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Echoes, Pictures, Riddles, and Tales for Piano Solo.

Echoes, Pictures, Riddles, and Tales for Piano Solo, by Martin Kutnowski. The FJH Music Company Inc. (Westport Business Park, 2525 Davie Rd., Ste. 360, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33317), 2005. 32 pp. $5.50.

This creative collection of pieces by Martin Kutnowski fulfills the objectives of The FJH Contemporary Keyboard Editions. As stated in the opening pages, the intention of Echoes, Pictures, Riddles, and Tales for Piano Solo is to focus on music written during the late-20th and early-21st centuries, for the elementary through advanced piano student. The pieces written for this collection were originally composed for Kutnowski's students during his early years as a teacher. He exposes students to contemporary compositional techniques that encourage technical control, expression and creativity. Kutnowski presents descriptive titles with detailed and clear musical indications to assist the student with recreating each individual piece. Titles such as "Trumpets," "Echo," "Mist," "Stubborn and Cranky," "El Gallo Pinto" and "Galloping on the Ranch," are found in the first half of the collection. The colors, articulation, phrasing and pedaling indications given in these elementary-level pieces will provide a fun playing experience for the student and a great teaching opportunity for the teacher.

The pieces become progressively more challenging both technically and rhythmically as Echoes, Pictures, Riddles, and Tales for Piano Solo journeys through its 21 compositions. "Tutu Maramba," a traditional Brazilian lullaby marked "tenderly," requires the student to carefully listen as the right and left hand tenderly sing and shape the lullaby. The expressive "Barcarolla" follows as a study in 6/8 and legato thirds. The final four pieces provide the greatest challenges for the early-intermediate student: "Bumpy Country Road" (ostinato walking bass line), "Boogie-woogie" (in 12/8 with an optional improvisation like solo line), "Milonga in G Minor" (a catchy rhythmic piece in 8/8) and "Tango in C Minor" (everything you would expect in a tango), will be loved by both your teen students and adult hobbyists.

Kutnowski's creative and pedagogically sound writing will work well in the private studio, as well as in group piano classes. This would be great fun for a group class or summer camp that focuses on music written by composers who are alive today. Also, for teachers incorporating technology in their studios, exploring different instrument options and rhythm for the pieces may encourage students to create their own music. Reviewed by Debra Perez, McAllen, Texas.
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Author:Perez, Debra
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Previous Article:Elementary Rudiments of Music and Elementary Rudiments of Music (Answer Book), Revised editions.
Next Article:Music by Me: A Composition Workbook, vol. 3.

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