Elena Cobb: Recital Piano Solos

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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Elena Cobb is without doubt one of the single most inspiring educators and committed visionaries that I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

A musical force of nature, she has made a global impact in music education through her Star Prize events at London’s Royal Albert Hall which attract young players from around the world, her festival and awards sponsorships, online networking (her Facebook community for Russian-speaking teachers has more than 10,000 members) and her music publishing.

Building her publishing business EVC Music from scratch, the last decade has seen Cobb supporting new music, in the process launching and expanding the careers of several excellent educational composers. It would be easy to overlook that Cobb is herself an outstanding composer.

Having recently signed to Hal Leonard as global distributors for EVC Music, her music is once again in the spotlight, and there’s never been a better time to remind readers of two excellent collections which showcase Cobb’s own, brilliant creative voice…

Continue reading Elena Cobb: Recital Piano Solos

Patrik Pietschmann’s Movie & TV at the Piano

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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Describing Patrik Pietschmann as an “internet sensation” is something of an understatement. Boasting stats that comprehensively put most online pianists to shame, the German YouTuber’s epic piano arrangements of popular soundtracks have gained him 1.59 million subscribers and over 400 million video views.

Now, in something of a publishing coup, Schott Music bring us his first printed collection, delivering ten of his most globally popular arrangements. This clearly isn’t to be missed; here’s the Pianodao review…

Continue reading Patrik Pietschmann’s Movie & TV at the Piano

Egon Wellesz: Sechs Klavierstücke op.26

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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Egon Wellesz is one of those great pioneers of 20th century music who perhaps hasn’t yet been given his due either by historians or audiences.

Wellesz’s Sechs Klavierstücke (Six Piano Pieces) op.26 were composed in 1919 but are only now, a century later, appearing in print as a complete work. Perhaps finally their significance within the music to have emerged from Vienna in those decisive early decades of the twentieth century will finally be recognised…

Continue reading Egon Wellesz: Sechs Klavierstücke op.26

Celebrating Saint-Saëns

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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Centenary years offer an opportunity to celebrate and perhaps reevaluate the works of significant composers from earlier times, and in 2021 (to be precise, on 16th December) we mark the 100-year anniversary of the death of the great French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921).

Though best known for orchestral works, including the universally-known Carnival of the Animals, the Danse macabre, the ‘Organ’ Symphony, and his concertos (including five for piano and orchestra), Saint-Saëns also composed a significant body of solo piano music which, these days, is too little played.

This is no doubt in part because his Liszt-inspired writing renders Saint-Saëns’ solo piano music inaccessible to all but the most advanced virtuosi. Pedagogy occupied little of the composer’s time: a fairly brief stint at the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse in Paris and thereafter occasional coaching (his students including Godowsky). The result: no music composed for formative educational purposes, pre-diploma.

Saint-Saëns’ legacy has suffered in other ways too, including a not entirely fair perception that his music, though sparkling, is essentially superficial. His infamous derision for younger contemporaries such as Debussy and Milhaud no-doubt further alienated him from the public of his later years.

In this revisitation and celebration of Saint-Saëns’ piano music, I will explore three publications from Éditions Durand, who are regarded as the definitive publishers of this repertoire: Œuvres pour piano books I and II, and The Best of Saint-Saëns, a collection of thirteen miscellaneous pieces.

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Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Solos: Christmas Classics

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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Any advanced player with a penchant for jazz and looking for fresh festive fare this holiday season would do well to check out the newly published Christmas Classics, which appears as volume 61 in the Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Solos series and delivers 24 selections arranged by Brent Edstrom.

Since its recent arrival I have been playing my way through these tunes, and have been equally impressed by the variety on offer and by the consistent quality of Edstrom’s arrangements. Here’s my review…

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Leon McCawley: Haydn Sonatas

RECORDING OF THE MONTH • by ANDREW EALES
Showcasing an inspiring recent piano recording.


Artist photo: Anna Paik

Haydn’s Piano Sonatas (he composed more than 50, but academics lack certainty about the provenance of some) must be of all the great bodies of “core repertoire” still one of the least programmed. Respected by all but advanced by fewer, the Sonatas perhaps suffer from being perceived as too intimate for larger concert halls, too athletically lacklustre for the endless competition circuit, and thus difficult to market.

Whatever the justification for this neglect, the Sonatas have fared better on disc. In particular, John McCabe’s celebrated complete survey for Decca in the 1970’s has long been, for me at least, not simply a benchmark interpretation but one of my most treasured piano boxed sets.

There have been some fine recordings of Haydn in more recent years, too, notably from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Yevgeny Sudbin and Paul Lewis, but none so far that have compelled me to loosen my grip on my beloved McCabe set. Until now.

SOMM have just released the fourth volume in British pianist Leon McCawley’s ongoing cycle, and in my view it is shaping up to be a new milestone, The One to go for in this increasingly populated field…

Continue reading Leon McCawley: Haydn Sonatas

Welcome to Pianodao…

the piano education website of ANDREW EALES

Pianodao is a leading blog and review site for piano enthusiasts, players, teachers and students. The site includes over 600 free articles to encourage, support and inform readers worldwide.

Andrew is a widely respected teacher and pianist, published composer and writer based in Milton Keynes. He provides lessons and mentoring online and in person at his studio, via video submission and monthly subscription.


The Beethoven Sonatas: Where to Start?

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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In this review I will be looking at two recent volumes from publisher Henle Verlag which between them offer an excellent introduction to Beethoven’s 35 Piano Sonatas, in a superb new edition edited by Norbert Gertsch and concert pianist Murray Perahia.

The two volumes are:

  • Five Easy Piano Sonatas, Henle 1391
  • Five Famous Piano Sonatas, Henle 1392
Continue reading The Beethoven Sonatas: Where to Start?

Koželuch: Six Easy Sonatas

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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“By 1790, ‘without question the living composer most loved by young and old’ was not Haydn or Mozart but Leopold Koželuch.”

So writes Christopher Hogwood (quoting from Ernst Ludwig Gerber’s Historisch-Biographisches Lexicon der Tonkünstler, Leipzig, 1790) in his deftly compelling introduction to Bärenreiter’s new score Koželuch: Six Easy Sonatas, BA 11565.

This opening claim is not the only surprise in this excellent new publication, which is surely an essential purchase for anyone teaching intermediate pianists, and for players of all ages at this level. So let’s find out more…

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Adventures & Accolades

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
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Composer James Welburn (whose Musical Escapades collection I reviewed here, and his Reflections in Waltz right here) continues to impress with his latest publication.

Written “for the aspiring virtuoso, this new addition to Welburn’s catalogue is alliteratively titled Adventures & Accolades. Comprising 14 short pieces, the collection is once again brought to us by the ever-brilliant Editions Musica Ferrum, while the recordings of the pieces are available on the composer’s website, or here:

In common with Welburn’s previous two publications, the music is suitable for intermediate players, although the pieces here are shorter than in his earlier collections, and have a wider variety of style, tending perceptibly towards the more jazzy.

To find out more, read on…

Continue reading Adventures & Accolades