Phillip Keveren’s Latest Hat Trick

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American composer and ace arranger Phillip Keveren has been a busy chap this year, and among several publications he has just brought us three new anthologies for more advanced players in the immensely popular Phillip Keveren Series from Hal Leonard.

For those not familiar with this series, it’s certainly worth catching up. Keveren has a gift for creating pianistically satisfying arrangements of music from chart hits to Christmas songs, from hymns to music hall classics and film themes.

Keveren also has an astute understanding of the pianist’s progress; the large and growing number of publications in his series include many titles aimed at the less advanced player, as well as titles such as the three latest reviewed here, which would be ideal for any advanced player (around UK Grades 6-8):

I have reviewed several titles in this series before, uniformly praising them for their musical and presentational quality. The three new additions to the series confidently measure up to the high standards previously set, and are an easy recommendation for those keen to discover superb piano arrangements of the titles included.

Here’s a simple introduction to the musical content of each…

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Isata Kanneh-Mason: Summertime

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I concluded my review of Romance, young British pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason’s debut recording for Decca a couple of years ago, writing:

“As a recording debut, this release is impressive indeed; after so thrilling an introduction, I can’t wait to hear what Kanneh-Mason does next.”

Well that wait is now over, and Kanneh-Mason’s second CD is with us. Summertime is a joyous celebration of vibrant 20th century solo piano compositions that draw from the deep well of the American repertoire.

With the sort of programming one might associate with Lara Downes, the new album includes compositions by Gershwin, Copland, Barber, Beach, and the world premiere recording of Coleridge-Taylor’s Impromptu No.2, a poignantly evocative piece that I hope will belatedly find its place in the wider repertoire…

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