Capturing the Season

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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As autumn nears its end, the thoughts of musicians everywhere are no doubt turning to the coming season, likely to be a musically rich one for many.

Piano players and teachers are always on the look out for fresh material, and I’m happy to remind you of two excellent collections co-written by composers Alison Mathews and Barbara Arens, Capturing the Joy of Winter, and Capturing the Spirit of Christmas.

Both were positively reviewed here when they appeared in 2016 and 2017 respectively, and it’s high time to consolidate my thoughts into a single review. So here goes…

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Small Hand Piano

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Small Hand Piano is the latest in Barbara Arens’ series of publications from Edition Breitkopf, following on from the successful One Hand Piano, 21 Amazingly Easy Pieces (read my review here), Piano Misterioso (reviewed here), Piano Vivace – Piano Tranquillo and Piano Exotico (all reviewed here).

Small Hand Piano is also (ironically) the largest of these collections, providing 40 Pieces “without octaves”, half of which are original compositions, the rest selected from the existing literature.

I often hear players mention online that their stretch is too small for a lot of the repertoire they would prefer to play, so this publication certainly has the potential to be something of a crowd-pleaser.

Let’s take a look and see how well it succeeds in fulfilling this useful aim…

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Barbara Arens in Conversation

Barbara Arens will be known to most Pianodao readers as an excellent and prolific educational composer – I have previously reviewed several collections of her music, and most recently the Piano Exotico and Piano Tranquillo/Vivace collections published by Breitkopf & Härtel.

Around the time I was writing that review, I heard from Barbara that she was publishing a further five books via her own Editions Rensakov publishing on Amazon.

I decided it was about time I caught up with Barbara for a chat about all this fresh activity!…

Continue reading Barbara Arens in Conversation

Piano Exotico, Tranquillo & Vivace!

Sheet Music Review

The indomitable and much-loved Barbara Arens has recently added two new titles to her Breitkopf & Hārtel catalogue, which already includes One Hand Piano, 21 Amazingly Easy Pieces and Piano Misterioso.

I will look at the double-barrelled Piano Tranquillo/Vivace later in the review, but first let’s take a look at the latest edition to the series, the marvellous Piano Exotico

Continue reading Piano Exotico, Tranquillo & Vivace!

Rendezvous with Midnight

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Regular readers here may remember the positive reviews that I have given to composer Barbara Arens’ recent publications 21 Amazingly Easy Pieces and Piano Misterioso.

It now gives me pleasure to be the first to review her latest publication Rendezvous with Midnight, brought to us by independent publisher Editions Musica Ferrum.

I first heard about this collection several months ago, at which point Barbara was still looking for a publisher for it. So when I learnt that she had teamed up with Musica Ferrum I was delighted. And even more so now that the results are in my hand: a genuinely brilliant publication.

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“Piano Misterioso” – Barbara Arens

Sheet Music Review

In my review of Barbara Arens’ ’21 Amazingly Easy Pieces’ last month I concluded:

“The partnership between composer and publisher has clearly worked brilliantly here, and the resulting book is quite simply a delight. Let’s hope for more to come!”

I’m therefore particularly happy to be reviewing the follow up ‘Piano Misterioso’, especially as all the praise offered in my previous review equally applies here.

It is clear that publishers Breitkopf & Härtel have again given their full professional attention to editorial detail, beautifully presenting Barbara’s latest pieces with class and distinction.

Continue reading “Piano Misterioso” – Barbara Arens

21 Amazingly Easy Pieces

Repertoire: Elementary

21 Amazingly Easy Pieces is an original collection of new pieces  by Barbara Arens, published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 2014, which has recently come to my attention – and I am seriously impressed with it.

Composer Barbara Arens is a passionately dedicated piano teacher. She began her studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg at the age of 13. After a concert career performing primarily as harpsichordist and organist, she now puts her diverse abilities and experiences into composing for her piano
pupils. She presently lives near Würzburg, Germany, after living in Beirut, Dallas, San Francisco, Singapore, Salzburg, London and Munich.

Knowing that Barbara has such extensive experience – of performing, of teaching, and of the world – gave me high hopes for these books, and I was not disappointed.

Continue reading 21 Amazingly Easy Pieces