Faber Music have established a reputation for producing interesting and beautifully presented piano collections in recent years, ranging from their standard-setting Faber Music Anthologies series to less imposing but equally attractive compilations.
Their latest is called Play Piano for Well-being, which offers a typically diverse assortment of popular and easily accessible pieces.
In common with last year’s Peaceful Piano Playlist, this new addition similarly compiles a wide range of music in the manner of a Spotify playlist, the hope being that the “31 uplifting piano solos” contained within will bring delight to players and listeners alike.
Let’s hit the play button…
As with all such anthologies the key to whether you will want to buy it lies in the list of included music, which in this case is as follows:
- A Catalogue Of Afternoons (Max Richter)
- Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)
- Danny Boy (Trad)
- Embraceable You (George Gershwin)
- The Glory Of Love (Tom Jones)
- Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus) BWV 106 (J.S. Bach)
- Gymnopedie No.1 (Eric Satie)
- Heroes (David Bowie)
- Havana (Camila Cabello)
- I Giorni (Ludovico Einaudi)
- I Vow To Thee My Country (Gustav Holst)
- Largo (from New World Symphony) (Antonín Dvorák)
- Let There Be Love (Nat King Cole)
- The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) (Howard Goodall)
- Lost (Frank Ocean)
- Lovely Day (Bill Withers)
- Mia & Sebastian’s Theme (from La La Land) (Justin Hurwitz)
- Moonlight Sonata (abridged) (Ludwig van Beethoven)
- Morning (Peer Gynt) (Edvard Grieg)
- Nimrod (Enigma Variations) (Edward Elgar)
- No Surprises (Radiohead)
- Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland)
- The Parting Glass (Trad.)
- River Flows In You (Yiruma)
- A Sky Full Of Stars (Coldplay)
- Sleeping Lotus (Joep Beving)
- Someone To Watch Over Me (George Gershwin)
- Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)
- What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
- The White Cliffs Of Dover (Vera Lynn)
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones)
This is obviously an eclectic mix of predominantly Radio 2 fare, from MOR to Jazz standards, and popular to “new” classical pieces.
For families gathering around the piano, or as a sourcebook for playing piano in the background at a reception for example, this is a stellar mix that offers something to put a smile on most faces.
Some tell me that they find Faber’s top-of-the-range piano anthologies a bit cumbersome; they will be pleased to learn that this one has flexible but durable covers, and quite easily stays open on the music stand.
Within, the 104 white pages are dominated by the music notation itself, without additional illustrations save for the front and back pages. The music is preceded only by the initial credits and contents pages.
Most of the pieces are inevitably arrangements. Some of these have appeared in previous anthologies, while new ones are nicely and well arranged by the steady team of Faber regulars Oliver Weeks and Lucy Holliday.
Some of the pieces are however complete originals, notably the “new classical” pieces such as Yiruma’s increasingly omnipresent River Flows in You, but also Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1, which is fully and accurately presented here.
A curious exception is the first movement of Beethoven’s also ubiquitous Moonlight Sonata which appears in an abridged and simplified version in D minor; purists will be irritated, and given the overall level of the collection I think Faber could have included the original.
Speaking of level, in common with most of these collections Play piano for well-being would nicely suit the late intermediate to early advanced player.
Throughout the book, standard piano notation is used for all the music, including the pop songs, without additional chord symbols, but with song lyrics where appropriate.
The scores are spaciously and well engraved, and printed with a clean music font. Suggested pedalling is occasionally present, but there is no fingering given.
There is plenty to enjoy in this playlist compilation, and I can imagine many adult enthusiasts having hours of pleasure with it.
With a retail price of £12.99 it also represents great value (and don’t forget that Pianodao Tea Room members can get a further 20% discount on this price from Musicroom).
Whether or not playing or listening to this selection of pieces will aid your sense of well-being is probably a matter of subjective taste, but it screams “Feel Good” from cover to cover.
If you already own other Faber Music anthologies and collections, you will probably notice that there’s a fair amount of overlap and might decide to pass.
But if you are in the market for a one-stop collection of appealing “lighter” pieces to play for friends and family, this publication should go straight to the top of your shortlist.
Teachers who dip into, draw from or recommend such collections will find this one of significant interest. I certainly have adult students who will love it, and think it’s a real winner!
Having reviewed and recommended a number of Faber collections before, I have always found them enjoyable and good value. But this one is my new favourite.