Fiona Lau

Accelerando through the grades: Piano sheet music review

2:43, 28th January 2021

Fiona Lau takes a look at Books 1-3 in Gareth Green’s series of piano books, published by EJ Music Publishing. 

Accelerando through the grades is a collection of piano pieces in which each volume enjoyably explores pieces and challenges appropriate to the grade via solos and arrangements. The pieces can be used to prepare for the grade, to act as a bridge to the next, to consolidate a level, or to serve as sight reading for two or three ahead. They would also make delightful recital, concert, or competition pieces. The composer, Gareth Green, is an experienced teacher, organist, adjudicator and examiner.

Each book has nine pieces (just over 50p per piece!). Book 1 is set at Grade 1/1+ level, begins with Big Ben Boings Blue, and continues with miniatures suitable for this level. There is a beautiful, elegant Waltz, and the enjoyable The Grimsby Groove. I’m not sure that Grimsby has ever before been immortalised in a piano miniature, but the time is definitely ripe!

All the pieces have meticulous fingering, dynamic and articulation markings, which really add to the character. Green’s background as an organist pops up regularly as the left hand is never neglected, offering commentaries, melodic interest, and counter melodies.

Book 2 has seven original solo compositions and two arrangements: Hallelujah Chorus and Land of Hope and Glory. These are both excellent, true to the original arrangements, as well as being within the Grade 2/2+ level. The book begins with Characterful Canon – a great way to explain this form – and includes Menacing Blues, Sad Waltz, and my stand-out favourite of the series so far, Lullaby (guaranteed to lull any baby to sleep).

Book 3 is set at Grade 3/3+ level and continues the contemporary miniatures style with the warm and lyrical Summer Days included in the repertoire. I particularly enjoyed Cantabile with its gentle triple time signature and its projected right-hand then left-hand melodies. The vital development of the left hand continues with Happy Conversation, and there are also two well written arrangements: Ode To Joy and Danny Boy.

At the back of every book there are also pertinent and helpful performance notes, although I would prefer these to be footnotes to each piece. Any of these pieces would make excellent choices for an ABRSM performance grade exam, Trinity’s piano certificate exams, or any own choice exam component. Books 4 and 5 are coming soon. Highly recommended.

View the range here.

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