Recommended piano pieces

Second post of recommended piano pieces, it is time to present pieces by Robert Vandall, Christine Donkin, Kevin Olson, Christopher Fisher and, of course, William Gillock.


Recommended piece of the week 6

Robert Vandall: Lydian Nocturne

Robert Vandall is a composer of pedagogical piano pieces, most of them based on very recognozible patterns. He has lots of pieces for elementary and intermediate levels. The piece I have chosen is from a book titled Modes and Moods. This book contains seven pieces, each of which is written in a different mode, and all in white keys. It is surprising to see how varied the book is considering that it does not use a single black key in any of the pieces, 21 pages of music using only white keys. The fourth piece of the book, the one dedicated to the lydian scale, is the piece that I have chosen as an example of the book. It is a piece with an accompaniment of the left hand based on arpeggios and a simple melody that is repeated in three different octaves. More examples of this book are  Energized, written in Mixolidian mode and Turbulence, written in Locrian mode.

Recommended piece of the week 7

Christine Donkin: Witches and Wizards

Piece included in the book Legends and Lore, a compilation of 11 little works inspired by a fantasy world, magicians, dragons, pirates, palaces and more. In Witches and Wizards we have a very rhythmic piece, with fast eighth notes in 6/8 and crossing hands that students love to play. The whole book is very imaginative and rich in sonorities and atmospheres. As an example, I also include two more videos:  The Dragon´s Story  and Dream Journey.

Recommended piece of the week 8

Kevin Olson: Prelude in D minor

Kevin Olson is a prolific composer of piano pieces for very different levels. This prelude is part of his book Preludes in Patterns, ten pieces written in ten different tones (C, G, D, F and B flat and their relative minor). Based on patterns, these preludes are perfect for the 40 piece Challenge, variety of keys, rhythms, easy to read and attractive for students. The piece of the video is written in D minor, and uses a structure based almost exclusively on four chords. It´s a very rhythmically piece, alternating measures of 6/8 and 3/4 and it is ideal to work fingers dexterity. More preludes of this book: Prelude in A minor, Prelude in B minor and Prelude in D Major.

Recommended piece of the week 9

Christopher Fisher: Sunrise over the Yangtze

Sunrise over the Yangtze is the piece that closes Volume 3 of the Piano Safari method, which, as you probably  know, is the method I use the most. This third volume contains more than 40 pieces, some of them are original works by its authors Julie Knerr and Katherine Fisher and other pieces are from the classical repertoire, Czerny, Bartok, Diabelli, Gurlitt, etc. The recommended piece 9 is written by the pianist, composer and pedagogue Christopher Fisher,. It is written in A minor and covers all the piano octaves, the whole keyboard is used in this piece. The use of perfect fourths gives the piece an oriental character that suggests the title, also uses an arpeggiated pattern based on three chords. Other pieces in the method are: Hopeful Beginnings and The Midnight Gallop.

Recommended piece of the week 10

William Gillock: Clowns

There are so many books by Gillock that I can always recommend a piece of his on these lists. Clowns is included in the book Accent on Gillock Vol 2. Accent on Gillock is an eight volume series by the author, organized by levels, from the elementary level (first volume) to the advanced intermediate level (eighth volume).  I could have chosen any of the other six pieces in the book because they are all amazing. In Clowns, the student runs the keyboard from the top to the bottom with a humorous and lively character that students enjoy. Other pieces in this volume: The Glass Slipper, French Doll and Moonlight.


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