Mike Cornick remains one of our most prolific piano composers, and one who has made a very substantial contribution to the popular piano duet literature.
His latest release, Dinner for Two, subtitled “Romantic arrangements for piano duet”, continues his best-selling “for two” series which began with 2010’s Tea for Two and has now grown to 7 titles. As ever, the book is brought to us by Universal Edition.
Let’s take a look inside…
Dinner for Two broadly matches the look and feel of previous releases in the series, although UE have given the cover design a slight makeover. As always though, it conveys the light-hearted outlook of the content nicely:
The book includes 48 pages printed on white paper, and there is a CD in a clear wallet glued to the inside back cover (more about which in a moment). The pages are nicely spaced, in typical UE house style.
There is a brief Preface in which the composer writes:
“Picture, if you will, a candle-lit restaurant featuring a beautiful grand piano; and seated at this instrument are two pianists who are preparing to serenade a happy couple with a selection of duets.
So, what titles could be on such a musical menu to accompany a romantic dinner for two? The answer is a five-course programme of musical gems, each of which is associated in one way or another with romantic love…
A veritable musical feast. Bon appétit”
The five duet pieces appear with secondo and primo parts on facing pages. With ample spacing in the notation, there are numerous page turns in each piece, though most avoid the need to turn backwards for repeats. There’s a good amount of useful included fingering throughout, too.
The included CD features 15 tracks, with three recordings of each piece:
• Duet performance
• Primo Play-along
• Secondo Play-along
These are “sequenced” (as opposed to recorded) by the composer, giving them a MIDI quality, but they serve their purpose well, and a warm, expressive piano sound has been used.
The CD is a great resource both as a practice tool and for enjoying the pieces in the absence of a duet partner.
The five titles which Cornick has arranged for this latest collection are:
• Plaisir d’amour
• Santa Lucia
• They Didn’t Believe Me
The light cocktail arrangements themselves are pitch-perfect for the scenario Cornick deliciously evokes in his Preface, and would suit players at intermediate level, around Grades 3-5. They are perhaps too long, however, for GCSE ensemble pieces (but these other Mike Cornick publications would be ideal).
With its intimate cover illustration one might expect risqué Schubertian collisions to abound, but in the event the two players maintain a discreet distance throughout.
Dinner for Two is another solid entry in the Cornick Catalogue, and fans of his previous duet collections will undoubtedly be delighted.
The music selection is an attractive one, and Cornick’s arrangements are, as ever, brilliant. What a feast!
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