Review: Piano Postcards (Nancy Litten)

Nancy Litten’s Piano Postcards, subtitled ’12 Recital Piano Works Inspired by Travel’, is an imaginative collection of diverse pieces reflecting the diversity of the people and places around the world in which we live. Nancy has drawn on her many years’ experience as an international examiner for ABRSM, and the pieces here clearly evoke memories of some of the places she’s been and people she’s met. The pieces are described as a ‘colourful collection’, and in some ways, this is a perfect description.

Transylvania by Nancy Litten

Piano Postcards, published by EVC Music, contains 12 pieces, particularly aimed at students preparing for concerts and recitals where the theme might be ‘music from around the world’. The pieces are aimed at students of around Grades 3-5 standard, and usefully, are presented in a rough order of progressive difficulty. They also introduce pianists to drones, modes, scales and styles from around the world. There is a short and very welcome note for each piece in which Nancy gives a little background information, along with any particular technical or musical points of note. These are as useful for students as they are for teachers.

Rajarata by Nancy Litten

The book opened with the mechanical ‘Robots Go Clubbing’, influenced by the technological advances in Japan. This piece requires real skill in maintaining the ostinato-type LH accompaniment. ‘The Penguin Party’ is full of character and requires some degree of skill in balancing the melody and accompaniment. I very much enjoyed the longing ‘Connemara’ with is strong Irish soul, as well as the quintessentially English ‘Willows in the Water’.

To keep up-to-date with news and updates, and to receive my monthly newsletter, Tuned In, full of content exclusive to subscribers, scroll down to add your name and email address below, or click here.

There’s some really imaginative, and often surprising, writing here, found especially in ‘Mosquito and Me’ and ‘Transylvania’. All the pieces take the player on a beautifully evocative worldwide journey in sound. There is plenty of opportunity for characterful and musical expression, much of which is to be derived from the clear use of articulation. Pedalling is also useful marked, including where it is not required, and the fingering suggestions are pertinent and logical. Whilst I think these pieces will appeal to all ages, I think children will derive the most fun from them (which seems a strange thing to say, but was my gut feeling when played through).

Piano Postcards blurb by Nancy Litten
Bumpy Horse Trail by Nancy Litten

It would have been useful to have the country to which each piece relates given with the music itself, rather than having the flick back to the index, but this is a very minor criticism. These imaginative pieces will require the utmost precision and musicality to really pull them off, but where students do, they will impress and amuse audiences in equal measure. A colourful and imaginative collection offering a whirlwind tour of some of the world’s most vivid locations.

You can listen to the pieces on the EVC Music website here.

[This post contains affiliate links]

Piano Postcards: 12 Recital Piano Works Inspired by Travel by Nancy Litten, is published by EVC Music, ISBN 9781911359449, RRP £10.00

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

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider supporting my work by buying me a virtual coffee. You can do this from as little as £2 and it enables me continue creating and developing new content, services and products. Your support is much appreciated.

You can also support my work by connecting with me online

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube

Pin for later:

Review: Piano Postcards (Nancy Litten) - Pinterest Graphic