Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Spectrum 4
compiled by Thalia Myers, pianist and teacher

ABRSM November 2005, 80 pp £9.95









"Feel the space and listen to the harmony" says Chen Yi about her Singing in the Mountain, for which the pedal is to be held down throughout.

Listening is the chief lesson in this fourth collection of miniatures, which should do for piano students in the 21st century and beyond what Anna Magdalena Bach achieved for two centuries since 1725.

This collection of specially composed little pieces should be indispensible for teaching near-beginners, and older pianists who have been started on the wrong road and need to have their ears and fingers retrained.

It introduces sixty composers of today, all to be reckoned with, some famous, others likely to be new names.

They have fulfilled their appointed task to introduce their individual musical voices without requiring off-putting drudgery to master the music.

Aspiring pianists will learn that their instrument is a marvellous machine, with easily produced pp to ff, and magic added with the pedals. The composers add helpful, reassuring notes, such as what to do if you can't yet reach the pedals (for a piece like Chen Yi's a bigger brother/sister might help?).

The writing of these pieces is innovatory and suggests that music and musicality can be approached before tackling the (very necessary) finger routines, contortions and memorisation required for the standard classics.

Thalia Myers, in her exemplary accompanying USK CDs, shows too that fine piano playing is not all about speed and power.

Editing Musical Pointers has meant that most of my keyboard practice is at the computer; Spectrum has several times brought me back very pleasurably to spend time at the piano keys!

This is in every way a landmark series, splendidly supported by ABRSM's lavish production and, at a modest £10 for scores and three CDs, one that everyone should have. It should help to reduce the number of piano pupil drop-outs.

See also Spectrum 1 & 2
Spectrum 3
and Spectrum for cellists
  NOTE: If you have difficulty with the composer links and sound samples,they can be accessed easily by clicking on ABRSM
Re the Anna Magdalena books



© Peter Grahame Woolf