Pianodao Music Library: Top Highlights of 2021

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


By my tally, I have reviewed 152 sheet music and educational publications on Pianodao in 2021, including all those appearing individually or in sets. No wonder it’s time to sort out my music cupboard again!

But which were my absolute favourites? And which will I continue using in 2022 and beyond?

Here, without further ado, are my top three choices from each category within the ever-growing Pianodao Music Library.

To read my in-depth evaluations of each publication selected, simply click on the titles to open the full reviews.

Continue reading Pianodao Music Library: Top Highlights of 2021

Greater in Major, Finer in Minor

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


Early in my piano teaching career I discovered The Keyboard Crocodile, a colourful publication from Breitkopf & Hārtel offering a delicious collection of 37 Easy Piano Pieces for Children.

Suitable for elementary players, The Keyboard Crocodile fast-tracks young players from around UK Prep Test to post Grade 2 seemingly in a few blinks of the eye, presenting rapidly more difficult pieces as though they are easy, and inspiring a level of practice that is uncommon at that level. It’s quite simply a classic of the pedagogy repertoire.

Over subsequent decades, Breitkopf have steadily grown their Pädagogik imprint to include a delightful range of other characters and collections, often with an emphasis on creative education. And now the editors of The Keyboard Crocodile have delved into music history’s treasure chest of piano literature and come up with 33 gems in minor keys, Toll in Moll (Finer in Minor) and another 33 in major keys, Toll in Dur (Greater in Major).

These two collections are quite simply stunning, perhaps the most superbly presented intermediate collections I have ever seen, and suitable for all ages.

They are available separately, or as the discounted pack of both together, shown above and reviewed here. The wide range of music included (all listed below) is suitable for intermediate players from around UK Grades 3-6. And there’s enough consistently good repertoire here to keep players going for quite some time!

It must be noted however that these are luxury publications which come with a premium price tag; I will explain later in the review why I think many should and will still be very tempted…

Continue reading Greater in Major, Finer in Minor

Eusebius Mandyczewski: Little Cadences, Canons and Preludes

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


The name Eusebius Mandyczewski may be new to you, so let me start this review by telling you a little bit about him…

Mandyczewski (1857-1929) was a Romanian musicologist, composer and conductor. From 1887 to 1929, he was the archivist and librarian of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. He concurrently taught music history and counterpoint at the Conservatory of the Musikfreunde, where his students included Hans Gál, Gerge Szell and Karl Böhm.

As a composer, Mandyczewski fell into oblivion, having never quite achieved a decisive breakthrough despite writing several choral works, as well as two sets of piano variations, several song cycles and other vocal works published in his lifetime.

As a music editor he achieved enduring longevity however, producing a complete Schubert Edition and (with Gál) a complete edition of the works of Brahms, with whom he had enjoyed a close friendship over many years.

I have previously reviewed Mandyczewski’s benchmark edition of Brahms Complete Piano Works, and the same publisher now brings us the First Edition of his newly resurrected Little Cadences, Canons and Preludes for Pianoforte, dating from 1916, and first performed in public on September 2nd, 2018.

It’s an intriguing collection…

Continue reading Eusebius Mandyczewski: Little Cadences, Canons and Preludes

Nicola Campogrande: ‘Nudo’

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


In addition to their recent new editions and reissues of the music by Brahms and Busch, Breitkopf & Härtel continue to bring us fresh and brilliant new concert works.

Nicola Campogrande (b.1969, Turin, Italy) is one of today’s most exciting classical composers; his music has been performed around the world by such luminaries as Gauthier Capuçon and Lilya Zilberstein, with glowing praise from audiences and critics alike. Campogrande’s compositions have also been featured on more than 30 CD recordings from a variety of labels.

Since 2017, Campogrande has published exclusively with Breitkopf, and an early fruit of their partnership is the recent publication of a solo piano concert work intriguingly titled Nudo.

Let’s take a peek…

Continue reading Nicola Campogrande: ‘Nudo’

Breitkopf’s Brahms and Busch

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


Celebrating their 300th Anniversary in 2019, august publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel reissued several heritage editions alongside their typically exciting new publications.

I have recently reviewed their edition of Joachim Raff’s Piano Sonatas and reissue of Clara Schumann’s celebrated edition of her late husband Robert Schumann’s complete piano works, with fingering by Wilhelm Kempff.

Now I’m looking at their reissued Complete Piano Works of Johannes Brahms, drawn from the Urtext of the Brahms Complete Edition issued by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreund, Vienna: this is the famous edition prepared by Brahms’ close personal friend Eusebius Mandyczewski (1857-1929).

And, breaking newer ground, I’ll also discuss Jakob Fichert’s new urtext edition of Adolf Busch’s (1891-1952) Piano Sonata in C minor Op.25.

Continue reading Breitkopf’s Brahms and Busch

The Greatest Schumann?

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


In a grand publishing milestone, Breitkopf & Härtel have reissued in seven volumes Robert Schumann’s complete piano works in the edition prepared by his widow Clara Schumann, and later updated with additional fingerings by the legendary pianist Wilhelm Kempff

Let’s dig straight into the fascinating history of this one ….

Continue reading The Greatest Schumann?

Joachim Raff’s Piano Sonatas

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


At the peak of his success in the 1870’s, Joachim Raff (1822-1882) was one of the most celebrated composers in the world, his eleven symphonies popular in concert halls across Europe and beyond, his marvellous body of solo and four-hand piano music a staple of the repertoire.

And yet, but the time of his death a few years later, his star was already in decline, his fall from fashion remarkably rapid. His music languished largely unperformed through the twentieth century, and is only now being properly reappraised, enjoying something of a revival.

Of Raff’s 216 works with opus numbers, 117 are works for piano solo, 54 for four-handed piano, and 23 piano arrangements of works by other composers. Concert pianist Tra Nguyen has led the charge to rediscover some of this extraordinary music, her stunning recordings revealing the quality of Raff’s writing and once again elevating him to a position alongside Brahms and his contemporaries.

Nguyen’s recordings for Naxos’s Grand Piano label are available to stream via the major platforms, and can be bought as a budget 6CD set from Amazon UK here. They are well worth exploring!

Introducing his new scholarly urtext edition of Raff’s three Piano Sonatas, recently published by Edition Breitkopf, Ulrich Mahlert suggests:

“It was precisely the enormous scope of Raff’s creativity that was one of the reasons why his works were not paid so much attention, because a differentiated engagement with so many compositions is time-consuming. The disregard of abundance went along with generalised, stereotypically repeated negative judgments, obscuring the view or even preventing dealing with Raff’s music at all. Thus, an unfortunate cycle of ignorance emerged which we hope that the present edition can help overcome.”

With that goal in mind, let’s consider Mahlert’s new edition of the Piano Sonatas.

Continue reading Joachim Raff’s Piano Sonatas

Small Hand Piano

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


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…

Continue reading Small Hand Piano

Piano Exotico, Tranquillo & Vivace!

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


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!

8 Great Piano Duet Books

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES
Learn More • BOOK A LESSONVIDEO FEEDBACK


The Piano Duet is a musical genre that I have explored too little with my students in the past, so a few years ago I decided to stock up on a few duet books.

Finding excellent material for more advanced students was easy enough, given the wonderful works for “One Piano Four Hands” by such classical greats as Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Debussy, Poulenc et al. But finding good material for beginners and intermediate players proved far more difficult.

Fast forward to 2016 and that gap in the market has been addressed by a succession of simply great publications over the last few years. Here is my selection of some of the best, which I hope you will go ahead and explore for yourselves!

Continue reading 8 Great Piano Duet Books