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20th Century American Composers, Intermediate Level Piano and 20th Century American Composers, Upper Intermediate Level Piano.

20th Century American Composers, Intermediate Level Piano and 20th Century American Composers, Upper Intermediate Level Piano, by various composers. G. Schirmer, Inc., 2015.; 72 and 96 pp. each, $10.99 and $12.99.

20th Century American Composers, distributed by Hal Leonard, includes two new compilations of intermediate-level and upper-intermediate-level piano compositions. The works featured in both books include single and multi-movement pieces by various composers and are arranged in alphabetical order. These collections also include brief reference notes about each composer, including birth and death years, title of the work(s) and historical background.

The intermediate-level piano collection features 41 works by nine composers: Denes Agay, George Antheil, Samuel Barber, Paul Creston, David Diamond, William Gillock, Morton Gould, Alan Hovhaness and Robert Muczynski. The piano repertoire included can be utilized in both the performance setting and in the piano studio. Ranging from the more accessible multi-movement work "At the Piano--Book I" by Gould to the rhythmically and harmonically complex "Five Little Dances" by Creston, this volume offer a wonderful range of piano repertoire.

For students at a late-intermediate and early-advanced level, the upper-intermediate compilation offers slightly more challenging works. Featuring 27 pieces by composers Barber, Dave Brubeck, Norman Dello Joio, Charles Griffes, Muczynski, Alexander Tcherepnin, William Schuman and Virgil Thomson, the featured repertoire makes for a nice progression from the previous volume. Barber's "Fresh from West Chester (Some Jazzings)" is among the works featured, and would make for a nice addition to a recital program, with humorous movement titles "Poison Ivy" and "Let's Sit it Out: I'd Rather Watch."

Both collections feature an engaging variety of repertoire and can serve as auxiliary tools for intermediate students who are seeking an introduction to 20th-century repertoire. Whether piano teachers are looking to have their students build on their understanding of harmony and rhythm, or simply expand repertoire, both volumes are an effective means for continued study.--Reviewed by Rochelle Sennet, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Author:Sennet, Rochelle
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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