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Songs Without Words.

Songs Without Words, by Christos Tsitsaros. Hal Leonard Corporation (7777 W. Bluemound Rd., P. O. Box 13819 Milwaukee, W153213), 2004. 39pp. $7.95. Late-intermediate--early-advanced.

This imaginative collection is a fresh addition to the late-intermediate piano repertoire that will motivate students with its beautiful sounds and emotional appeal.

Christos Tsitsaros has purposefully written this music to present students with "the kinds of challenges that are present in the late-intermediate and early-advanced literature of the great piano masters." Although these works are teaching pieces, they are musically satisfying. Written in the tradition and style of romantic character pieces, they use a rich harmonic vocabulary; they are in small-scale ABA form; they convey contrasting moods and use evocative titles; and, very importantly, the composer's adept handling of the musical and technical elements makes these pieces accessible to students without a sense of "writing down" to them.

The opening piece, "A Winter Fable," is immediately appealing with its spacious open writing, giving ample opportunity for balanced phrasing and dynamic shading between the sequenced patterns. "Scherzo" requires lightness in fingerwork and pedaling. The wide dynamic range with sudden changes, detailed pedal indications and passages of finger legato make "Searching" one of the more challenging pieces in the collection. "Mirage" effectively incorporates a continuous bass rhythmic ostinato. "On the Wings of a Song" is a small toccato with alberti-like accompaniment figuration that must be balanced against the melody. The delightful "Milonga De Los Ninos" contains a repetitive Latin style dance rhythm. The toccato-like B section of "Sounds of the Rain" is framed by contrasting A sections of gentle patterns with an Asian flavor.

From pre-college students to adult players, for private or recital settings, this poetic music will entertain and satisfy.

Virginia Houser, NCTM, Manhattan, Kansas.
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Author:Houser, Virginia
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:290
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