Stars

Fourteen Constellations for Piano - Grades 3-5

I was delighted to be asked to review, and play through, Stars, an alluring collection of pieces for young pianists by June Armstrong.  All the compositions have enticing titles and covey the vivid images of a starlit night sky coloured and enhanced by a dream-like imagination; effectively musical paintings.

The harmonic world is evocative and refreshingly unpredictable with just a hint of Debussy, Phillip Glass and even Peter Sculthorpe (have a listen to his Night Pieces as a comparison, something for pupils to aspire to later on). All of them will nurture and inspire an ear for, and control of, pedalled tonal colour, as well as the importance for space, time and sonority. I particularly loved Unicorn with its magical stillness and ravishing tonal world, and was very taken with Sails, a descriptive and entrancing piece with the added bonus of encouraging good left hand scalic control and an ear for balance. Yes the collection has huge educational value and is excellent teaching repertoire, but many of the compositions transcend this in their originality and appeal.  Anthony Williams - ABRSM examiner, presenter and selector

Quick Score/Audio Guide

Click here for a full YouTube Playlist

Video on teaching Unicorn

For score samples click on each individual piece

Audio tracks

To download the mp3 files, right-click on the track player and select "Save audio as"

Unicorn
Great Dog
Queen
Northern Crown
Pegasus
Noah's Dove
Sails
Phoenix
River
Centaur
Bird of Paradise
Dragon
Chameleon
Swan

From Pianodao, read Andrew Eales' review of Stars here.