The challenges of self-publishing cannot be overstated, and generally when a composer sends me work they have put together themselves I am left wishing they had found an established publisher to edit, advise, and produce the best score.
Not so in the case of Adrian Lord, whose recently arrived Piano Meditations is so superbly presented that it could even leave those big companies blushing. I am equally happy to report that neither is the collection simply a triumph of style over substance: Lord’s music is absolutely wonderful.
Piano Meditations is a real find. Read on for the full Pianodao review…
British pianist and composer Adrian Lord studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and at Colchester Institute’s School of Music, where he took composition lessons with Alan Bullard and Christopher Ball.
He has spent much of his life writing short, uplifting piano pieces in an accessible “new classical” vein, and performing them around the UK. In 2016 he released his debut album Journey: Twelve Romances for Piano, and a second album Sky Blue Piano followed in 2018.
During the Coronavirus lockdown of 2020 Adrian gave twice-weekly performances on Facebook Live, so people could watch whilst at home, about which he tells us,
“The pieces I chose for this were from my first two albums… people tell me that it is the slower and more relaxed pieces that they have found a connection with during this time. For this book I have decided to continue this theme. The five pieces I have composed are designed to be played with an unhurried feel and a relaxed approach to time.”
The pieces have suitably wistful titles:
You can watch Lord performing Snowfall:
And here is Evermore:
There’s no denying that these pieces want a seat at a crowded table, but nor is there any escaping the point that Lord’s music ascends to a higher altitude than most. And significantly, his pieces are not simply evocative and relaxing to listen to but are no less engaging and rewarding to sit down and play.
I really think all five pieces here are something quite special. And the quality is consistent too: in Piano Meditations I equally enjoyed all five pieces. Lord proves that “less is more”, leaving us expectant for the next album!
The music book itself has soft gloss card covers, with ivory-shade paper within. The inner front cover includes a photograph of Lord and his introduction to the collection, and facing this the title page includes the contents of this and images of his previous two publications.
The notation that follows is cleanly and spaciously presented, without unnecessary page turns in the process. In opener Waves, Lord shows that he favours key signature changes over excessive use of accidentals, the extra effort leading to a score that is notably easier to read than would have been produced with less effort.
Space is the shortest and easiest piece (I would suggest around Grade 3), while at four pages Ascend is the longest. Overall the pieces are at upper intermediate to early advanced level, around UK Grades 5-6.
That said, I feel that a more advanced player will produce a far more satisfying interpretation than the one who struggles to play the notes. And I should note that no fingering is included, nor pedalling (important though this is in performance): these are left to the player.
Adrian Lord’s Piano Meditations is in short a superb collection in every sense, and a very easy recommendation to any more advanced player who enjoys playing music which is as absorbing as it is relaxing.
And all this for just £7.50. What are you waiting for? Hop over to the composer’s website here to purchase your copy today!