A ‘Call to Women Composers’

Some months ago I was approached by Rose McLachlan, a gifted pianist who is currently studying at the Royal Northern College of Music. Rose wanted to discuss an idea she was developing with EVC Music founder Elena Cobb

’22 Nocturnes for Chopin’ would be a new collection of piano miniatures written in the spirit of the great composer’s works, suitable for players at advanced level (around UK Grades 6-8), and to that end Rose and Elena would extend a “call to women composers” around the world, inviting submissions for consideration.

The eventual selection would be performed by Rose and published by EVC Music. Some half dozen pieces would be commissioned from established composers, while the rest would be previously unpublished.

Rose and Elena were keen for me to help with the selection process, and I had soon agreed to Chair the Selection Committee, which came to include the concert pianist and teacher Kathryn Page, recording artist Anna Heller, and ISM President Vick Bain.

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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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Grooves for Piano Dudes

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Heather Hammond is well established as one of the best-loved educational composers in the UK today, with more than 100 publications in print (piano and woodwind) from a variety of publishers.

The last time I took a good look at Hammond’s music was in my review of her Ballads Without Words, brought to us by EVC Music.

In this review, I’m considering a contrasting series of her music from the same publisher. Grooves for Piano Dudes currently includes three volumes of which the second and third (with a special Halloween theme) have just recently been released.

The three books are all suitable for intermediate players, and between them offer 37 fresh Hammond compositions in jazz, rock, blues and boogie styles…

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Donald Thomson’s Halloween Piano Tunes

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Having only just reviewed the Willis Music’s Halloween anthology Spooky Sounds here’s another dastardly publication, this time from EVC Music and scaring us with 19 original pieces from the excellent Donald Thomson.

I have previously praised Thomson’s Celtic Piano Music (reviewed here), and am equally enthusiastic about this collection. Let’s open it up to find out what’s lurking within…

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Paul Birchall’s Blues, Boogie, Jazz & more…

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Paul Birchall is a veteran keyboard and piano player with a career in commercial music spanning four decades of touring the world with the likes of M People, Jim Diamond, Snake Davis and Wang Chung. Now based in Manchester, he composes for TV, film, theatre, and for his own record label.

Some readers may know of Birchall’s Daily Expressions, previously published by the enterprising EVC Music. Now he’s back with a brand new publication. Blues, Boogie, Jazz & More (again from EVC Music) offers a superb mix of nine pieces in contemporary popular styles with full backing tracks, suitable for intermediate piano players…

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Nancy Litten’s Piano Postcards

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Nancy Litten has made her mark as a leading educational composer here in the UK, with string, vocal and electronic keyboard publications from Alfred Music, and enjoyable contributions to ABRSM publications such as Keyboards Together, Piano Mix and Piano Star.

Litten has recently joined the roster of composers whose music is published by EVC Music, and her debut piano solo publication has now arrived…

Piano Postcards offers 12 Recital Piano Works Inspired by Travel, suitable for intermediate players at around UK Grade 3-4 level. Let’s take a look…

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Piano Grades Are Go!

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Compared to the large quantity of music reviewed here for intermediate and advanced players, relatively few publications for elementary players make an appearance. This is perhaps in part because so much of the music written for beginning players is swallowed whole into lucrative method book series and exam resources. But there’s also no denying that it’s particularly difficult to write standout, imaginative music at this level.

Pianodao features reviews for relatively few of the publications received, in the hope of offering the clearest, well-informed and most helpful recommendations, thus saving readers time. Nothing makes it onto the site unless I would very happily use in my own teaching studio.

How wonderful, then, to introduce a brand new collection of “20 Characterful Solos” by Victoria Proudler. Piano Grades Are Go! has just appeared from EVC Music and is that rarest of beasts: a genuinely stunning music book for elementary players. I will be adopting it with my students, and believe other teachers should consider doing so too. Let’s find out why…

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Six Preludes About Time

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It’s about time I reviewed About Time: Six Piano Preludes by the well-known British composer Mark Goddard.

Published by EVC Music back in 2018, this intriguing collection of miniatures with latin subtitles initially slipped under my radar. Following EVC’s new partnership with Hal Leonard I have been re-examining their catalogue, and have been delighted to discover About Time, which makes an excellent addition to the growing Pianodao Music Library

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Donald Thomson’s Celtic Piano Music

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Since its appearance in 2015, Donald Thomson’s A Borders Suite, which comprises five intermediate pieces stunningly presented by EVC Music, has made an impressive impact.

That first book spawned three more, each adding five more pieces celebrating the beauty of Scotland, and in 2018 the series received the accolade of being a finalist in the Best Print Resource category of the Music Education Awards.

Now EVC Music has released the ultimate collection of Thomson’s music. Bringing together all 20 pieces from those four collections and adding one more for good measure, Celtic Piano Music is a publication to celebrate and treasure. Let’s take a look…

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Ballads without words

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Heather Hammond is one of the UK’s most widely respected and published educational composers, responsible for a string of popular titles that notably include the Cool Piano, Cool Clarinet, Funky Flute and Super Sax series from Kevin Mayhew. She is also much admired for her work with writing partner Karen Marshall; together they created the Get Set! Piano method series (Collins Music) and Intermediate Pianist (Faber Music).

Hammond’s most recent music, published with vision and panache by EVC Music, has further consolidated her growing international reputation, and EVC now brings us the combined Ballads Without Words, a compilation of two previous best-selling titles (suitable for upper intermediate players around UK Grades 4-5), joined by two brand new pieces…

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