Winter 2020: New Music & Materials Reviews

(S4) TOCCATA "HYGAGAN," OPUS 229by Dianne Goolkasian RahbeeFrom the FJH Contemporary Keyboard Sheets, Toccata "Hygagan" by Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee is an engaging and virtuosic late-intermediate piano solo.Born in Massachusetts, Rahbee is a first-generation Armenian American. She was a piano major at Juilliard, and a self-taught composer who b...
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Autumn 2019: New Music & Materials

(S4-5) PIANO PIECES by Otilie SukováVery little is known about the composer Otilie Suková (1878–1905), yet a great deal is known about her famous father, Antonín Dvorák. Nonetheless, Bärenreiter Urtext has presented pianists with a gem: a collection of four short piano pieces by this relatively unknown composer. The pi...
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Autumn 2019: Recordings

FARRENC: VARIATIONS FOR PIANOBiliana Tzinlikova, pianoPaladino Music PMR 0088[Total Time: 53:02]www.paladino.atThis is a significant new recording of Louise Farrenc's piano works. The program consists of four sets of variations, all written in the 1830s, including Air russe varié (on the composer's own theme), one on the cavatina "Nel veder la...
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Spring 2019: Book Review

 The Contemporary Piano: A Performer and Composer's Guide to Techniques and Resources, by Alan Shockley. The introduction to Alan Shockley's The Contemporary Piano: A Performer and Com- poser's Guide to Techniques and Resources indicates that the "book is designed as a resource for composers writing for the piano and for pianists int...
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Spring 2019 Technology Review: Slack — A Time-Saving App for Collaborative Projects

​Music teachers who collaborate with other equally busy musicians, must find creative ways around full schedules and unusual working hours. Email, text message, and social media platforms are cumbersome when communicating about team teaching, shared events, and group organizations. Consider a new tool to facilitate shared correspondence: Slack...
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Spring 2019: New Music Reviews

 (S1-3) Imaginations Books 1 and 2, by Kevin Olson. Kevin Olson has a knack for creating fresh and original sounds at every teaching level. While incorporating the reading, rhythmic, and technical skills needed to advance the piano student, Imaginations offers a wide variety of appealing pieces. With titles like "Android Attack," "Penguin...
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May/June: Closer Look

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An invitation to the piano partySE3-4) Lang Lang Academy: The Lang Lang Piano Method, Levels 1-5, by Lang Lang. No one could ever rightfully accuse Lang Lang of a lack of enthusiasm. The pianist is known for his chops, his energetic and physical stage presence, and his truly gregarious nature—not to mention his videos on YouTube. He is also th...
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May/June 2018: New Music Reviews

Preludes
(S5) Pacific Preludes by Christopher Norton, CD recorded by Iain Farrington​ Christopher Norton is well known for his contemporary works in jazz, pop, Latin rhythms, and even musicals. His Pacific Preludes Collection is an interesting set of fourteen pieces based on folk melodies from countries bordering the Pacific Ocean: the United States, the Ph...
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May/June: New Music Reviews

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Festival Sonatina by Eugénie Rocherelle  The Classical sonatina is such a pedagogical treasure, as it provides great material to study and perform—teachers can spur growth in artistry, and students love the musically satisfying material. Eugénie Rocherolle's Festival Sonatina has two commonalities with the Classical sonatina: its three-mo...
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March/April 2018 First Looks - Recordings

Recordings
Chopin Sonata in B minor, Opus 58 and Liszt Sonata in B minor, S 178Chad R. Bowles, pianoJRI Recording J141[Total Time 57:38]jrirecordings.comAmerican rising star Chad R. Bowles plays two significant Romantic piano sonatas on his fourth release. In these nineteenth-century sonatas, Liszt and Chopin took the formal stru...
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March/April 2018: First Looks: New Music Reviews

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(SE3-4) Fantasia del Tango: 6 Original Piano Solos and 1 Duet, by Eugénie Rocherolle.Fantasia del Tango augments The Eugénie Rocherolle Series with a volume of tangos by a perennial favorite pedagogical composer. Dedicated to Kathleen Theisen, the seven pieces in this collection (six solos and one duet)presen...
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March/April 2018: First Looks: Apps for teaching

Looking for fresh ways to prepare students for an upcoming theory test? Need a new method to reinforce and build student confidence in any music-related topic? Consider using Heads Up or Kahoot. Heads up  Ellen DeGeneres introduced Heads Up for her show years ago, as it makes a terrific family game for holiday fun. The app comes with a va...
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Jan/Feb 2018: First Looks: Recordings

First-Looks
 Nyman: Complete Piano MusicJeroen van Veen, piano Brilliant Classics 95112 [Total Time 1:50:45] brilliantclassics.com Prolific Dutch pianist-composer Jeroen van Veen presents all of Michael Nyman's existing solo piano music. Many will recognize Nyman (b. 1944) as composer of the soundtrack for the 1993 award-winning film The Piano, and—of the...
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Piano method review: Carol Matz's Interactive Piano Method

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by Rebecca Grooms JohnsonThis method offers a flexible combination of lesson books and web-based materials. The four core lesson books (Levels 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B) can be purchased as hard copies (which are mailed to the home address) or as downloadable PDFs. The hard-copy packages are moderately more expensive. Both hard-copy and downloadable Lesso...
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Jan/Feb 2018: First Looks New Music Reviews

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(S1-2) 24 Short and Easy Pieces, Op. 1, Alexander Reinagle.Teachers and students enjoy Reinagle's pieces both for their charming writing and their accessibility to elementary students. Reinagle's biography, moreover, is a fun and interesting one that connects traditions of European classical music to life in the United States. Reinagle is thou...
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Jan/Feb 2018: First Looks - Apps for teaching

Adult beginner piano students enroll in lessons because playing the piano has been on their bucket list for years. Coupled with their excitement comes a realization, though. They may be "masters" at their current profession, but, when sitting at the keyboard, adults become well aware of what they don't know. It's our job as teachers to help them de...
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Jan/Feb 2018: First Looks Book Review - When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph, and Its Aftermath

New Music Reviews Closer LookAs someone who was fortunate enough to study at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow and to participate in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, this book was truly a delight. It not only brought back wonderful memories from Moscow and Fort Worth, but, more importantly, it gave me a much better historical a...
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New music reviews: November/December 2017

(S3) From Sight to Sound: 6 Original PIano Solos, by Randall Hartsell.  Randall Hartsell composed From Sight to Sound to express the "interconnectedness of nature and our lives," and this collection contains six reflective pieces characterized by melodic simplicity and harmonic richness. The collection capitalizes on the piano's capacity for c...
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New music reviews: September/October 2017

Happy Holidays! (S1-4) We Three Kings, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Deck the Hall Hoedown, arranged by Wendy Stevens.For teachers wanting some fun and creative options to spice up their holiday recitals, three new arrangements by Wendy Stevens are fantastic choices. "We Three Kings" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" even invite the audience...
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CD Reviews: July/August 2017

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David Rakowski Etudes, Vol 4Amy Briggs, piano, toy piano and celestaBridge 9477Total Time [87:20]www.bridgerecrords.com This is the fourth volume of Briggs's survey of the staggering 100 piano études of David Rakowski, composed between 1998 and 2010. The studies are characteristically short, stylistically eclectic, and often cleverly titled. Accord...
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