Thanos Fotiadis: Welcome to Earth

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.

Editions Musica Ferrum continue to deliver creative new music suitable for players of all ages and levels, showcasing interesting composers from around the world, the latest of whom is Thanos Fotiadis, a pianist, teacher and composer based in the Netherlands.

According to the publisher,

“Welcome to Earth is a collection of diverse solo piano pieces that capture the imagination of the piano player in multiple ways. Featuring a total of 10 short pieces, plus a bonus one in the end, each piece holds the interest of the pianist, or piano student, by moving from style to style with great ease, but always offering the personal touch of the composer.”

Let’s go exploring…

Piano Pieces for Little Stars

Given its subtitle, “11 piano pieces for little stars”, my first surprise when opening this book was to find that the collection is equally appropriate for all ages, presented without illustrations, and most suitable for intermediate players at around UK Grade 4 level.

The composer tells us that the collection was originally created for a live theatre performance of “De Verdraaise Orgelman” (which Google translates as “The Twisted Organ Man”). We are also told that the first piece is inspired by a theme by Debussy.

Playing through the pieces, I settled on Debussy’s more recent compatriot Yann Tiersen as a relatable musical reference point, several of Fotiadis’s pieces stylistically reminding me of Tiersen’s music for the film Amelie and more recent work. Certainly these pieces combine the quirky with the atmospheric.

A video has been produced showing the scores and including all eleven pieces, so you can make up your own mind:

Personal favourites for me include Piece I (which includes some rather large hand stretches, as you’ll see from the sample below…), the jazzy Piece IV, more lyrical Piece IX and whimsical Piece X.

Which do you like most?.. do leave a comment to let me know!

The Publication

Musica Ferrum publications always offer an enticing combination of homespun charm and high-end professionalism in their presentation, and Welcome to Earth is no exception.

The cover artwork by Rebecca Harrie perfectly captures the sense of wonderment which pervades the music within:

The music scores are neatly presented on cream paper, and happily include ample fingering suggestions throughout.

A couple of the pieces (VI and VII) seem slightly cramped on the page, but the editor’s decision to present them on a single page eliminates mid-piece page turns in this publication, which seems to me the right call.

As ever, then, this is a publication to savour and enjoy!

Closing Thoughts

Thanos Fotiadis is certainly a new name to me, but here is a composer I would be happy to hear more from.

Welcome to Earth is brimming with character, pedagogic and musical interest, and these new pieces are sure to bring pleasure to players everywhere.

Another recommended discovery from Editions Musica Ferrum, then!

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, writer and composer based on Milton Keynes UK. His book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is published by Hal Leonard.