Phillip Keveren’s Three-Minute Encores

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“As the last note hangs in the air, there is a magical moment when an audience will, once in a while, decide they want to hear more! Not a lot more, mind you. The clock is ticking and the babysitter can only stay until 10 pm. But, can we make this evening last just a little longer?”

So enthuses ace arranger Phillip Keveren in the preface to his latest collection from Hal Leonard, the cunningly conceived Three-Minute Encores.

Keveren will be known to regular Pianodao readers from my reviews of his superb Piano Calm (reviewed here) and Circles (reviewed here), both of which have become absolute studio essentials here, favourites with multiple students, and are among the most-used collections I have ever reviewed.

One of America’s leading arrangers, Keveren has also delivered literally dozens of other books for Hal Leonard, collectively The Phillip Keveren Series, to which this new issue belongs. And it’s another corker, so let’s investigate…

Encore, Encore!

Introducing this latest compilation, which he has subtitled 18 Unexpected Pop Etudes for the Concert Stage, Keveren tells us,

“The songs in this collection were arranged to serve as effective encores in a piano recital. Chosen from the popular music world, each selection is most likely known by many, if not most, of the people in the audience. Some are meant to be fun, colourful sparklers; others are poignant parting statements. Performance time of under three minutes will leave them wanting more!”

The titles he has chosen for inclusion are:

  • Perfect
  • All the Things You Are
  • Havana
  • Lean on Me
  • Be Our Guest
  • Crazy little thing called love
  • Can’t help falling in love
  • Good Vibrations
  • Dancing Queen
  • The Greatest Show
  • Goodbye To Love
  • Watermelon Sugar
  • Hey Jude
  • Over the Rainbow
  • Sir Duke
  • So Long, Farewell
  • Sweet Caroline
  • When I Fall In Love

With music from the 1930’s (Over the Rainbow) through to recent hits from Ed Sheehan (Perfect) and Camila Cabello (whose song Havana credits an astonishing ten writers, even before Keveren’s own magic is added), there’s certainly plenty of top drawer hits and variety to please any audience.

And happily, the arrangements consistently have that magic Keveren touch: they are superbly pianistic without being impossible to play (they would suit players in the Advanced category, around UK Grades 6-8), display boundless creativity in their reimagining, and of course succumb to Keveren’s penchant for playfully unexpected key changes.

In short, this book is a real crowd pleaser!

To Wild Applause…

The 64-page book is printed on white paper and presented in series style:

The pieces range from two to five pages, only two (Dancing Queen and The Greatest Show) having more than a single page turn. A few fingering suggestions are included to help the player around awkward corners, but for the most part this is left to the player.

And that’s basically it! If you are an advanced player and are drawn to the song list, you will love this publication and no doubt spend many happy hours learning the pieces. Hopefully you will also have the opportunity to perform some of them as encores!

Phillip Keveren’s Three-Minute Encores really is a very easy recommendation.

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Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is the author of HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC, published worldwide by Hal Leonard. He is a widely respected piano educator and published composer based on Milton Keynes UK.