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Songbook Review: Transitions
David Hicken
Cover image of the songbook Transitions by David Hicken
David Hicken
2018 / Enchanting Music
104 pages / 12 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Transitions is the companion sheet music book to David Hicken’s 2018 solo piano recording by the same name. Transcribed by the composer himself, all of the scores are note-for-note what Hicken is playing on the recordings, and because Hicken is a master of the piano keyboard, these pieces are not easy. They are not impossible by any means, so most competent pianists should be able to master them with some time and practice. I really like the mix of bold, fast, dramatic pieces with a few that are more delicate and lyrical. Harkening back to Hicken’s days as a classical organist, the influence of JS Bach shines through in much of this music, the culmination being Hicken’s magnificent arrangement of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.” Piano teachers who are looking for music for their more advanced students would do well with this book, as would pianists who would like some adventurous new music to play.

The book itself is spiral-bound and printed on a bright white paper stock. There are only a few reaches of more than an octave, and Hicken included fingering in spots where it is especially helpful. Metronome settings are included, as are pedaling instructions and suggestions. The notation is well-spaced and easy to read. Hicken prefers to use the traditional Italian for most of his playing instructions, so be prepared to use a music dictionary (or the internet) from time to time. I am enjoying this book so much that I’m thinking of playing one or two pieces from it at my own student recital coming up. Transitions is available as a printed book or as a download (the whole book or individual pieces) from DavidHicken.com. Very highly recommended!

The pieces, the keys they are in and the number of pages are:

The Voyage - Key of C (0 sharps or flats)/ Ab (4 flats)/ F (1 flat) - 9 pages
Cerca Trova - Key of C minor (3 flats)/ C# minor (4 sharps)/ E minor (1 sharp)- 7 pages
Nampara - Key of Bb minor (5 flats)/ B minor (2 sharps) - 7 pages
Angkor - Key of B minor (2 sharps)/ B major (5 sharps) - 8 pages
Toccata and Fugue in D minor - D minor (1 flat) - 13 pages
Akashvani - Key of Eb (3 flats)/ C minor (3 flats)/ C (0)/ 5 pages
Oenomaus - Key of D minor (1 flat)/ G minor (2 flats)/ C minor (3 flats) - 10 pages
Divergent - Key of Bb (2 flats)/ G (1 sharp)/ C (0)/ Ab (4 flats) - 7 pages
Wrottesley Hall - Key of F# (6 sharps)/ A# minor (7 sharps)/ E minor (1 sharp)/ D (2 sharps) - 12 pages
Requiescat - Key of Eb (3 flats)/ Ab (4 flats) - 5 pages
Prime Meridian - Key of C minor (3 flats)/ Bb minor (5 flats)/ D minor (1 flat)/ E minor (1 sharp) - 8 pages
Kaivalya - Key of C# minor (4 sharps)/ D minor (1 flat) - 12 pages
May 27, 2018
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