Yann Tiersen: Kerber

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Yann Tiersen is best known for his brilliant and suitably quirky soundtrack to the movie Amélie, which yielded such contemporary classics as the Waltz from Amélie and of course Comptine d’un autre été.

Tiersen’s varied career has taken in further soundtrack work as well as solo instrumental recording projects, the latest of which is the album Kerber, released last month. Kerber maintains the signature sound that his fans have come to love so much, mixing lush piano lines with a gorgeous bed of electronic musical elements, ranging from the subtle to retro kitsch sci-fi.

Comprising 7 tracks which combined last around 46 minutes, Kerber is one of those albums within the new classical space which I think deserves repeated listens, and which I believe will stand the test of time.

Whether this is music that solo piano players will find themselves performing is another matter, but to help satiate the enthusiasm of Tiersen’s fans, Hal Leonard have just published the music book. So do these pieces work without the album’s other musical trappings? Let’s find out…

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Rachel Portman: Ask the River

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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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…

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Phillip Keveren’s ‘Piano Calm’

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Phillip Keveren’s name will be known to many readers for The Phillip Keveren Series of music books published by Hal Leonard, numbering nearly 100 volumes published in the US, with many now also available here in the UK.

Keveren, described by his publishers as “a multi-talented keyboard artist and composer”, is a superb arranger. His publications, suitable for intermediate to more advanced players, include collections of music from rock, pop, gospel, folk and jazz favourites, as well as several volumes dedicated to the music of stage, screen, worship service and Disney hits.

Those I’ve seen are uniformly excellent, combining musical authenticity with pianistic intelligence, and are rapidly becoming an indispensable resource within my teaching studio.

For his latest addition to the series, Piano Calm, Keveren has turned his hand to composing 15 original pieces, suitable for intermediate players, which he describes as ‘reflective solos. And I think they are excellent.

So let’s take a look…

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Hauschka: A Different Forest

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Known professionally as Hauschka, composer Volker Bertelmann has catapulted himself into the top tier of composers. Perhaps best known for his compositions for prepared piano, Haushka has also excelled as a film composer, receiving an Oscar nomination for his soundtrack to the 2016 film “Lion”.

Hauschka’s latest album A Different Forest, a solo piano recording (with some electronic elements and treatments), was released back in February on the Sony Classical label.

There is now also a supporting sheet music publication from Bosworth Edition, distributed by Hal Leonard, the subject of this review…

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The Peaceful Piano Playlist

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Faber Music’s numerous piano anthologies have established themselves not only as enticing collections of sought-after pieces, but as a barometer of trends in the piano world.

The newly issued Peaceful Piano Playlist exemplifies this perfectly, offering a selection of relaxing classics and “new classical” pieces that will no doubt have huge appeal to teenagers and adults who play for pleasure and to relax.

If the title (and image above) already appeal, there’s a good chance that you will enjoy this publication immensely. So let’s take a closer look (and listen)…

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