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Songbook Review: Stories From Portugal
Suzanne Herman
Cover image of the songbook Stories From Portugal by Suzanne Herman
Stories From Portugal
Suzanne Herman
2021 / Suzanne Herman
54 pages / 11 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Stories From Portugal is the companion sheet music book for Suzanne Herman's 2021 album by the same name. All eleven of the piano solos from the recording are included and range in playing difficulty from late intermediate to early advanced. The music was inspired by a trip throughout Portugal in 2019 and celebrates the natural beauty of the area, the friendliness of the Portuguese people, and their rich cultural traditions. There is a very pleasant variety in the music where some of the pieces are very slow and peaceful and others are more spirited and lively. It's a fun and beautifully expressive songbook to play and I've really enjoyed my time with it.

Suzanne Herman is a very accomplished pianist herself as well as a longtime music educator, so these pieces are very carefully scored with fingering where passages are tricky, phrasing for all of the pieces, and clearly-marked dynamics and tempo changes. The notation is clear, roomy and easy to read, and the printed books are spiral-bound for easier page turning and keeping the book on the piano while playing! None of the pieces are in difficult keys, and there are no reaches of more than an octave. This is an excellent book for teaching advancing students and for pianists looking for some moderately advanced music to enjoy.

For more information about the individual pieces, be sure to check out my review of the recording, too. The link is to the left of this review. The songbook and individual pieces are available in print or to download from SuzanneHerman.com and SheetMusicPlus.com.

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

Coimbra's Legacy - Key of A (3 sharps) - 6 1/2 pages
Ancient Tapestries of Lamego - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
Raymond's Theme - Key of D (2 sharps) - 7 pages
Canyons of the Douro River - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 1/2 pages
Calcada Portuguesa - Key of G (1 sharp) - 4 1/2 pages
Journeys, Encounters, and Unanswered Questions - Key of F minor (4 flats)/ F# (3 sharps) - 6 pages
A Conversation Under the Stars - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 5 1/2 pages
Approaching Sea Fog - Key of C/ Bb (2 flats) - 2 1/2 pages
Bread Maker's Dance - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 1/2 pages
Evening Lights and Daytime Shadows - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 4 pages
Sparkling Iberian Sun - Key of C - 3 pages
April 13, 2022