The Piano: A History in 100 Pieces

THE PIANODAO BOOKSHELF
books for piano players, teachers, students and music enthusiasts


Before the last rays of summer settle into the colours of autumn, let me tell you about this wonderful book, my summer holiday read, but equally suitable for the cozy evenings ahead, or for that matter as a Christmas gift.

Indeed, whether you find yourself wanting inspiration for fresh beginnings, a reboot in your piano journey, or simply a brilliant read, Susan Tomes’ The Piano: A History in 100 Pieces is poised to perfectly hit the spot and deliver the tonic you are looking for.

It’s a book which very much delivers on the promise of its title, giving a chronological survey of the storied history of the instrument and, more particularly, the development of a glorious repertoire that is surely one of the pinnacles of human achievement.

So let’s take a closer look…

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Borislava Taneva: Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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The brilliantly inventive music of Bulgarian pianist and composer Borislava Taneva has steadily become one of the jewels of the Editions Musica Ferrum catalogue.

Taneva’s music appears in all three Mosaic books (which I have featured here and will revisit as the series continues to grow), and she has three titles of her own: Sound Stories (2016), and two volumes entitled Riddles, Puzzles and Plays.

Taneva’s music is strikingly creative, and the seam of pedagogy running though it is not simply good: it’s truly inspiring. So read on for a full review and overview…

Continue reading Borislava Taneva: Sound Stories, Riddles, Puzzles and Plays

Bacewicz: Children’s Suite

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
for help playing this • BOOK AN ONLINE LESSON
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Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) is at last gaining the recognition she deserves as one of the great composers of the mid-twentieth century, her towering Second Sonata rightly applauded as one of the significant piano masterpieces of the last century.

Among the composer’s many smaller-scale piano works the Suita dziecięca or Children’s Suite is a delightful highlight, its eight charming miniatures for the late-intermediate pianist a fascinating progression from the educational piano music of Bartók, Kabalevsky and Prokofiev (whose popular Musiques d’enfants appeared just one year after Bacewicz’s Suite).

Poland’s major publishing house Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, PWM Edition, have recently delivered a delightful new edition of the work, edited by Monika Dziurawiec and with a gorgeous cover design by Joanna Rusinek.


Let’s look at this new publication and delve into the imaginative pianism of Bacewicz, not least because this important work surely deserves a place within the core pedagogic repertoire that every piano teacher should try to be aware of…

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The Piano Music of Otilie Suková

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Otilie Suková was the daughter of Antonín Dvořák and the wife of Josef Suk. A gifted musician, she played the piano and wrote several compositions of her own, inspired by her musical surroundings. Four of her piano pieces have survived; three were published in her lifetime, a fourth ‘To Dear Daddy has never previously been published.

Now Bärenreiter have produced a typically gorgeous urtext edition of the four pieces, edited by Eva Prchalová.



I’ve been playing them, and they are lovely. Here’s my review…

Continue reading The Piano Music of Otilie Suková

The Effects of the Gendered Musical Canon

Guest Author, The Reverend Professor June Boyce-Tillman writes about the effect that the lack of female composers in music syllabuses had on a young child’s aspirations…

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Women Composers, Piano Exams, and the Quest for Balance

When I published David Duncan’s guest article Women Composers and Grade Exams I really hoped that it would promote a healthy debate about a really important issue, and I am pleased that it has done so.

While I don’t generally comment on Guest Posts, on this occasion I would like to add a few thoughts. And I must begin by applauding David Duncan and his colleagues at LCM for their determination to address an imbalance. David makes a valuable contribution to the discussion, and I believe his efforts at LCM deserve our support and enthusiasm.

My hope is that by including far more works by women composers, their forthcoming piano  syllabus will be an eye-opener, in which unjustly neglected works will receive the greater exposure they deserve.

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Women composers and Graded Exams

Guest Post by David Duncan
Publications Officer, LCM Examinations

Should we care about the representation of women composers in graded music exams?

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Alison Mathews: Treasure Trove

SHEET MUSIC REVIEW • by ANDREW EALES
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Regular readers will know that I have huge admiration for the independent publisher Editions Musica Ferrum, whose publications consistently bring high-end quality and creative originality.

In recent months EMF have been adding to their range of publications for intermediate pianists, building on the success of their best-selling Cool Beans series by Ben Crosland, and EMF founder Nikolas Sideris’s outstanding Fairyland in Treble.

Among the most recent releases, Treasure Trove by Alison Mathews is a standout collection for intermediate players, which is already finding popularity with my students…

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