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Songbook Review: Autumn Moods
James Michael Stevens
Cover image of the songbook Autumn Moods by James Michael Stevens
Autumn Moods
James Michael Stevens
2020 / James M Stevens Music
58 pages / 19 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Autumn Moods songbook is the companion sheet music book for James Michael Stevens’ 2020 solo piano album by the same name. All nineteen piano solos from the album are included in the songbook and each is about three pages long. As much of Stevens’ music is, the emphasis in many of the pieces is on romance with a sweet, relaxing vibe. None of these pieces are difficult, so most pianists at an upper-intermediate playing level should have no problem mastering them. There are no reaches of more than an octave in the book and many of the pieces are single notes on both hands (rather than chords), which also makes them easier to learn and to play. The melodies are beautiful and emotionally satisfying and although dynamics and playing styles are well-marked, there is plenty of room for the pianist to play with their own expressive interpretations of the music. I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing through the whole book and can recommend it to pianists of any age.

The sheet music layout is spacious and very easy to read. None of the key signatures are difficult (see below) and the tempos are relaxed and unhurried. Metronome settings are given for each piece, and I might add that they all include “ca.” before the number, meaning that the tempo is approximate, freeing the pianist to play with the expression they feel from the music. As I mentioned, the book is very satisfying to sit and play through, easing the stresses of the times we are in and reminding us of the beauty in the world and within each of us. What could be better than that?

The complete Autumn Moods sheet music book or individual pieces are available to download from SheetMusicPlus.com. A review of the recording is coming very soon.

The title of each piece, the keys they are in and the number of pages are:

Treasured Moments - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
Dreams - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 pages
Pure Romance - Key of G (1 sharp) - 3 pages
Fall Reflections - Key of F# minor (3 sharps) - 3 pages
Pathways - Key of B minor (2 sharps) - 3 pages
Fall Serenade - Key of Eb (3 flats) / C (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
Gentle Breeze - Key of B minor D major (2 sharps) - 3 pages
A Moment of Serenity - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 3 pages
Cherished Moments - Key of A (3 sharps) - 3 pages
Forgotten Summer - Key of A (3 sharps) - 3 pages
Through the Autumn Doors - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
When Wishes Come True - Key of G (1 sharp) - 3 pages
Colors - Key of D (2 sharps) - 2 1/2 pages
Romance - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 3 pages
When the Swan Appears - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 3 pages
In the Calm Moment - Key of Bb (2 flats) - 3 pages
Sunsets of Gold - Key of A b (4 flats) - 3 pages
Voices of Twilight - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 3 pages
Starlight Romance - Key of Db (5 flats) - 3 pages
October 10, 2020
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