Sheet music pick of the month: Melanie Spanswick

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Develop your repertoire and learn new skills with our sheet music pick of the month, as selected by our trusted professionals

For the beginner:

Anton Reicha: Etude dans le genre Fugué Op 97 No 1a

This little piece is simply beautiful, although not strictly for 'beginners'. I really enjoyed writing about it for Pianist magazine as it creates a sense of calm tranquillity coupled with a deep intensity. The simplistic melody floats above a block chord bass, offering the pianist a chance to really 'sing' out with a cantabile touch. The theme is reversed later in the piece, the left hand taking centre stage. Fairly simple to learn, but difficult to voice, I highly recommend it.

 

For the intermediate:

Granados: Cancion de Mayo Op. 1 No. 3

A 'May Song', written by Spanish composer Enrique Granados, was published in Barcelona in 1910. This piece moves nicely and consists of a bright but highly expressive melody with a flowing left-hand accompaniment. The melody, which is essentially in the right hand, is sometimes elaborated with scalic patterns. 'May Song' gives the overall effect of joy and happiness. It comes from a collection of character pieces called 'Stories of the Young'. Granados' music is usually comfortable to play and its tuneful qualities make it a favourite amongst pianists.

 

For the advanced:

Liszt: Sonetta 104 del Petrarca

As a student, this work was one of my all-time favourites. It's not always easy to play and needs patience, but the highly-charged emotional character is conveyed through passion, agitation, drama, intensity, and ardent love; sentiments which are all typically found in Liszt's music. It's worth studying Petrarch's Sonnet on which the work is based. Originally a song, Liszt's exquisite transcription features pianistic pyrotechnics in the form of various cadenzas which swirl around the keyboard demanding finger agility and evenness. Yet it does fall under the hands effectively and it's an excellent concert piece. Not for the faint-hearted, but definitely worth the practice!

 

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For more advice from Melanie, visit her blog here