"The Fire Dance Duo
is a piece
of strong character and vitality with a propulsive
rhythmic energy that will engage players and listeners alike."
Rosenbaum, pianist (Faculty member, New England Conservatory,
Mannes College of Music, former Director of the Longy School
: Piano Journal
, Issue 88 2009, European Piano Teachers' Association, EPTA
The Ringmaster and Other Circus Music
by Donna Gross Javel: ISBN 978-0-9800476-1-5, $3.95
by Donna Gross Javel: ISBN 978-0-9800476-2-2, $5.95
"These two new sets of pieces are refreshingly short and sweet with just a few pieces in each. The Ring Master and Other Circus Music
is broadly in five-finger positions with a few chromatic alterations imparting added interest to the music. The Carousel
is a happy waltz and The Ring Master
has the grand and exciting pzazz of the opening of the circus. The finale piece is The Famous Bouncing Ball Act
, lots of bouncing staccatos and little runs. Seasonal Moments
is for more advanced students at grades 3-5 level. There is a piece for each season. Winter has Evening Snowfall
, a pretty flowing piece with several tempo changes; Spring is about Green Open Spaces
, dreamy and expressive, whilst Summer is a Fire Dance
, exciting with asymmetric rhythmic patterns. Finally, Autumn, Ambling Along
, brings to mind walks among newly fallen leaves. Tricky rhythms mean there are a lot of semiquavers to be counted here. The music, modern without being jazzy and with a slightly New Age tinge to it, is certain to have a lot of appeal for students." AF
SCORE REVIEW: IAWM Journal, 2009 June Issue, International Alliance for Women in Music
The Circus Collection, The Ring Master and Other Circus Music, Seasonal Moments
Elementary and Intermediate Solo Piano Collections by Donna Gross Javel. AnythingPiano Publishing.
ISBN 978-0-9800476-0-8 (2007); ISBN 978-0-9800476-1-5 (2007); ISBN 978-0-9800476-2-2 (2007)
NANCY SHALLCROSS WITMER writes:
"Remember the old days when the circus came to town? How thrilling it was to see clowns on bicycles, jugglers, and dancing monkeys! Donna Gross Javel has brought the circus to life by incorporating such themes into her series of solo piano pieces for elementary through late intermediate students.
An experienced piano teacher as well as an accomplished performer, Gross Javel has dedicated The Circus Collection to her students. The collection is cleverly constructed, with fragments of the opening and closing selections (Circus Theme and Finale) recurring at other points in the piece. Students are encouraged to visit the Kids Corner of The Music Room on her AnythingPiano.com Website for hints on where to find all the fragments and themes. The Juggler, a lively little piece in duple meter, and Merry-Go-Round, in simple ABA form, beautifully depict two circus standards. The charming Cycling Clowns highlights Gross Javel’s imaginative playing instructions and leads the soloist through the story of “a group of clowns riding on very old and squeaky unicycles.” By using feathered beams, varying articulation, and sudden tempo changes, Cycling Clowns aptly lives up to its name. Dizzy Clown, Dancing Monkeys (a gentle monkey-grinder-like tune), and Fire Dance complete the collection. Fire Dance, a dynamically exciting composition using varied additive meter, is included in the Seasonal Moments collection and is also offered separately as a duet (Fire Dance Duo) for one piano four hands (ISBN 978-0-9800476-3-9 007).
The Ringmaster and Other Circus Music is comprised of three delightful compositions for late elementary pianists. Carousel, a happy C major piece in ABA form, gently and briefly slips into G major for the B section, allowing students to make the position change while hardly noticing. The Ring Master and The Famous Bouncing Ball Act provide two more excellent opportunities for elementary level students to experience the fun and excitement of a character piece while improving their articulation skills.
Seasonal Moments, a collection of four late intermediate compositions showcasing the seasons, reveals thoughtfully crafted works that challenge students to improve their musicality via increasingly difficult technical requirements. Gross Javel’s use of varied meter, delicate hand-crossings, exciting dynamic indications, and appropriate fingering make the collection attractive. The only things missing are pedal effects.
Piano instructors will find all of these materials fresh and exciting. Students will enjoy the imaginative playing indications and find themselves improving their piano technique while enjoying the engaging themes. The cover of each collection is enhanced by original artwork from artists Catherine Javel and Sophie Glickson. Presented with clean layouts, the printing is easy to read; the elementary works appropriately have slightly over-sized notes. Thanks to Donna Gross Javel’s musical expertise and creativity, the pool of enchanting elementary-intermediate solo piano selections has been greatly expanded."
•Nancy Witmer is a faculty member of the Department of Music at Frostburg State University. Currently a candidate for a DMA in music Education from Boston University, Ms. Witmer has been a piano teacher for almost forty years.
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THE RINGMASTER | THE
CIRCUS COLLECTION | SEASONAL
MOMENTS | FIRE