One recent discovery whilst searching for repertoire for an article I wrote last year, was this wonderful little set of pieces written for Judith Serota, and presented as a leaving gift when she left her role as Executive Director of the Spitalfields Music Festival in East London. The collection was the brainchild of composer Diana Burrell, and it contains pieces written by a collection of illustrious composers; Richard Rodney Bennett, Michael Berkeley, Diana Burrell, Anthony Burton, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jonathan Dove, Stephen Johns, Thea Musgrave, Tarik O’Regan, Anthony Payne, and Judith Weir.
Each piece is based on “Bist du bei mir” by G H Stölzel arranged by J S Bach, hence the title, Variations, and they are perfect for students who want to explore Contemporary music idioms. Around Grade 4 – 7 standard (of the British examination boards), students and amateurs will love their accessibility. You can find out more about these works in my original blog post here.
I have one copy, very kindly donated by Judith, and signed by the first performer, concert pianist Melvyn Tan, and also by Judith herself, to give away to one lucky reader. To take part in this competition, just leave a comment in the comment box at the end of this post, and Judith will select a winner on Monday.
Judith Weir is composer of the week on BBC Radio 3 from Monday March 30th, and her contribution to the collection, To Judith, from Judith will be featured. You can enjoy Melvyn Tan playing a selection from Variations at various concerts halls around the UK this year, including on 25 April, in Portsmouth , and 29 April at the Wiltshire Music Centre. Enjoy his performance of the whole set here:
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.