The Classical Film Collection

Sheet Music Review

Last summer, Faber Music brought out Film Themes: The Piano Collection, which I reviewed enthusiastically here.

This summer, they follow up with The Classical Film Collection, which offers a varied compendium of 40 popular classical pieces – all of which have been prominently used in movies – arranged for intermediate to early-advanced pianists.

Let’s take a closer look and see what’s included …

The Publication

Like Faber Music’s other recent music compilations, The Classical Film Collection is attractively presented, with a glossy eye-catching cover, and well presented notation within.

Music engraving is clear and well-spaced – at times generously so, as in the case of Chopin’s E minor Prelude, here bestride two pages.

Speaking of pages, there are 120 in all, and the 40 included pieces range in length from one to nine pages – a point which perhaps already hints at the scope and diversity on offer here.

Worth noting too that, like the previous Film Themes piano collection, this book easily stays open on the music stand, and seems to me a quality production made to last.

The majority of the pieces are simplified and shortened arrangements of vocal, choral and orchestral works, although a few are original piano solos, these being presented in their full unabridged form.

In general the edition includes no fingering suggestions, although there are a few unexpected exceptions.

Personally I would have preferred fingering throughout, and not only for the sake of consistency. Firstly, some of the arrangements don’t exactly fit very well under the fingers. Secondly, such an enticing collection invites independent exploration; intermediate to early advanced players working through the book without a teacher would surely benefit from helpful fingering suggestions.

Included Music

As with any collection of this sort, the most decisive information for many readers will be the list of contents, so here it is:

  1. Adagietto (Mahler) – Death in Venice
  2. Adagio from Cello Concerto in E minor (Elgar) – Hilary & Jackie
  3. Adagio from Clarinet Concerto in A (Mozart) – Out of Africa
  4. Adagio in G minor (Albinoni) – Manchester By The Sea
  5. Air on the G string (J.S. Bach) – Se7en
  6. Aria from the Goldberg Variations (J.S. Bach) – The Silence of the Lambs
  7. Clair de Lune (Debussy) – Atonement
  8. Dance of the Reed Flutes (Tchaikovsky) – Fantasia
  9. Ethel and Ernest (Carl Davis) – Ethel and Ernest
  10. House of Woodcock (Jonny Greenwood) – Phantom Thread
  11. Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (Vaughan Williams) – Master and Commander
  12. Fast zu Ernst (Schumann) – Shine
  13. Für Elise (Beethoven) – Immortal Beloved
  14. German Dance in D major (Schubert) – Persuasion
  15. Gnossienne No.1 (Satie) – Chocolat
  16. Impromptu in G flat Op.90 (Schubert) – The Lady in the Van
  17. Intermezzo (Mascagni) – Raging Bull
  18. In Paradisum (Fauré) – The Thin Red Line
  19. Le jardin féerique from Ma Mère l’Oye (Ravel) – Call Me By Your Name
  20. Laureate Dominum (Mozart) – Moonlight
  21. Lacrimosa (Mozart) – Amadeus
  22. The Last Rose of Summer (trad. Irish) – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  23. Liebstod (Wagner) – Melancholia
  24. Libiamo, e’lieti calici (Verdi) – Quartet
  25. Morning Passages (Glass) – The Hours
  26. Miserere (Allegri) – Chariots of Fire
  27. Nimrod (Elgar) – Elizabeth
  28. Ode to Joy (Beethoven) – A Clockwork Orange
  29. Overture from La Forza del Destino (Verdi) – Jean de Florette
  30. Piano Concerto Op.73, Emperor Theme (Beethoven) – The King’s Speech
  31. Prelude III (Gershwin) – An American in Paris
  32. Prelude in E minor (Chopin) – The Pianist
  33. The Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner) – Apocalypse Now
  34. Rondo all Turca (Mozart) – A Beautiful Mind
  35. Sarabande (Handel) – Barry Lyndon
  36. Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky) – Black Swan
  37. Un bel di vedremo (Puccini) – Fatal Attraction
  38. Variation No.3 from Goldberg Variations (J.S. Bach) – Captain Fantastic
  39. Vissi d’arte (Puccini) – Yves Saint Laurent
  40. Stabat Mater (Vivaldi) – The Talented Mr. Ripley

There are obviously a number of challenges involved in putting together such a diverse and enticing collection, and one which so clearly aims to please a wide audience.

For one thing, the selection of pieces should perhaps either make a virtue of featuring unique content not available elsewhere, or else assume that the purchaser has no prior library, allowing a free hand in choosing those standard pieces which are so ubiquitous elsewhere.

Here, Faber seem to have sought a compromise. I can’t help wondering who needs another copy of Für Elise or Gnossienne 3 – but there are nevertheless enough distinctive pieces to make this collection genuinely worthwhile, even for those of us who already have an extensive music library.

Then there is the question of difficulty level. Here again, Faber have opted for inclusion and broad appeal.

Although the marketing states the collection is ideal for intermediate players, it includes Schubert’s glorious Impromptu in G flat major Op.90/3 (currently on the DipABRSM Diploma syllabus) alongside very easy arrangements of a handful of the included pieces, such as the Ode to Joy (which is certainly not harder than Grade 2).

The easier pieces might helpfully spare the blushes of the less advanced player who is given the book as a gift, offering something an elementary pianist could cope with before growing into the more difficult pieces. On the other hand, the arrangement of The Ride of the Valkyries seems to me somewhat misjudged here, appearing as an easy lilting piece that oddly fails to channel the essence of the mighty original.


While I am not without minor reservations about this publication, I must stress that despite the small concerns mentioned I still feel that the strengths of The Classical Film Collection considerably outweigh it’s weaknesses.

Many will, I am sure, find the selection of pieces a delight, and the quality of arrangements is on the whole very good indeed. The Classical Film Collection is a well designed collection bound to give student and amateur pianists many hours of pleasure.

In conclusion then, if you like the listed selection of pieces you’ll undoubtedly find this an enjoyable, useful and worthwhile purchase.

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Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, published author and composer based in Milton Keynes UK, where he runs a successful private teaching studio.

4 thoughts on “The Classical Film Collection”

  1. I agree with your comment “I can’t help wondering who needs another copy of Für Elise”. Sadly having simply read the sentence means I now have the piece stuck in my head to the extent that I realize I could drag my keyboard out of the closet and play Fur Elise. Arggh, pass the Telemann, please.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I performed it in a recital a couple of years ago, for the first time. I figured that having reached 50 I should play it once! Afterwards, three audience members signed up for lessons …

      Liked by 1 person

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