‘Journeys’ is a six-volume collection of 97 piano pieces, composed and arranged by William Minter, originally from the UK and now resident in Connecticut. Rather in the manner of Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, the pieces are arranged in order of difficulty, from the first volume of simple but characterful pieces for students of around Grade 1 ability to the sixth volume which is for advanced (c. Grade 8) ability players.
The pieces introduce players to a variety of technical challenges, such as chords, scale and arpeggio patterns, articulation, rhythmic and tempo changes, pedaling etc, and as such can be used in lessons to introduce specific aspects of technique to students. But more than this, William Minter has created a collection of highly attractive and varied piano music which will appeal to all ages and tastes.
Drawing on a variety of cultural and stylistic influences, the pieces can serve as a jumping off point for the exploration of wider repertoire – for example, the Spanish music of Albeniz, the distinctive sound world of Debussy, or the minimalism of Steve Reich and his contemporaries: all composers to whom Minter pays tribute in his music. In addition, there are transcriptions of well-known pieces such as the Bach/Petzold Minuet in G or Kumbaya.
Each volume contains valuable performance notes, explaining Minter’s inspiration for the piece, or its origin, and encouraging players to seek out certain details or characteristics of the pieces. In addition, the publisher’s website, KOA Music, includes recordings of all of the pieces in the collection, a useful resource for players and teachers.