We are fascinated with the story of the RMS Titanic – its voyage and its fate. Rebekah Maxner has written and arranged music for Beginner-Elementary students that recount the tale of the Titanic. This is “original music that captures the mood of the day, numbers that were performed for passengers by hired White Star Line musicians, popular music that would have been played by Third Class passengers who had their own instruments, and music that was bravely played as the ship was sinking.” (Quoted from the Preface)
This is a wonderful concept – and the music does not disappoint. There are 8 solos for the Elementary student. Some could be played a few months into the first year of lessons; some would be better tackled by students in their 2nd or 3rd year. All have beautifully written, optional duets (for the teacher; these are not equal-level duets). The duet parts work well, in that they make the student parts sound harder and fuller than they really are. There is one “bonus” student duet.
Rebekah has arranged classics from the era such as Salut d’amour by Elgar and The Merry Widow Waltz, as well as popular music of the day such as an Irving Berlin tune. The heart-wrenching hymn (heart-wrenching since the movie!), Nearer, My God, to Thee, is also included, making this a good range of genres. Of interest is the inclusion of photos and historical notes that are at the top of a number of the pieces; of special interest are the names and photos of the musicians themselves, as well as information such as the fact that there were six Steinway pianos on board.
Rebekah is a member of the Red Leaf Pianoworks collective. I heard the opening duet from Titanic performed in Red Leaf’s presentation at the CFMTA Convention. Unfortunately, Rebekah wasn’t there but I’m so glad I picked up this book. It is also available for the Late Elementary-Early Intermediate student; some of the numbers are the same but in a more difficult arrangement; some pieces are completely different. Both books are available through Rebekah’s website: http://www.notekidds.maxner.ca/books.asp. Score and sound samples are available for each piece.