Recovering from the shock of seeing the names Ed Sheeran and J.S.Bach rubbing shoulders on the front cover, the number one question many will have is, “what exactly is in this collection?”
So here is the full contents list:
- 7 Years (Lukas Graham)
- Allegro K.545 (Mozart)
- Alone in Kyoto (Air)
- Asos Model Crush (dné)
- Ambre (Nils Frahm)
- Avril 14th (Aphex Twin)
- Back to Life (Giovanni Allevi)
- Bella’s Lullaby from Twilight (Carter Burwell)
- Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)
- Caravan of Love (The Housemartins)
- Children (Robert Miles)
- The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
- The Cider House Rules (Rachel Portman)
- Cruella de Vil (Melville A. Leven)
- Dive (Ed Sheeran)
- Davy Jones Theme (Hans Zimmer)
- The Entertainer (Joplin)
- Faded (Alan Walker)
- Gymnopédie No.1 (Satie)
- Heal (Tom Odell)
- Hedwig’s Theme (John Williams)
- Human (Rag N Bone Man)
- How Deep is Your Love (Bee Gees)
- Karma Police (Radiohead)
- La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin (Debussy)
- Lippy Kids (Elbow)
- Lento (Prelude Op.16/4) (Scriabin)
- Married Life (Michael Giacchino)
- Maybe (Charles Strouse)
- Melodia Africana I (Ludovico Einaudi)
- Memory (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
- Mia & Sebastian’s Theme (Justin Hurwitz)
- Moonlight Sonata (first movement) (Beethoven)
- Nemo Egg (Main Title) (Thomas Newman)
- (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano (Sampha)
- Prelude No.1 in C major (J.S.Bach)
- Opening (from Glassworks) (Philip Glass)
- Pavane (Fauré)
- Prelude in E minor (Chopin)
- SS-GB Title Theme (Dan Jones)
- See You Again (Charlie Puth)
- Summertime (Nina Simone)
- A Thousand Years (The Piano Guys)
- (They Long To Be) Close to You (The Carpenters)
- Variations on the Kanon (George Winston)
- Vladimir’s Blues (Max Richter)
- Tifa’s Theme (Nobuo Uematsu)
- What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
- A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)
- When I Fall In Love (Nat King Cole)
- Wings (Birdy)
This eyebrow-raising selection could no doubt launch a thousand dinner-party conversations, but there’s certainly plenty here to excite the pianist who simply enjoys sitting at the instrument and dipping into a pool of popular piano tunes.
Those who previously enjoyed The Ultimate Easy Piano Songlist will note some overlap of titles, so it’s worth advising that the arrangements here are more difficult than those in that collection.
On the other hand, this book doesn’t include any song lyrics.
This is another collection from Faber which essentially sells itself – even if you want just a few of the included pieces, you’ll not be disappointed.
Teenagers will find plenty here to occupy them for some time, while more advanced players will enjoy reading through and playing these pieces for lighter enjoyment.
Either way, Ultimate Piano Solos is a pleasurable and well-judged diversion, offering many hours of piano-playing enjoyment. So if you are tempted, go ahead and treat yourself!
Also available • Andrew’s essential handbook:
How to Practise Music
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