Easy Concert Pieces, Volume 3
edited by Peter Ansorge & Bruno Szordikowski
Published by Scott. ED22558
There are 40 pieces of music here spanning from the16th to 20th centuries, and the music is sufficiently meritorious to include in a young player’s concert. Peter and Bruno suggest that they are accessible to players after 3 years of tuition and I suspect this is about correct.
Some of the pieces are standard repertoire; well known but a delight to play through. For example, there is Giuliani’s ‘Allegretto’ Opus 50 No.5, Sor’s Opus 31 No.6 study, and a jolly ‘Andante’ by Mertz. There are less well-worn items too such as ‘Guagirana’ by Jacques Bosch and a ‘Vals’ by Cimadevilla; both being at once refreshing and tonally conventional.
Peter & Bruno also offer us arrangements and of course their success is subjective. There is an inconsistent use of dynamics with some arrangements having none and others utilising echo-type ‘f’ and ’p’ indications. It might be helpful to advise us when these are editorial and when they are reproductions of the composer’s wishes. In the famous ‘El Testament D’Amelia’ the key is moved to E-minor and some of the richness in Llobet’s version makes way for guitaristic simplicity. In omitting voice-leading harmonies we lose some of the evocative beauty, but that is writing from a perspective where Llobet’s arrangement is known.
If the student had nothing to compare it with, then doubtless this arrangement’s wonderful tune would shine through, despite the F-sharp ‘typo’ in bar 10. It’s a ‘No-win’ position for an arranger; remove things to make a piece playable and expose yourself to criticism for the omission. Leave notes in and be lambasted for making things hard. On the whole, I think Ansorge and Szordikowski arrive at a good balance.
It is a pity that more contemporary music could not be included. A Poulenc ’Sarabande’ stands out because of its refreshing tonal palette and if the intention is to stimulate the enthusiasm and interest of students, then more of this sort of repertoire could have been included, perhaps at the expense of those familiar pieces reproduced elsewhere.
There are no performance notes, but I think this is a virtue. So often they are superfluous, containing as they do suggestions which any good teacher would be able to come up with. Instead, there is a lot of ‘meat’ in this book. Teachers will welcome the beautifully-set repertoire gathered together in one volume and students will have many reasons to be challenged and, as they develop, take delight in the music. I can recommend this volume to teachers without hesitation.