It’s been a busy year so far, with several publications nearing completion. One new volume, about which I am particularly excited, has been released this week. It marks my debut as a composer for my German publisher, Schott Music. Whilst I already write for Schott as an author, I hadn’t previously published a book of my own compositions. The new collection is called No Words Necessary and it is a selection of twelve piano pieces for intermediate level, or for students of approximately Grades 3 – 6 standard (of ABRSM, Trinity College London or London College of Music exams).
I wrote the pieces earlier this year during my stay in Hong Kong, working as an adjudicator for the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. Adjudicating is a demanding job, but I frequently enjoyed unusually long lunch breaks of around an hour and a half in length. Adjudicating sessions often took place in splendid theatres with lovely well-tuned grand pianos, so I decided to put this time to good use. Within a few weeks I had written all twelve, albeit scribbled on manuscript paper as opposed to using my Sibelius software.
The pieces are characteristically tonal, with a nod to Minimalism. The title, No Words Necessary, was inspired by German poet and writer Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856):
‘Where words leave off, music speaks’
Each work is intended to evoke thoughts, emotions or images in the mind. Many are reflective in character, with melodious tunes and poignant harmonies, but there are also more energetic, lively pieces too, for those who want to get their fingers moving. When composing for students, my aim is to write in a tuneful, expressive style, which I hope resonates with pianists of all ages, levels and abilities; these works are equally suited to younger or more mature players. Each one is comfortable to learn and rarely employs large chords or overly elaborate passagework, and they are intended as concert or festival pieces, examination pieces or simply to learn and play for pleasure. Indeed, several of these works have been used in the London College of Music Exam Syllabus (2021 – 2024) and the International Performing and Visual Arts Examination Board (2020 – 2023).
The titles are as follows:
- Lost in Thought
- Voices in My Head
- Phantom Whisperer
- Dancing Through the Daffodils
- Walking in the Woods
- China Doll
- Tinged with Sadness
Recorded at Moreton Hall School in Shropshire, and at Jaques Samuel pianos in London at the beginning of August, you can hear each piece by clicking on the links below. The book can be purchased as a hard copy or digital download (either the complete book or each piece separately), here: No Words Necessary.
‘These are pieces which I believe could easily find their place in the intermediate player’s heart, combining easy-to-master patterns, melodic charm, and simple structural cohesion. They give players a vehicle through which to develop expressive, engaged playing. And with plenty of variety on offer, too, the collection offers good value. If you’re looking for a fresh collection of accessible contemporary pieces, do give this a try! Warmly Recommended.’
Pianodao Blog (December 2018)
‘Beautiful, imaginative and appealing music. Each piece has a title which will provoke discussion, enable interpretation and stimulate the imagination. There is much to delight the teenage minimalism-loving intermediate pianist (and their teachers) here.’
Music Teacher Magazine (January 2019)
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious 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.