The Nine Glens Of Antrim – Nine Easy Pieces For Piano is a songbook featuring nine distinctly Irish-themed original compositions by renowned composer and teacher June Armstrong for grades two to four standard, designed to teach and reinforce technique and stylistic interpretation.
Composer June Armstrong has taken the glens of County Antrim in Ireland as the inspiration for nine new Piano pieces that attempt to capture the atmosphere of the varied landscape. From the astonishing monuments of caves and valleys to calmer, more tranquil waterfalls and rivers, Armstrong has successfully composed pieces to help a student imagine and evoke the natural beauty of a landscape through the musical medium. The concept that Armstrong has tried to incorporate is that the expressiveness of the Piano as an instrument is something that students should be familiar with, and so this book will teach you how to create atmosphere while using the musical theory you are familiar with.
One of the most impressive things about The Nine Glens Of Antrim is the hard work that the composer has put into creating these pieces as well as incorporating Irish music and the Irish landscape. At the beginning of the songbook Armstrong goes into great detail about what each piece symbolises, as well as a small amount of Irish history and legend. She intertwines this with detailed playing instructions, making learning entertaining and informative as well as inspiring. In the notes for the piece titled ”Layd Church”, the student is told that
”A small stream runs along the side of the church, the sound of which, together with birdsong, is the only music you will hear there now. If you wish to play this successfully, you will need to listen to birds singing!”
It is this personality and friendly tone that makes learning from The Nine Glens Of Antrim
The songs themselves are subtle, pretty and precisely composed, perfect for a student who already has a good grasp of playing in a variety of keys, at different tempos and in alternative time signatures. Armstrong also leaves certain expressive elements up to the performer, so the flexibility would suit a student who is keen to bring some character and feeling to the piece. Each song represents a different challenge, and attempts to introduce a novel style and technique, so the use of the natural beauty of a landscape provides an anchor for students to connect the theory with the practice. To hear a recording of each track free of charge, just head to the composer’s own website, where you can also view photographs symbolising each song to inspire you to begin your learning of The Nine Glens of Antrim today.