Favorite Icon, Full size
Songbook Review: Italian Preludes, Nos. 1-8
James Michael Stevens
Cover image of the songbook Italian Preludes, Nos. 1-8 by James Michael Stevens
Italian Preludes, Nos. 1-8
James Michael Stevens
2020 / James M Stevens Music
25 pages / 8 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Italian Preludes, Nos. 1-8 is the companion sheet music book for James Michael Stevens’ 2020 album by the same name. Stevens explains the inspiration for the music: “I wrote all these within a month's time around from March 30 till the middle of April when all of our current circumstances were mounting. Particularly my heart ached from the horrible stories coming out of Italy. I wrote these in homage to this great country where so much of our classical music comes from. There are various moods in the pieces from introspective, bleak, sad to romantic, nostalgic and sentimental.” The pieces are indeed quite varied in mood and style, from neo-classical to almost ambient. None of them are at all difficult and all are quite short, making them excellent teaching material for piano students of any age. More advanced pianists will enjoy the expressive quality of the music and the story each piece tells of this difficult time in our history.

The scores are very well-spaced and easy to read. There are no complicated key signatures and the timing is straight-forward and easy to count. Expression and dynamics are clear and plentiful, and each piece has the metronome setting(s) given. Phrasing is also indicated. There aren’t any pedal markings, but clearing the dampers once a measure works perfectly, so they really aren’t at all needed. This is a very beautiful collection of eight piano solos suitable for pianists at an intermediate playing level and above, and any age group. I thoroughly enjoyed playing all eight preludes a couple of times and whole-heartedly recommend this songbook. It is available for download at SheetMusicPlus.com.

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

“Italian Prelude No. 1: Quietened Thoughts” - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 2: Dark Waters” - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 3: Tuscany Fields” - Key of D minor (1 flat)/ D major (2 sharps) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 4: Italian Shores” - Key of D (2 sharps)/ F (1 flat) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 5: Silent Coliseum” - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 6: Lullabies Forgotten” - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 7: Beautiful Were the Times” - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 3 pages
“Italian Prelude No. 8: Italiano Notterno” - Key of A minor (0) - 3 pages
May 19, 2020
More reviews of James Michael Stevens songbooks