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Songbook Review: Swim To America, Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)
Doug Hammer
Cover image of the songbook Swim To America, Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) by Doug Hammer
Swim To America, Vol. 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)
Doug Hammer
2024 / Dreamworld Productions
54 pages / 13 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Swim To America, Volume 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) is the companion sheet music collection for Doug Hammer's 2023 recording by the same name. All thirteen piano solos from the album are included, transcribed by Doug Hammer and proof-read by me, so I can safely say that the sheet music matches the recordings as closely as is possible.

Quoting Doug: "Time, two continents separated by a big ocean, a pandemic and the perfect alignment of circumstances organically grew a three year project which became Swim to America. I arranged my favorite songs of Stephan Eicher, breathing his voice through my fingers and making them my own."

The sheet music for all three Swim To America albums will be available over time, but currently, Vol. 1 is the only one of the series that is finished. Doug is offering the complete digital songbooks (PDF downloads) as well as individual pieces (also PDFs) on his website. He has ranked each piece as easy, intermediate or challenging where the single sheets are listed, so that will give you an idea of the difficulty of the music.

Swim To America, Volume 1 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) is my favorite of the series of three albums, and I have really enjoyed working on the sheet music as well as playing it for my own enjoyment. Pianists at an upper-intermediate to early-advanced playing level shouldn't have much trouble mastering these beautiful pieces. A few have somewhat complicated rhythms, but you can always listen to the recording to get a feel for the songs if you are not familiar with them (or just count them out as you play!).

Due to his wide hand-span, some of Doug's sheet music in other collections has a lot of reaches of a tenth that can be problematic for those of us with smaller hands, but this collection has only a few of those, and I found it very easy to handle almost all of them by letting the other hand pick up the unreachable note. Because of that, Doug and I didn't do any notations of how to compensate if you can't reach a chord as notated. It should be easy to figure out and you can mark any of them (or not) in your own way - or just roll the chords or leave out the note(s) you can't reach.

This is a really nice collection and very-well transcribed. I recommend it very highly!

The titles of the pieces, the key(s) they are in and the number of pages are:

Ce peu d'amour - Key of D (2 sharps) - 5 pages
Cendrillon après minuit - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 5 pages
Déjeuner en paix - Key of B minor (2 sharps) - 5 pages
Für Immer - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
1000 Vies - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 5 pages
Je te mentirais disant - Key of C major/A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
Manteau de gloire - Key of E (4 sharps) - 4 pages
Swim to America - Key of E (4 sharps) - 4 pages
Autour de ton cou - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 5 pages
Si tu veux (Que je chante) - Key of F# (6 sharps) - 3 pages
Djian's Waltz - Key of E (4 sharps) - 4 pages
Prisonnière - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 2 1/2 pages
Nocturne - Key of F# minor (3 sharps) - 3 pages
May 4, 2024
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