EVC @ the RAH

Pictured (from the left) – Andrew Eales, Elena Cobb, Lindsey Berwin and Heather Hammond.

We often hear of a decline in music education within UK state schools – and without doubt, over the last 25 years of teaching I have witnessed a steady but undeniable diminuendo in the musical life of local schools here, often despite best intentions.

How wonderful, then, to see buoyant evidence of enthusiasm for music among young people – as was most certainly and robustly the case when I attended the Elena Cobb Star Prize Event at the Elgar Room in London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall last week.

Here was a showcase of great playing delivered by young people from around the UK and beyond, each performing and clearly relishing music by a host of living writers, and in many cases in the very presence of those composers.

Continue reading EVC @ the RAH

Mike Springer: Lyrical Landscapes

Sheet Music Review

Mike Springer will be known to many readers (especially in the US) as a prolific educational composer, with many publications in print with Alfred Music (UK readers can explore his extensive catalogue here).

Lyrical Landscapes is his latest series, appearing as three collections of solo piano music composed for intermediate players.

Written in a variety of styles ranging from Romantic to contemporary, covering a variety of moods, these pieces are evocative and engaging to play, and would especially suit older and adult players at this level.

According to the composer:

Lyrical Landscapes is a collection of expressive pieces … written to provide opportunities for late elementary to late intermediate students to develop skills in projecting lyrical, melodic lines…

“From slow ballads to upbeat tempos, these pieces allow pianists the opportunity to develop a deeper musical awareness through the use of technical control, rubato, and subtle tempo changes. These pieces were composed so students not only enjoy performing the music, but grow musically along the way.”

Let’s take a closer look…

Continue reading Mike Springer: Lyrical Landscapes

Birds: Études-Tableaux

Sheet Music Review

As a reviewer I get to discover a surprising amount of great new music, but it’s predominantly at the beginner – intermediate level.

So it is particularly exciting when something arrives that is more challenging, and yet just as appealing.

Birds: Études-Tableaux is a collection of six pieces by Andrew Higgins, published by EVC Music Publications, and subtitled modern virtuoso studies.

If you’ll pardon the pun, it perfectly fits the bill!

Do read on for further twittering about these wonderful pieces …

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Martha Mier: “Jazz Suite in Color”

Sheet Music Review

Martha Mier is undoubtedly one of America’s finest educational composers.

Best-known in the UK for her Jazz, Rags & Blues and Romantic Impressions series, she is also a co-writer of the Alfred Premier Piano course (the new Express version of which I plan to review here soon) and composer of several other collections and stand-alone works.

Hot off the press, Jazz Suite in Color (don’t blame me for the spelling here!) joins Alfred Music’s growing Recital Suite Series aimed at intermediate players – in terms of the UK grades, these pieces are around Grade 4 level.

Let’s take a look…

Continue reading Martha Mier: “Jazz Suite in Color”