Album for the Young (Book One)
Photograph, text, sheet music and audio sample
© 2002 by Elisenda Fabregas
Album for the Young is a collection of thirty-four short pieces ranging from early to advanced intermediate level organized in three books in order of difficulty. These pieces are one or two pages in length and cover a wide range of styles: from Renaissance to contemporary in the first two volumes, and Spanish and Latin American idioms in the third volume. Fingering, pedaling articulation marks and other performance indications are provided for each piece. The writing is melodic and non-polyphonic making it more accessible to the early intermediate student.
I. The puppy dog is a playful opening piece inspired by my eight-week Australian shepherd puppy named Teddy. The outer sections built on the rhythmic motif ( ) contrast with the syncopated staccato eighth note middle section.
II. At the monastery is a two-voice strict canon in the Dorian mode. The second voice follows the first one measure later. At the monastery is an excellent piece to develop a legato singing tone in both hands.
III. Games is a playful workout for both right and left hands. All the eighth notes should be performed with an incisive and short staccato touch.
IV. March of the tortoises is a heavy, ‘Pesante’ march that should be played without pedal to emphasize the sixteenth note rests. The left hand should be played with a heavy but incisive staccato.
V. Waltz of the peacocks is a majestic and colorful waltz with a characteristic chromatic ascending motion in the bass and harmonic changes in every measure.
VI. Medieval monk’s chant is a vocal style piece that should be played with a projecting singing tone and in a recitative type of style. It is an excellent rhythm exercise since it contains frequent changes of meter and phrases of different length.
VII. Elizabethan dance is a stately Renaissance style dance with syncopated rhythms and harmonies characteristic of the style. It is one of the few chordal pieces of the set. The student should listen to Renaissance music to familiarize himself with the style.
VIII. Hide and seek is a playful and cunning piece with a characteristic syncopated off-the beat staccato left hand.
IX. Echoes from the past is a waltz with descending and ascending chromatic legato passages that glide through the keys just like an ice-skater. Staccato, tenuto and other articulation marks should be observed meticulously.
X. Drifting clouds (Homage to Debussy) has a contemplative and floating character imparted by the use of the whole tone scale. The melodic leaps of descending sixths and ascending sevenths are the most important melodic characteristic of this piece. The melody and accompaniment should be played legato with abundant pedal (as marked) for an impressionistic effect.
XI. A little goat consists of a circular melodic eighth-note passage, first in the left hand and then in the right hand, and an accompanying jumping figure consisting of a repeated octave figure ( ) alternating among both hands. This jumping rhythmic figure illustrates the little goat jumping on a rocky mountainside. This piece should be performed without pedal for clarity.
XII. Song of the boatman is a nostalgic song that portrays the long days and nights of the boatman. The song is accompanied by a rhythmic figure ( ) that illustrates the rocking motion of the song. All the slurred notes should be performed legato.
XIII. Platero, the baby donkey is inspired by Platero, a beloved animal character in Juan Ramon Jimenez’s Spanish play “Platero y yo”. The back-and-forth ostinato figure of the left hand illustrate the gentle rocking of Platero.
XIV. Gigue (Homage to J.S. Bach) is an energetic dance in the baroque style that should be performed in a detached and non-legato manner.
Waltz of the peacocks (audio)
Platero, the baby donkey (audio)