A few summers ago, my wife Jan and I were writing one of the books in our Pianoworks series – Pianoworks Popular Styles (Oxford University Press). This is a collection of new pieces composed by us, in a wide range of styles from the past 100 years, both popular and classical: they are designed to complement the other books in the Pianoworks series, at about Grade 2 to Grade 3 level.
We had a lot of fun writing this book and responding to the various styles of the relatively recent past with titles such as ‘Just one Day’, ‘Moonlight through Glass’, ‘Brighton Belle’, ‘Model T’, ‘Night Waves’, ‘Satin’ and many more, including ‘Azalea’, which I’ll come to in a moment.
Before I do that, I’ll just mention that I played a selection of these pieces in a concert the other day, when I had to suddenly deputise for a sick colleague with little time for me to practise: and although we never really thought of them as concert material, they did work in concert, and were appreciated by a large audience for their variety and colour. One of the pieces I played was ‘Azalea’ and although this piece is theoretically about a sort of rhododendron, it was actually written at the time when our granddaughter Azalea was born. (Her fourth birthday is this week, and she loves to hear me play it!)
This year also marks the tenth anniversary of the original Pianoworks Book 1, which has now been supplemented by eight other volumes.
You can see a YouTube recording of ‘Azalea’ here and you can see some sample pages and obtain the complete book here or from your usual music supplier. There are eighteen pieces and moods to explore….