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“Russian Piano Music“ Volume I [SIK 2409]

During the course of nearly three decades, the German version of the “Russian Piano School“ has developed into a standard work for piano instruction. The work, edited by Julia Suslin, is published in two volumes (SIK 2353 and SIK 2354) and a supplement (SIK 2379). The “Russian Piano School“ is available either with or without audio CDs on which the pieces contained within are recorded.

In order to satisfy the great demand for piano literature of this kind, the first volume of the “Russian Piano Music“ (SIK 2409) has been compiled with easy to moderately difficult pieces by composers of Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. The compilation of this edition, which is in no way understood to be a piano method but rather a collection of pieces to expand the repertoire, was undertaken under consideration of the following criteria:

· The degree of difficulty is orientated on the second volume of the “Russian Piano School“ and attains the level of the supplementary volume with the more demanding pieces.

· Attractiveness of sound, formal transparency and good comprehensibility of the pieces are paramount. Multi-movement works have been dispensed with.

· The present selection of pieces presents piano music from Russia and the former Soviet republics in comprehensive breadth. This applies both to the time period (from Mikhail Glinka to Sofia Gubaidulina; from Peter Tchaikovsky, Reinhold Glière and Alexander Gödicke to Alfred Schnittke) and to the variety of different musical traditions in the different regions (from Eino Tamberg to Arno Babadjanian; from Otar Taktakishvili to Balys Dvarionas).

· In addition, the collection includes pieces by composers who are little known in the West who made a name for themselves in the former Soviet Union due to their sonorous compositions for children and youths, such as Vladislav Agafonnikov, Vartan Tigranian, Levko Kolodub and Andrei Sevastianov.

· Within the collection, the pieces are progressively arranged according to technical difficulties, scale and musical complexity. A chronological arrangement has been dispensed with, after careful consideration, so as to elucidate the musical variety through direct contrasting of older and contemporary composers. In this manner, the natural co-existence of modern and traditional musical languages will become a matter of course for young players.

· Alongside technical and musical considerations, the arrangement of the pieces was also motivated by contextual considerations. Thus, for example, compositions depicting an experience of nature (“forest“, “rain“) are presented in relation to one another. Other couplings in regard to content are found in subjects such as “times of the day“, “seasons“, etc.

· Moreover, it also proved viable to create references on the formal level by grouping together certain form contrasts (toccata, variation) or stylistic units (dances and works coloured by folklore).


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