Review: Mosaic Vol. 4

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I know I evangelise about Editions Musica Ferrum publications, but they really are some of the most beautiful and adventurous books for piano on the market. Mosaic Vol. 4 is no exception, and comes as the fourth book in the popular series. This book includes 18 advanced works for solo piano by composers such as June Armstrong, Ben Crosland, Andrew Eales, Andrea Granitzio, Simon Hester, Alison Mathews, Paul Poston, Mehran Rouhani and James Welburn.

Affection from Mosaic Vol. 4

In addition to the music itself, there are paragraph-long notes for each piece giving not just background material, but useful teaching and learning points. The majority of pieces included in Mosaic Vol. 4 will suit pianists of Grade 5 and upwards, the harder ones being around Grade 7. It is particularly useful, as I said in a previous review, to have original piano works aimed at pianists progressing from intermediate to advanced level.

It’s a beautifully-curated selection of original pieces covering a whole range of styles. The book opens with a whimsical Waltz in Whatever by Ben Crosland, and at a single page, is one of the shortest pieces in the collection. I particularly enjoyed Mehran Rouhani’s ‘Affection’, subtitled Iranian Styles No. 4. It is a work which draws both player and listener into an other-worldly landscape with it’s undulating semiquavers and fleeting accidentals.

March of the Guardsmen by James Welburn

Of course, I could mention every piece, for there were none I didn’t like. Zsófia Faragó’s Variations on a Forgotten Waltz Theme is a particularly useful piece introducing players at this level to this particular musical form. Borislava Taneva’s Etude was especially fun with its fanfare-like motifs, maybe with a touch of Prokofiev. Andrew Eales’ Departures was a beautiful, heartfelt piece, in an easy and relaxed style.

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Tricky on first playing, James Welburn’s March of the Guardsmen is, for me, one of the highlights of Mosaic Vol. 4. It’s crisp, marching rhythms give a real sense of character, the triplets a perfect foil for the opening dotted rhythms. Jason Sifford’s Rondo Scherzando is a piece I can well imagine appearing on an exam syllabus, and so it should. I loved the vivacious, almost pomposo feel to the piece, with its quirky harmonies and shifting tempi.

Festival by Simon Hester

Paul Poston’s Dancing Over Neptune was another highlight of Mosaic Vol. 4, but the standout piece for me, was Simon Hester’s Festival, a cheerful, crisp and articulate celebration in G major. Not quite a march, and not quite a fanfare, but nevertheless, catchy and imaginative. Nikolas Sideris’ (who is the mastermind between Editions Musica Ferrum) Twisted Romance is great fun, with the harmonies quirkily shifting between flats and sharps, and major and minor. Imaginative and original.

Departures from Mosaic Vol. 4

Overall, I can wholeheartedly recommend this fourth volume without hesitation. The music is carefully selected, curated and original. The publisher has drawn together some of the best piano composers of our time, and Mosaic Vol. 4 is a true celebration of them. It’s great to have another collection suitable for pianists working around the higher grades, and the breadth and variety of styles is both welcome and intriguing. My only disappointment in reviewing this book, was discovering that I don’t in fact own Mosaic Vol. 3! I shall have to remedy that promptly.

Mosaic Vol. 4, is published by Editions Musica Ferrum, ISMN 9790708147763, RRP £14.00.

I was sent a review copy of these books free of charge; however, this review is my honest opinion as a teacher. You can find my Reviews Policy here.

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