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Songbook Review: Elysium
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the songbook Elysium by Michele McLaughlin
Michele McLaughlin
2011 / Michele McLaughlin
16 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Elysium is the companion songbook to Michele McLaughlin’s 2001 CD by the same name. All sixteen pieces from the recording are included, expertly transcribed note-for-note by John Zechiel and David Shenton. Most of these pieces are quite easy and fairly short, making the collection appropriate for pianists of an intermediate to early-advanced skill level. The songs range from quiet and dreamy to fast and joyful, offering something for just about everyone and every mood. The notation is clean and easy to read, and chords are few and far between. There are no reaches of more than an octave, and most of the pieces are composed in C major or A minor (no sharps or flats in either key). In most cases, the left hand keeps a steady repeated rhythm, simplifying the timing. The lovely melodies and the fun of playing the music should provide pianists many pleasurable hours of playing. Some of my favorites from this collection are “Footprints in the Sand,” “The Journey Home,” “Learning to Forgive,” “Elysium.” and “Springtime Frolic.” All of Michele’s sheet music and songbooks are available from michelemclaughlin.com.

Below is a list of the songs in the book, listed in the order they appear on the CD. I have included the key signatures and how many sharps and flats are in those keys, the level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5 compared to Michele’s other pieces (with 1 being the easiest and 5 the most advanced), and the number of pages.

Memories of a Father - Key of C (no sharps or flats) - level 2 - 2 pages
Hearts In Sorrow - Key of A minor (no sharps or flats) - level 3 - 3 pages
Footprints In the Sand - Key of C - level 1 - 1 1/2 pages
Growing Up - Key of C - level 2 - 2 pages
The Journey Home - Key of Gb (6 flats) - level 4 - 3 pages
Holiday Magic - Key of C - level 2 - 2 pages
Canyon Winds - Key of A minor - level 3 - 3 pages
Elysium - Key of A minor - level 3 - 3 pages
An Evening With Friends - Key of C - level 2 - 2 pages
Generations - Key of D (2 sharps) - level 3 - 2 pages
The Fairies Dance - Key of C minor (3 flats) - level 3 - 3 pages
Learning to Forgive - Key of C - level 4 - 4 pages
The Welcoming - Key of C - level 1 - 2 pages
Springtime Frolic - Key of C - level 3 - 3 pages
Second Chances - Key of C - level 3 - 4 pages
Reunited - Key of C - level 3 - 4 pages
September 7, 2011
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