Ola Gjeilo: Dawn

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Ola Gjeilo’s Night was not just one of the most comforting CD releases of 2020, but in its sheet music form (reviewed here) became one to the most poplar contemporary piano collections that I have taught to my students, rivalling and generally besting the music of Einaudi and the other best-selling artists dominating the new classical space.

Now, Norwegian composer Gjeilo is back with an equally superb sequel, and it is appropriately titled Dawn. The CD version appeared back in the autumn. The sheet music publication arrived today, and having played through the pieces I want to waste no time before bringing you my recommendation…

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Edition Peters’ Graded Anthologies 2023-24

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A couple of years ago, I reviewed Edition Peters’ Grade 8 Piano Anthology, concluding:

“Edition Peters’ Grade 8 Piano Anthology is now the clear first choice publication for those who wish to delve into the Grade 8 syllabus choices with the intelligent curiosity and enthusiasm that I would hope for in players at this level.”

You can (and, to fully understand the background of the new publications, probably should) read that review here.

With the advent of ABRSM’s 2023-24 Piano Syllabus (reviewed here), Edition Peters are back with a new set of publications which expand on their previous effort in two important ways:

  • this time, there are collections for Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8
  • in each volume, Edition Peters include a few own choice pieces in addition to the highlights of the published syllabus

Edition Peters would thus seem to have a more ambitious vision for this series, making it an ever more intriguing proposition.



Some will see these books are alternatives to ABRSM’s official syllabus publications, while others will welcome them as hugely useful supplements that present a wider range of alternative piece selections.

In this review, I will offer a side-by-side comparison, listing the included repertoire so that readers can make an informed choice about which to buy, or indeed whether to purchase both…

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Faber Music Ballads Piano Anthology

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The latest bumper publication to join the popular Faber Music Piano Anthology series focusses on pop ballads in solo piano arrangements suitable for advanced players.

As ever, the 176-page collection arrives wrapped in a classy, high quality thick matt card cover, with a sturdy but (in mine and my students experience) flexible spine that can both stand the test of time and lie flat on the music stand with minimal persuasion.

A lot of adults bring these books to my studio and consistently love them. Whether purchased as a gift book for a pianist friend or for your own study and enjoyment, any of the Faber Music Piano Anthologies is a top choice. With titles to suit all. including Soundtracks, Jazz, Contemporary and Christmas, you can explore the series here.

So let’s consider the latest addition…

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My First Schubert: Easiest Pieces

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Schott Music’s My First Composers collections continue to prove one of the most quirkily enjoyable series of recent years.

With their combination of covers that resemble childrens’ storybooks and content that includes music up to Grade 8 and beyond, they equally suit child prodigies and older players with a self-deprecating sense of fun.

I have previously been very impressed with My First Beethoven (reviewed here), Haydn (here), Schumann (here) and Tchaikovsky (here). Each of these publications delivers a generous mixture of classics and lesser-known pieces, beautifully presented within (and on cream paper) and freshly edited by Wilhelm Ohmen.

The latest addition to the series is devoted to the music of Franz Schubert, delivering 37 solo pieces and 10 duets, and seems to me another immediate winner…

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Fauré • Pavane Op.50

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The Pavane Op.50 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) is blessed with one of the most delectable and beloved melodies ever composed, and was from the start one of its composer’s most popular works, exuding the spirit of Paris’s fêtes galantes at the turn of the century.

The piece was originally composed for orchestra in 1887, described by Fauré at the time as “carefully crafted but not otherwise important”. Before the end of the year, there followed a version for chorus and orchestra. Some three decades later, the iconic impresario Serge Diaghilev had it choreographed for his Ballets Russes, a sign of its continuing great popularity.

Many transcriptions of the Pavane have existed, including the solo piano version published in 1889 (the composer’s duet version was also advertised, but if it ever appeared it has sadly been lost).

Many simplified versions have and continue to appear, but for those wanting to explore the original version (most likely prepared by Fauré himself, who performed it several times and even recorded it for player piano), Bärenreiter have just issued a superb urtext edition, BA 11832, the subject of this short review…

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The Piano Player: Wintertide Collection

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In a busy year for music publishers, Faber Music’s new series The Piano Player has quickly established itself as a distinctive and enjoyable new imprint.

Introducing the first title in the series, a stirring collection of British Classics released in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, I wrote,

“Aimed at intermediate players of all ages (and I suspect with a particular eye on the adult market), these look set to be a lovely collection of repertoire books.”

A second title, Classical Favourites, quickly followed (reviewed here), and hot on its heels we now have a third. Ready for the run up to Christmas, Wintertide Collection offers “A seasonal selection of 20 wintry pieces”

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The Christmas Shortlist

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The Pianodao Music Library includes a wide range of seasonally-themed piano publications to suit all tastes and levels of playing. Keeping track of it all, especially as new publications appear from one year to the next, isn’t easy. Wouldn’t it be good to have a simple list of it all? Well, here it is…

The Christmas Shortlist opens the door to this wealth of wonderful music, bringing together links to all of this site’s reviews of seasonal repertoire in one place, guided by level.

Best of all, the list automatically updates whenever new titles are added, so you can come back year after year. Remember to bookmark this page for future reference!

And don’t forget that Pianodao Tea Room members receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for these and all sheet music publications.

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Christmas • Peaceful Piano Playlist

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Every year, a flurry of new Christmas piano books arrive before the first snowfall, and this year is proving no exception.

Fresh from Faber, the Peaceful Piano Playlist: Christmas book sets the bar high, both in terms of content and presentation. The publication offers,

“A specially curated relaxing playlist of festive piano solos for the intermediate player”,

…and follows on from the popular Peaceful Piano Playlist publication which I reviewed here back in 2019.

Read on for the list of included pieces, and of course for the full review…

Continue reading Christmas • Peaceful Piano Playlist

Jazz It Up! Christmas

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Piano players at early advanced level enthusiastic for a more jazzy take on evergreen Christmas favourites have never been better served, with several choices among my recent reviews to choose from.

Alongside these, they will likely lap up Eric Baumgartner’s brilliant Jazz It Up! Christmas, now in its second edition, and offering twelve ingenious solo arrangements in a variety of accessible grooves.


Twelve, you say? Well yes: the first edition of the book appeared in 2000 and included six pieces; that number doubled to twelve with the publication of the second edition in 2020, the subject of this mini review…

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Donald Thomson’s Winter Piano Music

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Scottish composer Donald Thomson is perhaps best known for his series of Celtic Piano Music collections for intermediate pianists, the omnibus edition of which I have reviewed here.

I have also been impressed with his enjoyable Halloween Piano Tunes collection for elementary players, which I reviewed here recently.

Now Thomson is back with Winter Piano Music, a new collection that is once again published by EVC Music. This time he has written for the more advanced player, delivering five compositions and arrangements which are surely destined to become seasonal concert favourites…

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