Review: The Piano Player, Classical Chillout

As you may have guessed, new volumes of Faber Music’s The Piano Player series are released far quicker than I can keep up in reviewing them. The series is clearly proving popular, and justifiably so. I know that as a private music teacher here in Lichfield, my adult students in particular are enjoying the variety of music presented in this series, and this volume, Classical Chillout is no exception. The volume contains 22 ‘beautiful and relaxing pieces’ suitable for the intermediate pianist. Once again, the books are adorned with the beautiful artwork of Edward Bawden.

Gnossienne Satie
Nos by Robert Lowe from The Piano Player, Classical Chillout

One of the things I like about this series, and one of the reasons I think it’s proving so popular, is that Faber Music have struck a very welcome balance between old and new. How many books and playlists of ‘chillout piano music’ are we familiar with which merely regurgitate the same pieces over and over again? Therefore, in this volume, Classical Chillout, popular works by Einaudi, Bach, Handel, Yiruma, and Satie, sit alongside lesser-known pieces, such as those by Amy Beach, Olivia Belli, Peter Sculthorpe, and Ola Gjeilo.

Island II by Belli

I find that it’s often the case that once played, some of the pieces become instantly familiar, even if I don’t recognise the title. This was true with some of those in Classical Chillout, but on balance, there were some very welcome unfamiliar pieces which were entirely new to me. Whilst there is some crossover with other similar books, I think there is sufficient new material here to make them a worthwhile purchase.

There are some familiar contemporary favourites here: Einaudi’s ‘I Giorni’; Craig Armstrong’s ‘Balcony Scene’ from Romeo & Juliet; and Yiruma’s ‘River Flows in You’. There are familiar classical pieces too: Faure’s ‘Pavane’; Bach’s ‘Prelude in C’ BWV 846; and MacDowell’s ‘To a Wild Rose’. But to me, the most interesting pieces are those contemporary pieces which are, at least for me, less familiar. Robert Lowe’s ‘Nos’ is a nice inclusion at just a page long with some nice repeating patterns making it satisfying to play. Ola Gjeilo’s ‘Still’ (from Night) is also a pleasant addition. My absolute favourite was Olivia Belli’s ‘Island II’, both composer and piece new to me. There’s something lovely in that amongst the more familiar pieces, both old and new, there is still plenty in the way of new, contemporary works to discover and explore.

Review: The Piano Player, Classical Chillout

Once again, these books are beautifully presented, and the gorgeous artwork allows them to sit at a level where they make very pleasing gifts. I know that lots of pianists are enjoying collecting the series, and at present, there seems to be little shortage of new pieces, different ideas, and varying collection titles to draw on. At a recommended retail price of just £9.99, these are outstanding value for money. Classical Chillout offers pianists of intermediate level a varied range of old and new pieces, all designed to relax and refresh.

[This post contains affiliate links]

The Piano Player, Classical Chillout, is published by Faber Music, ISBN 9780571542031, RRP £9.99.

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.

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