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I have long been an admirer of the brilliant piano music of William Lawson Gillock (1917-1993), so it is with huge pleasure and a sense of pride that I can now announce that, in conjunction with the Willis Music Company, I have selected and edited a new series of ‘graded’ collections showcasing a varied range of his best pieces.
Graded Gillock appears in three volumes, now available:
There’s little doubt in my mind that Gillock was one of the most significant educational piano composers of the twentieth century, as adept at turning out distinctively memorable and colourful piano pieces in an accessible style as he was at engaging the imaginations and enthusiasm of young learners, in doing so paving the way for today’s educational composers.
Gillock is perhaps best known here in the UK for his evocatively bluesy New Orleans Nightfall, stomping Swinging Beat and Latin-infused Carnival in Rio, all of which have been popular graded exam pieces in recent years. But what of his other music?
For this new series, I have used these favourites as a starting point, working with the composer’s long-term publisher Willis Music to explore and select Gillock’s most enjoyable and pedagogically useful music.
Based in New Orleans from 1943 and Dallas, Texas from 1970, Gillock’s teaching and composing career unfolded in a setting that wasn’t impacted by the criteria of graded assessments. His music was largely written for teaching studios, student recitals, music clubs and festivals.
The suggested grade levels in my collections are thus inevitably inexact, but will hopefully serve as a useful guide of suitability.
In all cases where Gillock’s pieces from the Willis Music catalogue have been set by the international examining boards I have sought to include them, while adding music of equal or greater appeal to curate three volumes that I believe will have enormous appeal to players of all ages.
I have presented the pieces in approximate progressive order of difficulty, adding a few notes to support learning and playing. These appear at the rear of each book as Editor’s Notes.
In a few instances I have made minor updates to standardise the fingering suggestions and overall score presentation, aiming to match the expectations of today’s teachers and players.
Without further introduction, here are the piece lists for each of the three volumes:
BOOK ONE: Grades 1-2
- Spooky Footsteps
- Swinging Beat
- Autumn is Here
- The Harpist
- A Stately Sarabande
- Drifting Clouds
- Summertime Blues
- Enchanting Marketplace
- At the Circus
- On Rollerblades
- French Doll
- Dance in Ancient Style
- A Memory of Paris
- The Glass Slipper
- A Music Box Waltz
BOOK TWO: Grades 3-4
- Slumber Song
- In Old Vienna
- The Spanish Guitar
- The Juggler
- Journey in the Night
- Blue Mood
- Windy Weather
- The Constant Bass
- Carnival in Rio
- Hommage to Chopin
- Lazy Bayou
BOOK THREE: Grades 5-6
- Downtown Beat
- Arabesque Sentimentale
- Mister Trumpet Man
- New Orleans Nightfall
- Bourbon Street Saturday Night
- Fountain in the Rain
- Etude in A Major (The Coral Sea)
- A Memory of Vienna
- Dusk on the Bayou
Over the last three decades, many of my own students have found immense enjoyment and motivation playing the music of William Gillock, and today they continue to find inspiration in his catchy tunes and evocative imagination.
I hope that through these books you too will find a succession of pieces which bring happiness and fulfilment to your musical journey!
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