(more reviews in dutch are in the dutch section of the site)
Source: Clavier (december 1986)
Hens Vlam-Verwaaijen, Soft Music Piano (collection)
Addressing the "average 13- to 18-year old pupil" in her introduction, Vlam-Verwaaijen states: " Knowing that you predominantly to pop, rock and soul music, I have tried to find a way to connect the classics to your idea of playing the piano." Consequently, this collection is a mixture of idioms: Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann, George Winston, blues, movie music (one piece features a quote from the movie Dr. Zhivago), and pop style piano. The mixture is not always succesful. In "Sandy" the music changes over the barline from a relaxed, easy Winston style to an insistent Beethoveneske mood. The effect is disconcerting. For most of the ten solos in this collection, though, the joining of different styles results in an appealing easy listening sound that will definitely appeal to many adult and teenage students. No fingerings are included. (Harmonia)
Source: Piano Journal (United Kingdom) Oktober 1991
Soft Music Piano Bridge Over the Classics and All That No.5 by Hens Vlam-Verwaaijen
Another book in this series is welcorne and is as pleasing as the previous ones. All twenty two pieces are attractive enough to really captivate young pianists who enjoy the lighter side of composition.
MUSIC FOR INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS
This is the eighth book in this series of light, technically uncomplicated piano music providing hours of enjoyment and easy listening. Sounding impressive without being too difficult (at approximately Grade 6 level), it is especially appropriate for pupils whose interest in the classics may be fading and is guaranteed to build confidence and restore their sense of enjoyment. Good sound technical principles are encouraged and there are opportunities for playing scales, chords and arpeggios. In this work Hens Vlam-Verwaaijen has availed herself of a method of composition much favoured by Schumann but going back to the Renaissance, where it was known as soggetto cavato. By means of it, one can construct themes out of the names or initials of particular persons: the first six pieces lend themselves especially well to such treatment.
The composer faces up to the fact that after the first years pupils are apt to seek more popular styles, by skilfully fusing elements of both without neglecting the technical side. This book is a winner. I enjoyed playing every piece and will certainly be incorporating it into my own teaching practice!
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