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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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…

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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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Christmas Songs & Standards: Jazz Piano Solo

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Last Christmas, I brought you my review of the superb jazz piano collection Jazz Piano Solos: Christmas Classics, a stunner of a publication about which I concluded:

“This book is an easy recommendation to any advanced player who has ever fancied playing popular Christmas music in an enjoyable lounge jazz style. I think that’s a lot of people, spicily catered for here, so this deserves to be hugely popular!”

In that review I also noted that there were two previous titles in Hal Leonard’s consistently brilliant Jazz Piano Solos series awaiting copyright clearance for UK release, so it’s with seasonal cheer that I can confirm both those titles are now also available, and the subject of this review.

Again the work of the impressively prolific talent known as Brent Edstrom, it’s no surprise that they are both simply superb. Read on to find out more…

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Christmas Classics: Jazz Piano Solos

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Any advanced player with a penchant for jazz and looking for fresh festive fare this holiday season would do well to check out the newly published Christmas Classics, which appears as volume 61 in the Hal Leonard Jazz Piano Solos series and delivers 24 selections arranged by Brent Edstrom.

Since its recent arrival I have been playing my way through these tunes, and have been equally impressed by the variety on offer and by the consistent quality of Edstrom’s arrangements. Here’s my review…

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The John Rutter Christmas Piano Album

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In my review here of the John Rutter Piano Album a few months ago, I noted in my conclusion:

“Having produced such sumptuous and elevating transcriptions of eight non-seasonal songs, is it too much to hope that Rutter will return soon with a collection of his most beloved seasonal favourites?”

Well, I’m thrilled to let you know that Rutter is indeed back with a volume of eight choice Christmas classics neatly transcribed for solo piano. So let’s jump straight in…

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Peaceful Christmas Piano Solos

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Peaceful Christmas Piano Solos from Hal Leonard offers a collection of 30 seasonal pieces arranged for solo piano. Stick with me to find out what’s included… and whether it’s any good!

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Jazz on a Winter’s Night

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Jazz music and Christmas have a beautifully nostalgic association for many, and it’s no surprise that jazz pianist Nikki Iles’ Jazz on a Winter’s Night has been such a huge success since its 2009 publication.

Jazz on a Winter’s Night proved to be a milestone publication that spawned three outstanding sequels in Jazz in Springtime, Jazz on a Summer’s Day and Jazz in Autumn, each including a selection of seasonally themed jazz standards and originals composed by Nikki herself.

I was thrilled to recently notice that Oxford University Press have now brought out a second collection of Christmas classics arranged by Nikki in a range of jazz styles that once again pay homage to legendary jazz musicians.

In this review I will recap what makes the original book such a classic must-have for every advanced pianist before taking a closer look at its excellent new sequel…

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Christmas Carols with a Classical Flair

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Phillip Keveren has established a formidable reputation as an outstanding arranger with his Phillip Keveren Series, numbering nearly 100 titles published worldwide by Hal Leonard.

Ranging from Gospel music, hymns and worship songs to contemporary popular artists such as Coldplay, Queen and Billy Joel, and with plenty of music from films and stage thrown in, these beautifully presented “Piano Solo” collections offer arrangements suitable for the late intermediate player, while there’s also a selection of “Easy Piano” titles aimed at elementary players.

The Phillip Keveren Series already includes several Seasonal titles, such as A Celtic Christmas, Yuletide Jazz, and for “easy piano”, Santa Swings.

For 2019, Keveren brings us another seasonal newcomer to the series, Christmas Carols with a Classical Flair, so let’s see whether he has again struck gold…

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