Faber Music have in recent years welcomed the onset of the Christmas shopping season with the publication of lavish anthologies, making perfect gifts for the pianist in your life (or indeed for yourself!).
First (in 2016) came the Faber Music Piano Anthology, a stunning hardback collection including 76 popular intermediate and advanced classics, which I reviewed here.
In 2018 they followed this with the lush Faber Music Christmas Piano Anthology, an essential seasonal purchase which I reviewed in more detail here.
New for 2019, the Faber Music Soundtracks Piano Anthology is a collection of 58 pieces which have appeared in movies or TV shows, including popular classics alongside recent film scores.
Let’s take a closer look….
A Bumper Anthology
If you’ve seen the Faber Music Christmas Anthology you will know exactly what to expect with this one. Here we find 58 pieces printed across 208 pages, all wrapped within a sturdy soft cover housing inner flaps.
It’s an extremely classy product and as with the previous Faber Music Anthologies, I found myself immediately impressed with the stunning quality.
One subtle detail: while I’ve never found the print quality of these Faber anthologies to be in any way wanting, on this occasion they seem to have achieved even greater clarity in the presentation, the black inks vibrant on the page, every detail brilliantly rendered.
This is perhaps further accentuated by the inclusion of full-page black-and-white photographs throughout, including a selection of superbly reproduced film stills and new, evocative images of camera equipment. It’s all excellently done, and adds not only to the impression of high-end quality but also to the general enjoyment of the book in use.
An even smaller detail, compared with the Christmas Piano Anthology, the Soundtracks Piano Anthology has a slightly thinner cut of paper throughout. This improves use of the book, making it more pliable without any loss of durability.
A final point about the physical product; as with the previous anthologies, the pages here are stitched rather than just glued, meaning that the book more easily stands flat on the music stand, withstands any necessary persuasion to do so, and is built to last. Too many large music collections I’ve seen over the years fall on this point, and Faber Music are to be commended for getting this so right!
I have just one very small gripe, which is that the contents pages would be more useful had the pieces been listed in alphabetical order rather than page order.
So what of the music?
In most cases here, the music consists of solo piano arrangements of pieces written for orchestra or other musical forces, although a few pieces are well-loved piano classics.
Without further ado, here’s the complete list (alphabetically!) –
- 881 7th Avenue (Green Book)
- Adagio In G minor (Manchester By The Sea)
- Air on a G String (Se7en)
- Alone In Kyoto (Lost In Translation)
- As Time Goes By (Casablanca)
- Balcony Scene (Romeo + Juliet)
- Big My Secret (The Piano)
- City Of Stars (La La Land)
- Colette (Souvenir) (Colette)
- Concerto Grosso in Bb major, Op.6 No.7 HWV 325 Largo (The Favourite)
- Doctor Who Theme (Doctor Who)
- Downton Abbey (Main Theme) (Downton Abbey)
- The Entertainer (The Sting)
- Ethel & Ernest Theme (Ethel & Ernest)
- Faith’s Theme (Keeping Faith)
- Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (Master and Commander)
- The Firm (Main Title) (The Firm)
- First Impressions (Becoming Jane)
- The Game Is On (Sherlock )
- Gnossiene No. 3 (Killing Eve)
- Hedwig’s Theme (Harry Potter)
- Hinterland (Main Theme) (Hinterland)
- House Of Woodcock (Phantom Thread)
- I’ll Never Love Again (A Star Is Born)
- Is That Alright (A Star Is Born)
- Jean de Florette Theme (Jean de Florette)
- Le Jardin Féerique (Ma Mere l’Oye) (Call Me By Your Name)
- Life On Mars (The Life Aquatic)
- Life On The Moors (Jane Eyre)
- The Lord Is My Shepherd (Vicar of Dibley)
- Main Title (Chocolat)
- Main Title (The Cider House Rules)
- Memory (Cats)
- Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence)
- Mia and Sebastian’s Theme (La La Land)
- Morning Passages (The Hours)
- Nanou 2 (Beautiful Boy)
- Nimrod (Elizabeth)
- Not About Angels (The Fault In Our Stars)
- Ocean (Bloom) (Planet Earth)
- Pan’s Labyrinth Lullaby (Pan’s Labyrinth)
- Piano Gift (The Children Act)
- Prelude in E minor (Op. 28 No.4) (The Pianist)
- Pride and Prejudice (Main Theme) (Pride and Prejudice)
- Raider’s March (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
- The Ring Goes South (Fellowship of the Ring)
- September Song (Big Little Lies)
- Solemn Love (On Chesil Beach)
- SS GB (Theme) (SS GB)
- Star Wars Main Theme (Star Wars)
- Theme (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind)
- Tomorrow (Annie)
- Two (Nureyev)
- Unmade (Suspiria)
- Variation No. 3 (from Goldberg Variations, BWV 988) (Captain Fantastic)
- What A Wonderful World (Good Morning Vietnam)
- Withnail’s Theme (Withnail & I)
- Zadok The Priest (The Crown)
As with the previous books in the series, the level of the arrangements is predominantly intermediate to early advanced. This makes it ideal for so many adult piano enthusiasts, who can either enjoy learning these pieces at their own pace, or (if they are more advanced) playing through them for fun without too much preparation.
Some of the pieces and arrangements have previously (and recently) appeared in other Faber Music collections, The Classical Film Collection (reviewed here) and Film Themes: The Piano Collection (reviewed here).
A close inspection reveals however that they have been re-set, and here comes a big point in favour of the new versions:
Faber Music have included fingering suggestions throughout this collection, in some cases even adding it to arrangements previously published without (or with less) fingering.
This is hugely welcome, and while not always quite as detailed as that found in more overtly educational publications, the fingering here will be a real boon to amateur players learning the pieces without a teacher. Thank you, Faber!
As for the quality of the arrangements, the selected pieces mostly lend themselves well to a solo piano treatment, and those involved have produced versions which are in most cases both enjoyably playable and true to the spirit of the originals. Hats off to Oliver Weeks, who is credited for the latest new arrangements included here for the first time.
I’ve had a lot of fun exploring this excellent bumper collection in the few days since the review copy arrived, and my family have been joining in, identifying the pieces and their sources!
Regular readers (please subscribe!) will know that I was highly impressed when this publisher launched their Faber Music Piano Anthology, and even more glowing in my review of the Christmas Anthology upon its release.
And yet somehow Faber continue to raise the bar.
In its visual presentation, consistency of quality content, and sheer enjoyability, The Faber Music Soundtracks Piano Anthology is a genuine blockbuster!