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Songbook Review: Reflections & Recollections, Volume 2
Mark John McEncroe
Cover image of the songbook Reflections & Recollections, Volume 2 by Mark John McEncroe
Reflections & Recollections, Volume 2
Mark John McEncroe
2014 / Wirripang Pty Ltd.
67 pages / 11 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Reflections and Recollections, Volume 2 is the companion sheet music book to the recording with the same title by Australian composer Mark John McEncroe. All eleven pieces from the recording are included and they are sequenced in the same playing order as the album. The book is spiral bound, printed on a medium-weight bright white paper stock, and has full-color covers front and back. The book includes a copy of the CD for reference and enjoyment. Categorized as “classical,” the book is subtitled “Musical Images For Piano.” The composer regards his pieces as “musical paintings” that evoke images and experiences from his past, and he uses his Japanese garden as the setting for his music. McEncroe’s music often employs complex harmonies and rhythms that will likely be difficult for less-experienced pianists. Like the music of many of the French Impressionist composers, these pieces are often dreamy and without a definite melodic line, creating colorful images that will mean different things to different listeners and players.

There is a very appealing variety of pieces within this book. My own favorites to play are the spirited “Dance of the Pagans,” “Cindy’s Song,” “A Penny For Your Thoughts,” and “Floating Lillies.” The notation is well-spaced and clear. I did find several places where the notes are impossible to play as written with reaches of 2 1/2 octaves. It’s not a major issue, but will require either huge hands or some pencil edits. There is much to enjoy in this songbook, and I recommend it to pianists at an early-advanced playing level and higher. It is currently available only from Wirripang Pty Ltd in Australia.

The pieces, the keys they are in, and the number of pages are:

Nocturnal Images - Key of Bb (2 flats)/Eb (3 flats) - 10 pages
Fading Memories - Key of D (2 sharps) - 4 pages
Dance of the Pagans - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 5 pages
Natalie’s Theme - Key of E (4 sharps) - 3 pages
A Rainy Summer’s Day - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
Fleeting Images - Key of E (4 sharps) - 3 pages
Cindy’s Song - Key of A (3 sharps) - 4 pages
A Penny For Your Thoughts - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 5 pages
Daybreak - Key of Ab (4 flats)/ C (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
Floating Lillies - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 8 pages
Shimmering Lights - Key of D (2 sharps) - 12 pages
May 30, 2016
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