New Publications in Piano Pedagogy

New Publications in Piano Pedagogy

True to its seven-decade-old tradition, UMP Editio Musica Budapest is further developing its series of publications for music learners and young people. Recently, two piano collections have appeared, in which prominent contemporary composers turn to young musicians in an instructive yet entertaining form.

Imre Mező (born 1932) composed several popular works for children and young people studying music. His most recent collection, Miss Melody’s Wardrobe, is extraordinary in that all the 153 tiny pieces are based on the same Hungarian folk song, offering a myriad of ways and options of presenting and elaborating the same melody without altering it. The variations are grouped by key and, within each chapter, are placed in order of difficulty. In so doing, the composer offers, as piano teacher Erika Becht writes, ''two ways for teachers and pupils to know and try out the many musical and technical variations (such as augmenting, diminishing, canon, melody pairs, etc.). This can be done within the same key, in order of difficulty, or by using the scope of the music to find the right degree of difficulty, and advancing through the key signatures, so developing pupils' ability and sense of security in reading a score by playing in various keys.'' This publication is not only recommended to beginners or more advanced pupils undergoing traditional musical tuition, but also to those interested in the secrets of composition and musical structures.

György Orbán (born 1947) is among the most frequently performed contemporary Hungarian composers. His style incorporates a characteristic mix of classical, modern, cinematic, and jazz elements. In addition, he claims he ''loves splashing about in tonality'', which makes his works accessible to the wider public. Owing to his humour and imagination, he finds an easy path to children, as demonstrated by the popularity of his piano works specifically intended for beginners.

According to the composer, Veni, Sol! is ''a collection of performance pieces for pianists with more advanced technical skills.'' This selection is based primarily on a 48-piece series entitled Seasons, composed in the early 2000s, but some earlier compositions have been also included in the volume. One critic wrote of Seasons: ''In spite of their seeming simplicity, these are strikingly well-written pieces in which the composer is aware of the extent to which he can work on his raw material, these themes and soundings that often suggest the simplicity of an object found.'' The ingenious simplicity and the consistently handy use of the instrument give these pieces the potential to be a favourit of advanced piano players.