Boosey’s Bartók Bonanza

Sheet Music Review

Along with their outstanding new version of The First Term at the Piano – which I recently reviewed here – Bossey & Hawkes (in conjunction with Hal Leonard) have just released a couple more Bartók collections: a complete edition of For Children, and the Bartók Piano Anthology.

Here’s a look at each of these additions to the Bartók catalogue…

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Christopher Norton’s ‘Jazz Piano Sonata’

Sheet Music Review

Christopher Norton’s educational piano music – from the bestselling Microjazz series for beginner and elementary players through to his acclaimed series of Preludes Collections (the most recent of which I have reviewed here – Eastern Preludes and Pacific Preludes) his music has delighted millions of players and listeners of all ages around the world.

It’s great to be presented with a more substantial work from this ever-popular contemporary composer: the Jazz Piano Sonata follows the traditional three-movement form, and is a significant concert work for the advanced pianist.

Jazz-Piano-Sonata

Originally written for, and premiered by US pianist Jovanni-Rey de Pedro in 2013, the work has been performed in several countries already, and is now published by Christopher’s own company 80dayspublishing, courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes.

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LCM ‘In Concert’ anthology

Sheet Music Review

London College of Music Exams may be less well known to readers than the ABRSM and Trinity College London boards which I have written about previously, but that may be about to change. Certainly LCM offer a very wide range of different assessments for piano players – according to David Barton in this excellent blog post:

“I estimate that LCM offer nearly 20 different options for pianists at 15 different levels, right from the earliest stages of learning, through to the Fellowship of the London College of Music (FLCM). The range of options now available is fantastic; I feel enormously lucky to be teaching at a time when the needs of a diverse range of learners of all ages is finally being met by examination boards, led, in my view, by LCM. We live in exciting times, and it will be interesting to see what options continue to develop in the future.”

And it isn’t just in the area of examinations that LCM are looking to innovate and lead the way, but also in the area of publications…

When new Publications Officer David Duncan told me that he hopes to significantly shake up their publications, I quietly thought to myself ”thank goodness, as their previous efforts haven’t been particularly user friendly, well edited, or attractively presented.

That said, nothing prepared me for the extent and speed with which LCM Publications would reinvent itself: their new collection of selected works from their Piano Diploma syllabus has taken my breath away.

Put simply ’In Concert is an extraordinary achievement, and in a completely different league from LCM’s previous published efforts. And whether of not you are interested in LCM’s Diploma exam, this is a highly desirable new collection for players looking for interesting and diverse repertoire at this level.

Let’s take a closer look…

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Christopher Norton’s ‘Pacific Preludes’

Sheet Music Review

One of the highlights of last year, in my view, was the publication of Christopher Norton’s outstanding Eastern Preludes Collection, which I reviewed here.

Eastern Preludes continued a series of piano solo collections for the intermediate-to-advanced level pianist, which already included the best-selling Jazz PreludesCountry PreludesRock Preludes and Latin Preludes collections – so naturally I wondered what might come next.

And here it is: The Christopher Norton Pacific Preludes Collection, comprising 14 brand new compositions suitable for intermediate to advanced players (around UK Grades 6-8).

Publishers Boosey & Hawkes welcome us to:

“Embark on a voyage of discovery with this captivating collection of 14 new Pacific Preludes from the creator of Microjazz, inspired by traditional music from the shores of the world’s largest ocean.

Explore the rich and varied musical landscape of the Pacific Rim as each Prelude weaves together native themes from countries including Australia, China, Peru, New Zealand and the United States of America with Christopher Norton’s characteristically innovative popular musical styles.”

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Film Themes: The Piano Collection

Sheet Music Review

Compare weekly cinema attendance with the numbers who go to classical concerts (or any other sort, come to think of it!) and you will be left with no doubt as to why music composed for films works its magic in the hearts and minds of listeners more than any other genre.

And it is no wonder that those who take up an instrument are so quick to ask teachers if they can learn their favourite film themes.

In the case of the most popular composers and successful scores, there’s very often a tie-in publication so that fans can buy the sheet music, as was the case with the excellent La La Land score which I recently reviewed here.

But for those after an anthology of their favourite pieces, the choice is not so easy. Some publications of this kind provide poor transcriptions, while others aren’t sympathetically arranged for piano, taking account of the player’s level.

It is with real pleasure that I can therefore warmly recommend the latest piano book from Faber Music, a collection simply entitled Film Themes: The Piano Collection.

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Alan Bullard’s Preludes

Sheet Music Review

Alan Bullard will be known to many readers for his many contributions to popular educational series such as Piano Time from OUP and Piano Star from ABRSM. His Joining the Dots series of sight reading books for ABRSM and the excellent adult piano method series Pianoworks, co-written with his wife Janet, have also become well known favourites.

Alan’s latest publication is brought to us by Colne Edition, distributed by Spartan Press, and is entitled Twelve or Thirteen Preludes for Solo Piano.

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Jevdet Hajiyev: Piano Collection 1

Sheet Music Review

Ahmad Jevdet Ismail oglu Hajiyev (June 18, 1917 – January 18, 2002) was one of the major Azerbaijani composers of the Soviet period.

with-shostakovitch
Hajiyev with Shostakovitch

A student of Shostakovich, Hajiyev composed eight symphonies, three poems, the opera Veten (“Motherland”) (in collaboration with Gara Garayev), string quartets, solo piano music, choral and vocal works. He also taught at the Azerbaijan State Conservatory for more than four decades, while serving as a Rector from 1957-1969, and as Professor of Composition.

In 1997, the President of Azerbaijan bestowed upon Hajiyev the country’s highest accolade, the Azerbaijan Order of Glory, on the occasion of his 80th Jubilee, commemorating ‘60 long years of fruitful work which is highly appreciated by the nation and the State’.

To celebrate the centenary of his birth, the Muradov Family Archive has released Piano Collection book 1, with a series of concerts to be held in some of the finest concert halls around the world.

Piano Collection book 1 is brought to us via the ever-enterprising EVC Music Publications in the UK, and can be purchased from the EVC Music website here, where you can also listen to audio samples of most of the pieces (these are MIDI versions rather than performances).

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Jan Freidlin: Four Stories

Sheet Music Review

The ability to write an effective miniature for solo piano – one which is personal but idiomatic, original but accessible – remains one of the true challenges for any composer, and one that many “big names” in classical music have seemingly avoided.

Not so for composer Jan Freidlin, who succeeds not just once but four times in quick succession in his latest publication from Edition Dohr, Four Stories.

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