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Songbook Review: Encounters of the Beautiful Kind
Rachel LaFond
Cover image of the songbook Encounters of the Beautiful Kind by Rachel LaFond
Encounters of the Beautiful Kind
Rachel LaFond
2018 / Rachel LaFond
56 pages / 11 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Encounters of the Beautiful Kind is the companion songbook to Rachel LaFond’s 2018 album by the same name. All eleven piano solos are included, transcribed and edited by LaFond with some of the transcriptions by John Zechiel. LaFond is a very accomplished pianist, but these pieces are not overly difficult. Expressive and melodic, they are mostly on the slower, more graceful side and most pianists at an early-advanced playing level should have little or no trouble learning them (with some practice - they aren’t simple!). The music was inspired by the ups and downs of being a stranger in a new country and explores the various emotions we all experience at different times in our lives. Often thoughtful, reflective and nostalgic, this is music that is easy to get lost in while playing it on the piano.

The book itself is beautifully done. The front and back covers are printed on a heavy glossy paper stock with a full-color reproduction of the album artwork on the front and a full-color photo of Rachel, a quote from one of the reviews of her album, and a description of the music on the back. The book is in the traditional 9”x12” format and is staple-bound. The scores are very well laid-out and well-spaced with the notation in an easy-to-read size that is clear and concise. The paper is a little heavier than most songbooks, but it does not make page turns more difficult. Each piece includes metronome settings along with plenty of playing instructions and dynamics. Fingering is sparse, but is noted in critical areas, which is very helpful. There are a few reaches of more than an octave, but not many. Not all of the contemporary songbooks include phrasing, but this one does - something I appreciate when I’m teaching the music to my piano students. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this songbook and look forward to going back and learning some of my favorites. The songbook is available in printed form or as a download from www.RachelLaFond.com. Very highly recommended!

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

Luminous - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 7 pages
Your Beauty Calls Me - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats)/ C minor (3 flats) - 6 pages
Heart Full of Memories - Key of B minor (2 sharps) / D minor (1 flat) - 4 pages
Tears For Catalunya - Key of A minor - 4 pages
You Will Conquer This Shadow - Key of Eb minor/Gb major (6 flats) - 6 pages
Love’s Labour’s Never Lost - Key of B minor - 6 pages
The Questions Your Heart Asks - Key of Bb minor (5 flats)- 5 pages
Don’t Cry, Calvin - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
Unrestrained Joy - Key of B minor - 5 pages
Shout To the Sun - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 5 pages
A Knight’s Journey - Key of Bb minor - 4 pages
July 24, 2018
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