Piano Reflections [Mailed Score] (2016)
|Instrumentation:||Piano solo [Intermediate to Advanced]|
Description: Eight Intermediate/Advanced Compositions for Solo Piano
Premiere: "Oscillations" premiered on April 28, 2016, by John Burge, at the Yorkville Club, Toronto, ON. An article and video on this performance can be found at: Oscillations Video
Duration: Eight pieces each ranging in length from 2 to 8.5 minutes.
Publisher: Red Leaf Pianoworks/John Burge [Copyright 2016] ISMN: 979-0-9001494-1-1
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- "Prelude to a Prelude" [Dedicated to Ian Burge] - Suggested Grade 8
- "Playing Tag" [Dedicated to Jin Sandbeck and the Peel Music Festival] - Suggested Grade 7
- "Variations on a Simple Theme" [Dedicated to Janet Fathergill and the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects] - Suggested Grade 9
- "Pastels" [Dedicated to Martha Hill Duncan] - Suggested Grade 9
- "One-Note Groove" [Dedicated to Alex Nediak] - Suggested Grade 9
- "Dancing Arpeggios" [Dedicated to Leo Nediak] - Suggested Grade 10 (Etude)
- "O Canada" [Arrangement dedicated to Mary and Peter Burns] - Suggested Grade 10 (Arrangement)
- "Oscillations" [Dedicated to Art and Janet McDonald] - Suggested Diploma Level
Program Note: Piano Reflections is in some ways a follow-up to the Parking an Octatonic Truck collection in that both books include compositions that were written in the late 1990’s for use as quick-study pieces. Initially this new set was to consist of only six pieces but while assembling and editing the music, Burge was asked to write a composition for one of his colleagues at Queen’s University in honour of the university’s first Nobel Prize recipient in 2015. Although completely unanticipated at the time, the resultant tribute to Dr. Arthur McDonald titled, “Oscillations,” became this collection’s most significant work. Additionally in 2015, Adèle Barclay, a writer and former first-year harmony student of Burge’s, happened to mention his solo piano arrangement of “O Canada” in a Literary Review of Canada book critique. As this arrangement often changed character due to its improvisational underpinnings, finally putting the notes down on paper made his setting of “O Canada” another ideal addition.
In examining this collection’s pieces it seemed that many of the works have an inspirational source that reflects a preexisting composition or image. This factor lead to the set’s overall title of Piano Reflections. Further, the dedication of “Oscillations” to Art and Janet McDonald seemed to require a dedicatee for the other pieces in the collection, which by extension provided a very tangible display how a composer’s personal life can be connected to the music that they produce.
Piano Reflections Review [The Canadian Federation of Music Teacher's Association Magazine: THE CANADIAN MUSIC TEACHER, Volume 68, No. 2, January 2017, p. 39]:
Piano Reflections is a varied collection of compositions for the Intermediate and Advancing pianist. Each piece is virtuosic in its own right, and would make a wonderful addition to any student’s performance repertoire. Burge includes a diverse assortment of styles, from the neo-impressionistic Pastels to the driving and energetic One-Note Groove. This well-balanced collection contains many excellent pedaling and fingering suggestions, made by Burge himself.
Variations on a Simple Theme is a particularly attractive piece, particularly for students who are new to the form. Burge takes a simple C major scale and manipulates it creatively through diverse variation techniques within the work’s twelve variations. The piece is extremely fun to play and sounds very flashy, making it an excellent recital piece for any Level 9 student.
Dancing Arpeggios is another notable selection that is a follow-up to the Etude Dancing Scales from the RCM Level 6 Celebration Series. Burge’s arrangement of O Canada gives advanced pianists a flashy and virtuosic take on our nation’s great anthem. Finally, the collection includes Oscillations, a Diploma level selection approachable for students of any age. Utilizing elements of impressionism and minimalism intertwined with “modern” notation and exploiting the extreme registers of the instrument, Burge has created a piece that many advanced pianists will love, and be able to grow with. This collection is a welcomed addition to any advanced pianist’s repertoire.
Dr. Christine Tithecott - Ontario