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Songbook Review: Selections From Winter III
Ryan Marvel
Cover image of the songbook Selections From Winter III by Ryan Marvel
Selections From Winter III
Ryan Marvel
2023 / Ryan Marvel Music
42 pages / 10 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Selections From Winter III songbook is the companion sheet music collection for Ryan Marvel's 2023 solo piano album, Winter III. Available as a printed book as well as a PDF download, ten of the sixteen pieces from the album are included. The printed books are spiral-bound in the traditional 9"x12" format and printed on a bright white medium-weight paper. The notation is large and very easy to read - even for those of us with "older" eyes! (Thanks, Ryan!) One of the things that makes this songbook especially nice is that each piece has a paragraph at the top of the first page with Ryan's thoughts and suggestions for playing the music. This can be a huge help in getting the music to sound more like Ryan's recording. The book also includes an "About Ryan" page so you can get better acquainted with the artist. I love the cover artwork from the CD, and the songbook cover has a bigger version of the same photo (even if you never play the music, the book will always look great on the piano!).

Most of the arrangements are fairly slow. "I Saw Three Ships" is the longest and liveliest piece, but the repeated chords and patterns on both hands make it easier to play. Overall, I would put the songbook at an upper-intermediate/early-advanced playing level. A couple of things to "note":

- A few of the songs have notes with as many as six leger lines rather than the 8va sign. Most are in a progression that is fairly easy to follow, but if those notes are beyond what you can read easily, marking them in pencil will prevent you from having to stop and figure out what the notes are as you're playing.
- There are several places with chords that are tenths. Not all of us have that wide of a reach, but Ryan has noted alternatives in most places where those occur, and I found that I could play some of those notes in the bass clef with my right thumb.

This is a really nice songbook, and I'm sure I'll be playing a lot of these pieces again during the holidays! The printed books as well as digital books and individual pieces are available from Ryan Marvel's website. Individual pieces are also available to download from SheetMusicPlus.com and SheetMusicDirect.com. Highly recommended!

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

Deck the Hall - Key of D (2 sharps) - 4 pages
Noel Nouvelet (Sing We Now of Christmas) - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 5 pages
Do You Hear What I Hear? - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 5 pages
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Key of G (1 sharp)/ Eb (3 flats)/ F (1 flat) - 3 pages
I Wonder As I Wander - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
I Saw Three Ships - Key of G (1 sharp) - 6 pages
The Holly and the Ivy - Key of B (5 sharps) - 5 pages
O Little Town of Bethlehem - Key of F (1 flat) - 2 pages
Ave Maria - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 3 pages

The pieces from the album that were not included in the book are: "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," "Il est ne, le divin Enfant,""Once in Royal David's City," and the three-movement "Winter Solstice Miniatures for Cello and Piano."
December 1, 2023
This songbook has been tagged as:
Holiday SongbooksHoliday Songbooks 2023
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