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Songbook Review: February
James Michael Stevens
Cover image of the songbook February by James Michael Stevens
James Michael Stevens
2021 / James M Stevens Music
64 pages / 21 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
February is the companion sheet music book for James Michael Stevens' 2021 solo piano album by the same name. All twenty-one piano solos from the recording are included, notated by this amazingly prolific composer. Stevens writes out his music before he records it and then plays from the sheet music as he records, ensuring a match. As is true of much of Stevens' music, none of these pieces are difficult, but they invite expressive playing and provide a very satisfying hour at the piano (playing the songbook from beginning to end). As would be expected of a collection of pieces about the month of February, some of the music is dreamy, some has a little chill on it, and some is quite cozy and romantic. It's a beautiful collection and I really enjoyed my time playing it from cover to cover.

Dr. James Michael Stevens is the Chairperson of the Music Department at Welch College in Tennessee and obviously has a great deal of experience as a music educator. His notation and layout are clean, well-spaced and easy to read, and each piece includes metronome settings, dynamics, phrasing and clear expression markings that are easy to understand and relate to. Dr. Stevens' sheet music is very suitable for teaching material - especially for teens and adults who would appreciate the expressive nature of his music. It is also excellent for teaching younger students to be descriptive in their playing so that others can "get" what they are trying to say with their music.

The February songbook is available as a PDF download from SheetMusicPlus.com. Recommended!

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

Time Lost In Sunset Skies - Key of C - 3 pages
Night Birds - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
Mist of the Quiet Morning - Key of Bb (2 flats) - 3 pages
Sails that Blow in the Breeze - Key of A (3 sharps) - 3 pages
Quiet Dreams - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
Little Prelude in D Major - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
Winter Nocturne - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 3 pages
February Serenade - Key of Bb (2 flats) - 3 pages
Softly Falls the Snow on a WInter's Night- Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
Someday - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 pages
Come Now to Me My Love - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
Contemplation in D minor - Key of D minor (1 flat)/ D major (2 sharps) - 3 pages
As The Winter Winds Pass - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 3 pages
Quiet Pathways - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
Every Little Dream - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
Reflection by Mirage Lake - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 3 pages
Red Sunset - Key of C minor (3 flats) - 3 pages
Peaceful Prelude - Key of F (1 flat) - 3 pages
Pink and Purple Skies - Key of Bb (2 flats) / Db (5 flats) - 3 pages
Quiet Morning Reflection - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 2 1/2 pages
Sunset Song - Key of A (3 sharps) - 3 pages
September 8, 2021
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