SHEET MUSIC REVIEW
Faber Music’s growing series of Piano Anthology books are a continuing source of joy, and have been enthusiastically received by several of my regular adult students.
I have reviewed the previous collections here:
Spoilers: in all cases I have been impressed both with the intelligence and value of the music selections and the quality of the publications themselves.
So it great to be welcoming a new addition to the family with the delivery of The Faber Music Contemporary Piano Anthology, which offers 52 “beautiful neoclassical pieces for solo piano”.
Let’s find out whether it lives up to the high standards set by the series…
Continue reading The Faber Music Contemporary Piano Anthology
Sheet Music Review
You’ve surely spotted the rise-and-rise in popularity of so-called ‘new classical’ music, as championed by Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter, Yiruma and others.
Their music seems to travel from TV shows to school concerts, and from adult piano clubs to the studios where those of us who teach students of all ages are routinely asked to help them learn River Flows in You, The Heart Asks Pleasure First, Nuvole Bianche and more.
And why not? These are expressive, melodic and reflective pieces that seem to have struck the perfect chord in our otherwise often turbulent times.
How happy, then, to find a single collection that includes so many of the genre’s top titles in one tastefully presented bumper compendium!
Contemporary Piano Masters may just offer a one-stop-solution to your ‘new classical’ needs, bringing together 40 pieces from 20 of “the world’s leading piano composers”.
Let’s take a loser look…
Continue reading Contemporary Piano Masters
Sheet Music Review
Lots of piano players enjoy the contemporary stylings of popular composers such as Ludovico Einaudi, Yirumi and David Lanz, but it’s not so easy to find really good arrangements of their music that are accessible to intermediate players, and which manage to be both concise and accurate distillations of the post-minimal piano style.
The search for an educationally sound and musically engaging alternative just got easier with the publication by Schott Music of No Words Necessary, an excellent collection of 12 new pieces composed by Melanie Spanswick.
These interesting and enjoyable pieces will certainly satisfy those looking for approachable contemporary piano solos, and they further confirm Melanie as an imaginative and engaging composer.
So let’s check it out …
Continue reading Melanie Spanswick: No Words Necessary
Sheet Music Review
Faber Music have been producing a steady flow of printed compilations of piano music for some time, with a focus on bringing together pieces from films, arrangements of hit songs, and popular classical favourites.
Latest addition, Ultimate Piano Solos boasts “over 50 bestsellers” and offers an appealing selection of mainstream favourites that most people will instantly recognise.
Keenly priced at just £15.99 it offers excellent value, and is perhaps the ideal collection for the enthusiastic player at around Grade 5 level who wants to grow their repertoire of popular favourites.
Continue reading Ultimate Piano Solos
Why are there some composers that we just don’t really like?
That’s a question that has reappeared in my thinking at regular intervals since I read a blog post on Norman Lebrecht’s site Slipped Disc way back in 2014 entitled 10 Works of Composers you never want to hear again.
All this time later, the comments section of that post is still receiving periodic additions as more music lovers choose to name and shame the music that particularly irritates them.
A Facebook group for classical music lovers has recently had popular threads asking such questions as:
- Which is your least favorite, most cringe evoking piece of classical music?
- Name your three least favorite composers.
- Which instrument most offends your ears?????
And in all three cases, these have attracted several hundred replies!
Some of course protest that it is unthinkable that a proper music lover could lower themselves to answering such questions, as if somehow those who do are traitors to the cause, or maybe just a little bit uncouth. But it’s interesting to note that some world-class performers have been among those quick to share their dislikes!
What we need to remember, though, is that our answers to such questions are entirely subjective.
Thankfully most people get this, and make little effort to justify their dislikes in objective terms. It is possible to objectively recognise a composer is great while not subjectively enjoying their music. It is when people forget this that they end up having pointless arguments with strangers online!
Continue reading Morning Sickness & Mahler