Stepping Stones To Bach

Stepping Stones to Bach

I recently decided to make simple piano arrangements of Bach’s most beloved non-keyboard works. Most existing Bach transcriptions, made by legends like Liszt, Busoni and Rachmaninov, are difficult works made for professional pianists, but nowadays the number of amateur pianists is greater than ever. “Stepping Stones to Bach” are intended to fill the need for easier repertoire, suitable for adult music lovers who are learning to play for enjoyment and relaxation and don’t want to spend months mastering one piece. They will also be a great supplement to Bach’s own teaching pieces (Minuets, Little Preludes and Inventions) as recital and study pieces for children.

Masterpieces such as St. Matthew’s Passion, The Brandenburg Concertos, Cantatas and Cello Suites are familiar to most classical music lovers and their main themes sound wonderful on the piano. “Stepping Stones to Bach” will enable easy/intermediate level adult students to participate in music-making of this amazing quality. These transcriptions also serve as warm-up exercises, technique studies, sight reading examples and building blocks to learning longer works. I made sure to choose suitable short excerpts from the best and most popular works and to arrange them in such a way that they feel idiomatic to the keyboard and complete with a satisfying ending.

“Given her experience in both playing and transcribing Bach, these arrangements are excellent, retaining a clear sense of the original while offering early to intermediate pianists the opportunity to play interesting and imaginative stand-alone pieces. The pieces have been simplified and adapted to the modern keyboard, with all the essentials left intact. Each piece has a short footnote with suggestions for fingering and some stylistic/contextual information.

In addition, the well-chosen works in this collection give the early or intermediate player a splendid introduction to variety and glory of Bach’s music. For many of us, our first introduction to Bach is via the two- and three-part inventions, which are undoubtedly wonderful, but Eleonor’s collection offers greater insight into Bach’s music and his musical universe, and as such is an excellent introduction, and, hopefully, a jumping off point for further exploration.… Recommended.”

—Frances Wilson, A Piano Teacher Writes

For children, my wish is that by playing these arrangements they will make inroads into the greater world of Bach. By learning and internalizing a melody, they will be prepared to understand the original work. For example, after learning the theme from Brandenburg Concerto #3, they will hear the orchestral version with a sense of familiarity and belonging, with focused attention and a readiness to hear how the theme develops. I hope to inspire more parents and music teachers to make deeper musical connections for the younger generation. To accompany this volume, I made a special “Stepping Stones to Bach” playlist on Spotify and ITunes featuring all of the music these selections came from. While your child or student is working on each piece, please make sure they get to hear the original sources.

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