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Songbook Review: Works For Solo Piano
Eric Chapelle
Cover image of the songbook Works For Solo Piano by Eric Chapelle
Works For Solo Piano
Eric Chapelle
2024 / Universal Edition
62 pages / 12 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Works For Solo Piano is the companion sheet music book for Eric Chapelle's 2024 recording by the same name. All twelve pieces from the recording are included, and the full songbook can be purchased as a PDF download or a printed book. (I played the music from a PDF download using my 8 1/2" x 11" iPad and found it to be very clear and easy to read.) Four of the tracks - "In The Presence of Beauty," "Place in Landscape - Moulin de Senlis," "Reflection #1," and "Transformation" - can also be purchased separately. (If you are in the USA, please note that the publisher is in Vienna, Austria, so the postage is higher and it will take a bit longer for the music to arrive than it would from an outlet in the US.)

Most of the twelve pieces are very slow and are more ambient than melodic, but that doesn't mean the music is simple to play. Pianist Michelle Schumann, a Professor of Music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, recorded the music, and I quoted Eric Chapelle in my review of the album:

"I felt that having a classically trained pianist read the notations and then interpret the works would greatly enhance the music for the listener's enjoyment....Michelle and I worked for three years on this project. And during that time, I was influenced to write new compositions with her in mind. Michelle's astonishing ability to take on any technical challenges pushed me to write in a different way."

Overall, I would rate most of the pieces at an early-advanced to advanced playing level. Some of the rhythms are complex, a few pieces have several key signature changes, and the expressive nature of the music calls for a pianist who can bring out those musical colors and emotions. It will be well-worth the time to practice and master these lovely pieces, but expect some challenges along the way!

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

Place in Landscape (Baga Beach) - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 7 pages
In the Presence of Beauty - Key of F minor (4 flats), Db major (5 flats), E minor (1 sharp), A minor (0 sharps or flats), E major (4 sharps), C major (0) - 4 pages
First Light - Key of Ab/F minor (4 flats) - 3 pages
(Fall) Leaves falling on a gray day - Key of F# minor (3 sharps), Gb (6 flats), F# minor/ A major (3 sharps) - 5 pages
Transformation - Key of D (2 sharps), Eb (3 flats) - 7 pages
Place in Landscape - Moulin de Senlis - Key of A minor (0), Eb minor (6 flats), Db (5 flats), Eb (3 flats) - 12 pages
Full Circle - Key of A minor (0/ C major) - 6 pages
Prelude in C# Minor (In Remembrance) - Key of E major/ C# minor (4 sharps) - 4 pages
Reflection No. 1 - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
Nocturne No. 1 - Key of D flat (5 sharps) - 3 pages
Contemplation from a Distance - Key of A minor (0) - 2 pages
Dusk to Dawn - Key of A minor (0) - 2 pages
March 22, 2024