Andrew Eales: Fresh Air

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


I am delighted to announce that my composition Fresh Air has been selected and licensed by ABRSM for inclusion in their 2023-24 Grade 1 Piano Exam Pieces book.

The piece was originally composed for and published in the 2018 Editions Musica Ferrum collection Mosaic 1.

The composition is a gentle tune which I wrote in my head while walking in the local park with my dog Bella one lovely spring morning. The chords I’ve used mostly lack their bass note, giving a sense of weightlessness, as if floating in calm blue skies.

Here’s my recording of the piece, followed by my practice tips…

Continue reading Andrew Eales: Fresh Air

The Mosaic Series

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Mosaic is a series currently comprising four music books, each showcasing fresh and varied repertoire newly commissioned and composed by piano educators from around the world.

The pieces are loosely graded, arranged in order of difficulty, compiled as books suitable for elementary, intermediate and advanced players, and published by Editions Musica Ferrum. A fifth book (reaching towards Grade 8 level) is currently planned.

I am honoured to be one of the composers featured in all four books, alongside such well-established names as Barbara Arens, Ben Crosland, June Armstrong and others.

The collections are a natural addition to the Pianodao Music Library, and while I obviously cannot ‘review’ them in quite the usual way, this article will introduce the series with an overview of the concept, several recordings, and hopefully sufficient information for readers to decide whether to take a closer look.

Continue reading The Mosaic Series

Happy Birthday, Musica Ferrum!

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Independent music publisher Editions Musica Ferrum launched ten years ago, and as we celebrate the anniversary this week I am happy to share this interview which I recently conducted with EMF founder and owner Nikolas Sideris.

The interview covers the Musica Ferrum story so far, with many fascinating insights. The interview also appears as a YouTube video at the end of this post, following a transcript of the major points…

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Musica Ferrum!

Josh Winiberg: Change

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


UK-based composer Josh Winiberg’s album Change was released back in 2018, delivering ten tracks of contemporary music in the vein of the hugely popular Ludovico Einaudi, who Winiberg respects and acknowledges as an important influence.

Winiberg’s ten compositions were originally recorded with piano, string quintet, guitars and electronics. It is a measure of the popularity of the recording and the quality of its music that a solo transcription for piano has now been published by Editions Musica Ferrum, the subject of this review.

Continue reading Josh Winiberg: Change

Adventures & Accolades

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Composer James Welburn (whose Musical Escapades collection I reviewed here, and his Reflections in Waltz right here) continues to impress with his latest publication.

Written “for the aspiring virtuoso, this new addition to Welburn’s catalogue is alliteratively titled Adventures & Accolades. Comprising 14 short pieces, the collection is once again brought to us by the ever-brilliant Editions Musica Ferrum, while the recordings of the pieces are available on the composer’s website, or here:


In common with Welburn’s previous two publications, the music is suitable for intermediate players, although the pieces here are shorter than in his earlier collections, and have a wider variety of style, tending perceptibly towards the more jazzy.

Continue reading Adventures & Accolades

Garreth Brooke: Apart, Together

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of EDITIONS MUSICA FERRUM


The latest promotional FREE sheet music download exclusive for Pianodao readers is by composer Garreth Brooke: the wonderful Apart, Together from a forthcoming collection to be published by Editions Musica Ferrum next year.

Garreth’s recording of the piece has already been streamed more than 20,000 times on Spotify. Intermediate players and their teachers certainly won’t want to miss this!

Continue reading Garreth Brooke: Apart, Together

The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Intermediate Piano Music

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


The Christmas season is accompanied by a uniquely popular and significant body of music spanning multiple genres, and it’s no wonder that there are so many varied piano collections to choose from, whatever your level.

Once again this year, here is the updated and expanded Pianodao shortlist of the best seasonal piano sheet music, including a mix of new releases and classic favourites!

The 2021 Pianodao shortlist continues with music collections aimed at INTERMEDIATE players (around UK Grade 3-5)…

You will find the Pianodao 2021 Christmas Shortlists for other levels here:


And as ever, remember that Pianodao Tea Room members will receive a 20% discount from Musicroom for any of the publications included below.

Continue reading The Christmas 2021 Shortlist: Intermediate Piano Music

FREE! James Welburn: Cool Cat Blues

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of EDITIONS MUSICA FERRUM


James Welburn has produced two collections of original music for Musica Ferrum which I have previously reviewed: Reflections in Waltz and Musical Escapades, both highly enjoyable.

Cool Cat Blues comes from his hotly anticipated and soon to be released third collection Adventures & Accolades.

I will review the collection once it’s available, but in the meantime here’s a preview of Cool Cat Blues, an astutely observed jazz piece for the intermediate player; those looking for fresh material that will get their toes tapping are in for a treat!


And here’s your free promotional copy of the sheet music to this piece, courtesy of Editions Musica Ferrum:


Further details of the book, including the option of purchasing a digital copy or studio license, are available from the publisher here.


PIANODAO TEA ROOM members receive 20% DISCOUNT on
all sheet music purchases from MUSICROOM • FIND OUT MORE

All products featured on Pianodao are independently selected by Andrew Eales.
However, when you buy something through the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, without affecting the price you pay.

Learn more • Andrew’s essential guide to practice is packed with tips to help you go further on your piano journey. Find out more:



PIANODAO includes more than 600 articles and reviews,
which are free for everyone, everywhere to access and read.
Please support the site by making a small contribution.



FREE! Christine Artemis Pappa: Baby Rag

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of EDITIONS MUSICA FERRUM


Baby Rag is a riot of fun, and comes from the colourfully varied early intermediate collection Mosaic 3, recently published by Musica Ferrum as part of this growing, progressive series.

Christine Artemis Pappa points out in her introduction to the piece that the stride left hand leaps and right hand sixths could prove challenging for some, but I think any player by around Grade 4 will be able to have lots of fun playing this jauntily syncopated and memorably melodic skit. Note that quaver/eighth notes here are meant to be swung.

You can catch a few bars of this piece in this promotional video, which also reveals the range and character of the Mosaic 3 book:


The Mosaic series is available from Musicroom here, and digital copies and site licenses are as ever available directly from Musica Ferrum here.

Here’s your FREE sheet music download of Baby Rag to enjoy:



PIANODAO TEA ROOM members receive 20% DISCOUNT on
all sheet music purchases from MUSICROOM • FIND OUT MORE

All products featured on Pianodao are independently selected by Andrew Eales.
However, when you buy something through the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, without affecting the price you pay.

Learn more • Andrew’s essential guide to practice is packed with tips to help you go further on your piano journey. Find out more:



PIANODAO includes more than 600 articles and reviews,
which are free for everyone, everywhere to access and read.
Please support the site by making a small contribution.



FREE! Borislava Taneva: Autumn Mood

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of EDITIONS MUSICA FERRUM


Autumn Mood is one of the many expressive, evocative pieces to be found in Borislava’s magnificent pair of books Riddles, Puzzles and Pieces, which I recently reviewed here.

The complete books make an excellent purchase for any creative piano teacher and their students looking to enlarge their library of superb music, and Autumn Mood straight away confirms the calibre of Taneva’s brilliant writing.

Suitable for late elementary (Grade 2) to Early Intermediate (Grade 3) player, the composer tells us that the educational goal of Autumn Mood is the improvement of legato technique and the crossing of the hands.

I would add that the delicious harmonies found here will work their magic on the developing ear, helping the early intermediate player absorb exquisite chromaticism and learn to hear the directional pull within a chord.

Riddles, Puzzles and Plays is available from Musicroom here and as a digital download or studio license from the publisher here.

In the meantime, it’s time to get into an Autumn Mood



PIANODAO TEA ROOM members receive 20% DISCOUNT on
all sheet music purchases from MUSICROOM • FIND OUT MORE

All products featured on Pianodao are independently selected by Andrew Eales.
However, when you buy something through the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, without affecting the price you pay.

Learn more • Andrew’s essential guide to practice is packed with tips to help you go further on your piano journey. Find out more:



PIANODAO includes more than 600 articles and reviews,
which are free for everyone, everywhere to access and read.
Please support the site by making a small contribution.



FREE! Alison Mathews: Whispering Breeze

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of EDITIONS MUSICA FERRUM


Whispering Breeze is drawn from Alison Mathews 2019 publication Landscapes: Poetic Piano Solos, which I reviewed here when it was published.

Landscapes is available from Musicroom here, or as a digital copy or site license from the publisher’s website here.

Whispering Breeze is one of the easiest pieces in the collection, and could be attempted by an intermediate player at around UK Grade 3.

The beautifully meandering but memorable melody here enjoys a gently mesmerising syncopation which you will easily pick up after listening to the composer’s recording:




PIANODAO TEA ROOM members receive 20% DISCOUNT on
all sheet music purchases from MUSICROOM • FIND OUT MORE

All products featured on Pianodao are independently selected by Andrew Eales.
However, when you buy something through the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, without affecting the price you pay.

Learn more • Andrew’s essential guide to practice is packed with tips to help you go further on your piano journey. Find out more:



PIANODAO includes more than 600 articles and reviews,
which are free for everyone, everywhere to access and read.
Please support the site by making a small contribution.



FREE! Ben Crosland: Memento

FREE SHEET MUSIC DOWNLOAD
Courtesy of EDITIONS MUSICA FERRUM


Memento is a taken from the latest album of fresh, original music by British composer Ben Crosland, which is available here in physical form, and as a digital download from the publisher here. The collection will be reviewed on Pianodao soon.

Originally written for “felt piano”, the music weaves its gentle magic with a 12/8 left hand figuration that benefits from a large hand span and requires supple wrist movement. The nostalgic melodies of the right hand above this deft harmonic base will enchant player and listener alike.

Suitable for players at around Grade 4 level.


PIANODAO TEA ROOM members receive 20% DISCOUNT on
all sheet music purchases from MUSICROOM • FIND OUT MORE

All products featured on Pianodao are independently selected by Andrew Eales.
However, when you buy something through the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, without affecting the price you pay.

Learn more • Andrew’s essential guide to practice is packed with tips to help you go further on your piano journey. Find out more:



PIANODAO includes more than 600 articles and reviews,
which are free for everyone, everywhere to access and read.
Please support the site by making a small contribution.



Borislava Taneva: Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


The brilliantly inventive music of Bulgarian pianist and composer Borislava Taneva has steadily become one of the jewels of the Editions Musica Ferrum catalogue.

Taneva’s music appears in all three Mosaic books (which I have featured here and will revisit as the series continues to grow), and she has three titles of her own: Sound Stories (2016), and two volumes entitled Riddles, Puzzles and Plays.

Taneva’s music is strikingly creative, and the seam of pedagogy running though it is not simply good: it’s truly inspiring. So read on for a full review and overview…

Continue reading Borislava Taneva: Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

Simon Hester: Scenes from the Movies

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


When I reviewed Simon Hesters Megabytes from Editions Musica Ferrum a couple of years back, I was immensely impressed with his music, concluding that it was,

“…an absolutely brilliant and hugely creative collection: strongly recommended!”

Hester has a new collection available, again published by Musica Ferrum.

Scenes from the Movies delivers 8 new pieces suitable for advanced players (UK Grades 6-8), inspired by classic cinema.


Let’s find out whether it has “box office hit” written all over it…

Continue reading Simon Hester: Scenes from the Movies

Markus Schimpp: Yearning for Silence

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Markus Schimpp’s recording Yearning for Silence, which was released on the NEOS Music label in 2019, is one of the more interesting albums of original piano music from recent years, melding the post-minimal simplicity of Einaudi with the more advanced (and at times dissonant) harmonic language of the 20th century’s modernist classical composers.

Happily, his full transcriptions of these “33 Approximations of Silence” have recently also been published by the ever-wonderful Editions Musica Ferrum, their sheet music book the subject of this review.

Suitable for early advanced players (the easiest pieces here are around UK Grade 3, but most are closer to Grade 6), I believe this collection will be a superb discovery for many readers, and is certainly my pick of the recent bunch of inventive and evocative miniatures for players at this level.

Let’s take a look, and a listen…

Continue reading Markus Schimpp: Yearning for Silence

250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven

Just in time for the 250th anniversary of the birth Beethoven (1770-1827), Editions Musica Ferrum have published the tenth and final volume in their series 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, surely one of the most ambitious musical projects of recent years.

In this article I will offer an overview and brief review of the ten volumes before including a short interview with Musica Ferrum founder Nikolas Sideris…

Continue reading 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven

Garreth Broke: Healing

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Garreth Brooke is a talented English composer currently living and working in Germany. In addition to sharing his inspiring story here, he has previously talked to me about his excellent Upright Editions initiative in an interview here.

Garreth has been publishing recordings of his music on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and elsewhere for several years, gaining an appreciative audience drawn to the new-classical style and emotive qualities of his writing and playing.

In this review, it’s my pleasure to review the most recent publication of Garreth’s music, appearing under his alias Garreth Broke: Healing and published by Editions Musica Ferrum.

Continue reading Garreth Broke: Healing

James Welburn: Reflections in Waltz

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Around this time last year I reviewed James Welburn’s Musical Escapades (you can read that review here), and was very positive about his original piano music, concluding:

“What impresses me most of all is the infectious good humour and the compelling imagination that runs throughout the whole collection…
James Welburn has with this collection made a stunning Editions Musica Ferrum debut; he is clearly a composer to watch, and among this publisher’s rich and growing catalogue, Musical Escapades becomes one of their best publications yet.”

Now Welburn is back with a new collection, once more published by Musica Ferrum. Reflections in Waltz offers seven new original pieces, again suited to players at late-intermediate level…

Continue reading James Welburn: Reflections in Waltz

Capturing the Spirit of the Season

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


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…

Continue reading Capturing the Spirit of the Season

Nikolas Sideris: Personalities

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


While the best composers often write brilliant music in response to a commission or request, the creative impetus for composing will often arise from a specific moment of inspiration, musical or conceptual.

So it is with the latest scores from Nikolas Sideris, known to many not just for his own music, which includes Fairyland in Treble and Dusk of Day, Dawn of Night, but also for his Editions Musica Ferrum independent publishing house.

Due to a change in personal circumstance, Nikolas finds himself semi-moving from London to Amsterdam, and among other things this will mean that he will no longer be teaching his 18 students in one particular school. Having grown attached to them, Nikolas decided it a fitting gift to compose a piece dedicated to each of the students.

These personal gifts were no doubt enthusiastically welcomed by their dedicatees, but I think that they deserve a far wider appeal and use. Which brings us to “Personalities, the two new solo piano collections containing these 18 pieces, now available from Musica Ferrum.

Continue reading Nikolas Sideris: Personalities

Alison Mathews: Landscapes

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Alison Mathews is a contemporary British composer whose delightful piano music has established itself as one of the highlights within the growing Editions Musica Ferrum catalogue.

I have previously given glowing reviews to her excellent Treasure Trove (for intermediate pianists, read the review) and Doodles (for elementary players, reviewed here).

Alison’s latest collection is aimed at the early advanced player. Landscapes: Poetic Piano Solos consists of 14 original compositions that would suit late intermediate players between around UK Grade 4-6 level.

Let’s take a look (and a listen!) …

Continue reading Alison Mathews: Landscapes

James Welburn’s ‘Musical Escapades’

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


The latest publication from Editions Musica Ferrum is a collection of “Animated pieces for the intermediate pianist” called Musical Escapades and composed by EMF newcomer James Welburn.

Let’s dive straight in…

Continue reading James Welburn’s ‘Musical Escapades’

Dusk of Day, Dawn of Night

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Nikolas Sideris is a composer of formidable musical intelligence and imagination who is perhaps best known for his extraordinary duet collection Fairyland in Treble.

Reviewing that collection, I concluded:

“I must say that this book stands out as being VERY special indeed. It’s truly an essential purchase.”

Fans of that duet book will undoubtedly be delighted to know that its successor, The Dusk of Day, The Dawn of Night, is now available. So let’s take a look…

Continue reading Dusk of Day, Dawn of Night

Songs from Rainbow Hill

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Composer Ben Crosland will be known to many Pianodao readers for his popular Cool Beans series of books published by Editions Musica Ferrum, the most recent and in my view best of which, Magic Beans, I reviewed here.

Ben’s latest publication from Editions Musica Ferrum is Songs from Rainbow Hill, a collection of “Lyric Pieces for Solo Piano” that ties in with his new album recording of the same name.

As such this is very different from his previous publications, taking us deeper into Ben’s own compositional world. So let’s enter …

Continue reading Songs from Rainbow Hill

Musica Ferrum’s “Mosaic”

The PIANODAO MUSIC LIBRARY
Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES


Editions Musica Ferrum have recently brought out two volumes of pieces in a new series called Mosaic, featuring original music by a dozen or so composers, organised by difficulty level and suitable for beginner to early intermediate players.

I have enjoyed the privilege of contributing to the project, with two of my own compositions included in each book so far, and more to come!

Given my involvement, I decided that instead of my standard review I would catch up with Editions Musica Ferrum founder Nikolas Sideris and chat with him about the project, explaining its vision and purpose…

Continue reading Musica Ferrum’s “Mosaic”