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Songbook Review: Origins Collection
Matt Johnson
Cover image of the songbook Origins Collection by Matt Johnson
Origins Collection
Matt Johnson
2018 / Dolce & Nuit
165 pages / 17 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Origins Collection solo piano songbook is the companion sheet music book to Matt Johnson’s 2000 recording Origins. The seventeen pieces were composed over a period from the mid-1980’s to the later 1990’s and were compiled into book-form in 2018. There is a lot of variety in the music with strong classical and jazz influences. Many pieces are rhythmically complex and some are quite showy with fast runs, trills and other advanced keyboard /piano techniques. There are only a few pieces that I would consider to be at a less than early-advanced or advanced playing level, so plan on spending some practice time to master this music.

This collection is available as PDF downloads of the whole book or individual pieces. The notation is clear and roomy, making it easy to read. Trickier passages include fingering and most of the pieces have pedal markings and metronome settings (only the more rubato pieces do not have an “MM.”) Most have chord charts, and all have clear expression and dynamics. Pianists with smaller hands will be happy to know that there are only a few reaches of more than an octave.

If you are printing out one piece at a time, this shouldn’t be a problem, but when I was printing all 165 pages, several pages hit the floor in the process. There are page numbers for each piece, but not for the book itself. The titles are only on the first page of each piece so getting the loose pages to match up to the songs they belong to was a bit of a puzzle. This isn’t a major complaint, by any means - just something to be aware of. It would also be helpful to have “8vb” markings on some of the really low bass notes as many are hard to read without stopping to figure them out.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable book to play! The book and individual pieces are available for free from www.MattJohnsonMusic.com. They are also available on SheetMusic.com for a nominal charge. 

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

Reassurance - Key of G (1 sharp) - 8 pages
Noah’s Theme - Key of Ab (4 flats)/ C (0 sharps or flats) - 8 pages
Cannes - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 11 pages
Thirty-Two - Key of Ab/ F minor (4 flats) - 10 pages
klmn - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 12 pages
Windchimes - Key of G (1 sharp) - 12 pages
Origins - Key of B (5 sharps)/ Cb (7 flats) - 24 pages
So Good To Me - Key of F (1 flat) - 10 pages
Remarkable - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 6 pages
ROAR - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 14 pages
My Thoughts Are With You (Little One) - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 6 pages
Caitlin’s Lullaby - Key of D (2 sharps) - 4 pages
A Wedding Gift - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) / D minor (1 flat) - 12 pages
Sambinha - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 9 pages
Morning Sun - Key of D (2 sharps) - 6 pages
Transitions - Key of G (1 sharp) - 9 pages
Simple - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 2 pages
March 11, 2019
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