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STEPHEN J. WOOD 'More Scottish Piano Contemporary Arrangements'
Taigh Na Teud, Isle of Skye ISBN1871931339

This is a collection in two volumes with accompanying CD of 17 sets of traditional Scottish pieces for solo piano. It has a good variety of slow airs, marches, jigs, reels and strathspeys all with excellent innovative arrangements. Someone who appreciates a more adventurous approach to Scottish music will welcome these contemporary arrangements. The beautiful melodies like Lord Lovat's Lament and Farewell to Fuinary are treated with great sensitivity but there are also cheeky little tongue in cheek, jazzy details like in the Drunken Piper. The addition of guitar chords has wisely been avoided, as this would not have done justice to the detail in the arrangements. The adverse result of this is that it would not have much appeal to a session player on the folk scene.

It will be ideal for piano teachers looking for more variety and a change from the classics for their pupil's repertoire. The pieces vary in difficulty but are definitely not for beginners, more from Grade 3 level upwards. It would be excellent for test pieces for Mod or Festival competitions on piano. The accompanying CD is a good incentive for those trying to learn the pieces as it shows a very attractive end product, once you get your head round all the black dots.

Stephen J. Wood is a lecturer at Salford University where he teaches classical and Jazz Piano.

Maggie Macrae

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.