Patrick Hamilton: Journey to the Unknown

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


According to Decca Publishing,

“Patrick Hamilton is a flag bearer for the next generation of producer, composer and arranger. A leading figure in classical crossover music, his ambitions include the verticals of artist production alongside film and TV score composition, which together bring his unique skill set to the adult contemporary classical space.”

Judging from Journey to the Unknown, Hamilton’s first solo piano CD, what this lofty statement actually means is that he is the latest to join the ever-growing pantheon of composers creating gentle, soothing piano music in the style popularised by Ludovico Einaudi.

That’s no bad thing, and happily Journey to the Unknown is also now available as a sheet music publication from Hal Leonard. I really like it, so let’s find out what makes it special…

Continue reading Patrick Hamilton: Journey to the Unknown

RSL Classical Piano

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


It used to be possible to joke that piano exam syllabi, like buses, arrived three at a time. But with the addition of the Music Teachers’ Board to the mix and fresh arrival of a “classical” syllabus from RSL Awards (Rockschool), students and teachers have five fully and equally accredited UK boards to choose between.

A disclaimer at the start. Eagle-eyed readers will soon spot that in the nine RSL Classical Piano books the name Andrew Eales appears as a “syllabus consultant”. While I didn’t actually contribute directly to the syllabus, I did offer a little feedback in the later stages of its conception.

On the plus side this perhaps gives me particular insight, but at the same time I will try to maintain distance, as ever avoid bias, and focus on providing the independent factual outline that you need in order to evaluate for yourself whether the syllabus might be the right fit you.

So let’s take a look…

Continue reading RSL Classical Piano

Alexis Ffrench: The Sheet Music Collection

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


Chances are readers will have encountered the music of Alexis Ffrench; his albums Evolution and Dreamland have both topped the classical charts making him the UK’s biggest selling pianist of 2020, and his music has amassed over 200 million streams online.

Now, in conjunction with Universal Music and SONY, Hal Leonard bring us the official music book of Ffrench’s biggest piano hits to date, Alexis Ffrench: The Sheet Music Collection. Let’t take a look…

Continue reading Alexis Ffrench: The Sheet Music Collection

Gareth Malone: Music for Healing

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


Gareth Malone became a household name with his TV series The Choir, and subsequent ratings juggernaut The Choir: Military Wives, which led to a Christmas Number 1 chart topper.

Malone’s many colourful and inspiring efforts to get the nation singing are surely one of the heartening success stories of British cultural life in recent years, and in 2012 he was awarded an OBE for his services to music.

Now Malone has turned back to the piano for a brand new recording entitled Music for Healing, with a supporting sheet music publication from Hal Leonard which is the subject of this review.

Let’s ascend the stairwell and take a look…

Continue reading Gareth Malone: Music for Healing

Piano Calm Christmas

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


Philip Keveren is one of my favourite arrangers and composers whose music has a contemporary popular vibe. He is also clearly industrious: this year alone has seen the release of his clever Circles: Character Etudes in 24 keys (reviewed here) and the hugely appealing Piano Calm (reviewed here), both of which are quickly establishing themselves as firm favourites with my students.

Now Keveren brings us the sequel to the latter collection, Piano Calm Christmas. And if it lives up to its recent predecessors, we can look forward to something very special indeed.

So let’s find out…

Continue reading Piano Calm Christmas

Rachel Portman: Ask the River

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


English composer Rachel Portman is best known for her many gorgeous film scores, including the music for such blockbusters as Chocolat, The Cider House Rules, The Duchess and The Lake House.

Portman’s latest musical project is Ask the River, a self-contained CD of piano-led instrumental reflections on the natural world, with an accompanying book from Chester Music delivering solo piano versions of all 13 tracks, the subject of this review.

According to the composer,

“I wrote this collection of pieces throughout 2019. They are the fruit of many years spent being immersed in nature. What can be more inspiring than the green shoots of new beech leaves appearing in the woods with the dappling light reflected in the spring breeze?
These pieces are a personal reflection on the beauty of the earth around us – the trees, flora, rivers, birds, animals and all her gifts to us. I hope you enjoy exploring them as much as I loved being inspired by the natural world.”

Explore them we shall…

Continue reading Rachel Portman: Ask the River

Ola Gjeilo: Night

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


“I love nighttime. I love the mood of night, and feeling all of New York City light up from endless skyscrapers. There’s something very inspiring and even reassuring and calming about that to me. New York at night is very romantic, I think”

So writes Ola Gjeilo in the introduction to his new album Night, available on CD from Decca (purchase from Amazon UK here) and sheet music from Chester Music/Hal Leonard (the subject of this review).

Those who’ve not yet had the joy of discovering Gjeilo’s music are in for a treat with this album and will hopefully also explore his previous work, including the earlier piano albums Stone Rose (2007), Piano Improvisations (2012) and his immensely popular choral music.

So let’s take our time and journey towards the dizzying and inviting lights of Gjeilo’s Night

Continue reading Ola Gjeilo: Night

Phillip Keveren’s Circles

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


American composer and arranger Phillip Keveren’s books have become increasingly popular staples in my studio, his recent collection Piano Calm (reviewed here) establishing itself as a particular favourite.

Keveren’s latest publication, brought to us as ever by Hal Leonard, is Circles: Character Etudes in 24 Keys, once again a collection of brand new original pieces aimed at intermediate pianists.


And it’s another triumph…

Continue reading Phillip Keveren’s Circles

Gradebusters: 15 Awesome Solos

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


Grade exams getting you down?
Who are you going to call?… GRADEBUSTERS!!

Gradebusters is the cheekily-titled new series from Hal Leonard. Serving up a rich feast of universally popular music that players everywhere will be hungry to play, each book is packed with instantly recognisable hits and infectious tunes. The series so far includes books for piano, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, trumpet, alto and tenor sax, nominally ‘Grade 1’ level.

The Gradebusters grade 1 piano book includes “15 awesome solos from ABBA to Aladdin”, and is available now. Grades 2 and 3 are expected to follow soon.

Here’s a quick rundown of the resource, the music included, and some ideas about who this book would suit…

Continue reading Gradebusters: 15 Awesome Solos

Gershwin: Three Preludes

Products featured on Pianodao are selected for review by ANDREW EALES.
When you purchase using the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, but this does not affect the price you pay.

GET ADVICE ON YOUR PLAYING


Gershwin’s Three Preludes for solo piano have been a staple of the American piano repertoire since their first publication in 1927.

Like many, I have long relied upon the 1992 Boosey & Hawkes edition, so I was intrigued to receive a new edition by Brendan Fox and Richard Walters, recently published by Hal Leonard.

Interest piqued, it wasn’t long before I found myself won over…

Continue reading Gershwin: Three Preludes