Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Long Overdue Update!

A lot has been happening at VS Music Supplies, and it has been too long since I posted here.

Firstly, there is now a section for vintage and second-hand sheet music on the website.  This covers recent editions such as the one shown here, to early 20th century music.  Much more to be added over the days ahead!

Secondly, VS Music Supplies is now on Pinterest, where you can see pictures of new products, old sheet music and anything else that catches my eye!

Thirdly there has been a slight reorganisation of the website, not very radical but quite a major tweak, affecting sheet music for all instruments.  Another change to ensemble sheet music will follow later in the year.

I will keep posting new music here in due course, but the Pinterest board is more up to the minute than this blog.

In the meantime, I have come across this article about the merits of polishing a fiddle or other string instrument which I think is worth a read for all string players: http://www.allthingsstrings.com/Instruments/CARE-MAINTENANCE/Is-It-Really-a-Good-Idea-to-Polish-Your-Instrument

Thursday, 4 July 2013

New ABRSM Woodwind Syllabus

Today ABRSM has published the new woodwind syllabus for 2014-2017.  You can download the full syllabus in pdf using these links:
Descant Recorder
Treble Recorder

The new flute and clarinet exam books are now available, you can order the flute ones here and the clarinet ones here

There have been a lot of changes to the alternative pieces lists, plus a number of new publications.  I am working through the list at present, adding any I don't currently have on the website, as long as they are available.  Some are reprinting at the moment and some haven't yet been published.  It's nice to see ABRSM supporting some smaller publishers by putting their music on the syllabus.

Friday, 7 June 2013

New ABRSM Woodwind Syllabus for 2014

In summer each year the music exam boards bring out the new syllabus for a few instruments.  This year ABRSM is refreshing the woodwind syllabus, with new requirements for flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon and recorder.  They have helpfully sent me an advance copy of all the pieces on the new syllabus and there are a lot of changes.

I'm not allowed to tell you what these are as they are under an embargo until 4th July, but there are a lot of new pieces, many from smaller publishers, which is welcome.  There are also new exam pieces books for flute and clarinet.  I am adding any pieces which I don't currently have, but there are a few brand new books which are still being printed.

One other change is that ABRSM are no longer using paper forms for exam entries, instead students/teachers have to enter online.

I will have all the pieces up on the website by 4th July, if you want to check out the syllabus in full then you can use this link to the exam section of the ABRSM website.

P.S. While they do have a shop, you will find that some of the books and delivery charges are cheaper with VS Music Supplies!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Whit Friday Contest at Diggle 2013

So the Other Half and I decided to attend the Whit Friday contests, a first for both of us.  Having selected Diggle on the basis of a map, and most importantly, the quality of the toilet roll on offer in the portaloos, we set off late afternoon and after negotiating some road blocks in various villages arrived at Diggle soon after the start.  First problem - where to park?  The steward who greeted us at the roadblock seemed bemused by the concept of two people driving to watch the contest, as opposed to being with a band or being local.  Clearly we were somewhat strange.  Since he had no suggestions, and being from a small village myself where dumping your car outside someone else's house creates serious tension, I drove around for a bit and then found a spot on a side road where I thought I would not infringe anyone's territory.

As we headed up the road towards the Diggle Dome in the driving rain it did occur to me that we were out of our minds.  As you can see from the photo above, it was raining and rainjackets were de rigeur.
 So here we were, standing on a windswept hill in the pouring rain listening to brass bands.  Above is the Diggle Dome, a hardstanding where grateful bands were able to play in the dry though as the evening wore on they did have to negotiate increasingly muddy ground to reach it.  The judge, however, got a nice dry caravan to sit in (left of photo).
 Diggle's organisation was impressive; one band marched while the previous marching band got set up on the bandstand, and while the band played under the Diggle Dome the next band got ready for the march.  This is South Milford coming up the hill.  The choice of march played was extremely varied, from traditional brass marches to jazzed up arrangements of classics, pop, rock and the inevitable Wallace and Gromit, which drew a large cheer from the bystanders.
 As the evening progressed, the numbers watching grew markedly though they were all swaddled in winter gear, as befitted the weather.  Note the couple swathed in orange tarpaulin in the photo above!  There were a few people desperately pretending it was a summer evening, with glasses of rose in hand, but most people were realistic enough to crowd round the burger stall and the ice cream stand which was doing a rather better trade in warm freshly made crepes than ice cream!  And the mud just got deeper...
 Still, the sun did come out a few times, and I have a photo to prove it!  This was taken from the band club, capturing the rare sight of a band marching in the light and the sun reflecting off the Diggle Dome beyond.  A beautiful part of the world when it's not raining.
 Of course, Other Half had to check out the beer at the band club, where the talk was mostly of cricket, strangely.

 So back to the Dome, the rain had gone but it was still bitterly cold. I bet the judge in his caravan behind the Dome was a lot warmer.  I have to confess that by this time, a couple of hours in, I was so cold we adjourned to the Hanging Gate where I hugged a radiator and Other Half indulged the habit he picked up when brass banding years ago...
 It took 30 minutes for me to start to feel warmer, thanks to the pub's excellent radiator.
 So back to the bandstand for more music.  This is Oughtibridge, whose march included that staple of the brass band world - Queen and a selection of their hits.  That was quite an experience.   I enjoyed the music, but there were definite themes in the music chosen, we heard several versions of the same pieces which was interesting as we were able to compare. The quality of playing despite the undoubtedly frozen fingers and lips was really rather good.

What did surprise me was how far some had travelled.  Leaving aside the mad and surely very hardy Scots in their T shirts and kilts, we had a band from Switzerland and here is Concord from Denmark, who were very impressive.  They came prepared for the weather, unlike the crazy Scots.

 By late evening the crowds were quite big, the mud ever deeper but everyone had a great time.  There is something unique about the sound of a brass band in the open air, which becomes even more magical when the band is unseen, the sound wafting through the trees.  Who won?  I know, but I really don't care that much, just being there to enjoy this musical relic of the Victorian age was enough, a living tradition of music making which I sincerely hope will continue for many years to come.

All in all, it was a great evening but next year I think I'll be wearing thermals....

Friday, 17 May 2013

New Sheet Music this week 17 May 2013

You do have to wonder why it has taken so long to publish Welsh Fiddle Tunes, we've had pretty much every other kind of fiddle tune in this series!  Anyway, it's out now, 97 tunes with CD, £12.99.

The first volume in a new series by Schott, Baroque Violin Anthology, is also now available, with CD, £11.99.

Moving to guitar, the third volume in the Baroque Guitar Anthology is newly published, with CD, suitable for players around grade 5-6 standard, £10.99.

A bumper collection of 27 works transcribed for guitar, Bach for Guitar, includes a few pieces from Anna Magdalena's Notebook, £11.50.

Another collection of guitar music with CD, English Folk Tunes, is also available now, following on from Scottish Folk Tunes.

Moving to piano, quite a number of new books here:

For other instruments, 15 Easy Classical Solos for trombone treble clef, Dupre Angelus Op 34 No 2 for organ, and for bands we have a flexible 5 part version of Chariots of Fire, and Baby Elephant Walk in a flex-band arrangement.

Finally, I have a new rosewood viola mute in stock, beautifully finished and attractively priced at £1.80!

Friday, 10 May 2013

New Sheet Music this week, 10 May 2013

It's not often a new accordion tutor is published, so when it happens it deserves top billing! This is Accordion Basics from Voggenreiter, with CD like many tutors these days. It covers all the basics from holding the tentacled beast, to reading notation.  £9.99
Another unusual publication is an arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concertos no 2 and 3 for two pianos.  This is taking the piano duet a little bit  further, if you're a keen pianist and have a like-minded friend.

Sticking with the piano theme, but this time for traditional piano duet, we have Brian Chapple's Home and Dry.

For acoustic guitarists, we have Beginning Jazz Guitar and Beginning Rock Guitar, both of which come with CD and are published by Alfred. Another Jazz Guitar tutor is newly revised, Jazz Guitar Volume 1 by Jamey Aebersold and comes with CD.

A new series from Schott contains well known classical tunes arranged for various instruments with piano.  Newly published are the arrangements for cello, clarinet, flute, and violin.

Another new series from Schott is Easy Concert Pieces.  The first is Easy Concert Pieces for Violin Volume 1, a large collection of simple music, with CD.  Likewise we have the first volume of Easy Concert Pieces for Guitar, also with CD.  Both are £12.99.

Barenreiter also has a new series of Concert Pieces for strings.  Vivaldi's violin concerto in G Op 3/3 for violin, and Rieding's Concerto in B Minor Op 35, transposed to E minor for viola, and transposed to D minor for cello, to make it easier to play. 

That's the week's highlights, there are more new items on the website, with music added every day as usual.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

New Sheet Music This Week 2nd May 2013

What a week!   Intermittent but serious problems with my broadband meant I was reduced to cramming all my internet based work into small patches of internet connectivity at various times of the day!  Then I got a puncture in one of my brand new car tyres, happily fixable and not requiring another £100 for a new tyre but stressful and more time lost getting it fixed.  But yesterday the phone line was fixed, my car is fine and I'm breathing more easily.

So to celebrate my first reliable internet day in a week, here is a round up of some new sheet music.  There should have been a bit more, but I have a backlog of new stuff to add to the website now!

I'm going to start with brass this week, first we have Gade's Jealousy, arranged for brass band by John Iveson.

Next from an increasingly prolific composer, Keiron Anderson, we have two pieces: Riffilicious (almost impossible to spell for a web search engine, why do they choose these names?) and Stray Cat, both for brass tentet (with some variations in parts possible).

New music for alto or tenor sax with playalong CD - World Tour, which has 22 tunes inspired by music and rhythms from around the world, arranged by the very popular saxophone writer Jeffery Wilson.

A new addition to the Trinity version of Improve your Sight Reading for piano, this time the grade 4 book, is now available.

A brand new tutor for recorder by the irrepressible Sara Watts, Ready Steady Recorder with CD is now out and in stock.

Also from Sara Watts, Jazz Stix, jazz and blues tunes for early grade pianists.

A new bumper collection of 60 wedding tunes for organ from Kevin Mayhew, entitled Something Old Something New, sure to give you something to play!

That's all for this week, more to come next week.

Friday, 5 April 2013

New Sheet Music this week, 5th April 2013

So, a number of new publications over the last week or so, despite the Easter holidays.

ABRSM has published a new book for piano diploma candidates, Piano Specimen Quick Studies, available to order now.

Sticking with ABRSM, they have also brought out a new reference book called Beethoven - An Extraordinary Life.

Ricordi has published a set of books, all entitled 20th Century Italian Composers, for guitar, piano,  cello (volume 1), Violin Volume 1 and Violin Volume 2.  Frustratingly the publicity information for these books is incomplete, so not all of them have a contents list attached as yet.

Moving to Concert Band, a new CD called Extreme Beethoven covers a number of pieces for Concert Band (including Extreme Beethoven), with soloist David Childs.

In terms of sheet music for concert band, we have Oswald's Fantasy on a Hebrew Folk Song, Satoshi Yagasawa's Hunting Scenes (based on traditional Taiwanese songs),   and The Best of Chicago.

Faber's new Graded Rock & Pop Series Songbooks have added grades 2-3 for bass, guitar, drums, keyboards and vocals.

Improve your Sight Reading for piano grade 3 in the new Trinity edition is also out this week.

A revised edition of Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata is also newly published.

And finally, a collection of piano works by Liszt: Album Leaves and Short Piano Pieces.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

New Sheet Music 28th March 2013

It's been a difficult week, with equipment breaking down and gremlins running around the computers, but I'm crossing fingers that things are now on the up!

Here's an update of newly published sheet music over the last few weeks:

Skyfall for Brass Band

Dancing Zoo for Concert Band

Electronic Keyboard Pieces and Technical Work for Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8

Trinity theory papers from 2012 (about half way down this page)

Improve your Sight Reading for Piano, Trinity Edition, so far for Initial, Grade 1 and Grade 2

The Facebook Song for choir, there are a few versions of this song

Walking in a Garden by Stephen Cleobury (for choir)

The Farmer's Boy for double choir, also by Stephen Cleobury

Have a great Easter weekend!

Friday, 15 February 2013

New Sheet Music this Week, 15th Feb 2013

It's been a while since I posted  list of newly published music, so I have a lot to get through!  In no particular order, then:

For piano:
Really Easy Piano: Motown Hits
Reicha: 36 fugues for piano (new Barenreiter edition)
Dance Music from Paris
Nightscapes by Mark Tanner

For Accordion:
Tango Album
Italian Songs for Accordion with CD

For Tuba and Eb Bass:
Creatures of the Deep in Bass Clef and Treble Clef

For French Horn:
Valse Noire

For Organ:
The Oxford Book of Lent and Easter organ music
Two Festive Carillons
Vierne Complete Organ Works Volume 1 (Barenreiter Urtext)

For Choir:
Art Thou Troubled? by Handel

For Concert Band:
Brasserie, for brass quintet and concert band by Otto Schwartz
Broken Sword
It Don't Mean a Thing
Louis Armstrong Medley

For Brass Band:
Simon Dobson's Torsion
Gavin Higgins' Freaks!

For Recorder or Flute:
The Music of an Irish Harper

For Solo Voice:
Schubert's Schwanengesang, in versions for high, medium and low voices.
Britten Six Early Songs for Medium Voice

And Finally:
The New Faber Graded Rock Series: first books published for initial to grade 1 standard - bass, guitar, keyboard and drums.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

New Sheet Music This Week 30th Jan 2013

There has been a good number of new publications over the last two weeks, here are the highlights.

For piano:
Howard Goodall's Inspired, a collection of his most popular tunes and TV themes for solo piano.
15 Classical Piano Works, famous pieces for intermediate piano
21 Classical Piano Works, easier pieces for pianists
Chopin's Studies Op 10 and 25 in one volume

For choir, Howard Goodall's Oratorio Every Purpose Under Heaven
A bumper collection of 50 Hymns for choir

For Voice:
Red Hot Song Library - Folk Songs
36 Arias in Antique Style for high or low voice
Schumann's Liederkreis (Song Cycle) Op 24
The Language of Folk - two volumes covering easy to more advanced songs

For violin we have two new editions of Vivaldi Sonatas:
Sonata RV810 and Sonatas RV815 and 816

For Concert Band we have lots of new music:
A Verdi Salute, his most popular opera tunes in this anniversary year.
Caribbean Cocktail, easy caribbean tunes for young concert band
Cyclone by Michael Oare
Ferris Wheel Rock by Van Calster
Gangnam Style for young concert band
La Bamba for concert band
Jan de Haan's Psaltrada
Bert Appermont's Return of the Vikings
Eric Whitacre's Sleep my Child
Andre Weignein's Stepping Stone
Tallis' Canon arranged for easy concert band
The Ultimate 80s Party Hits for concert band

For brass band, try the Red Dwarf theme.

For the factoid geeks, we have the Pocket Dictionary of Composers and Lyricists

And finally, The Pink Panther arranged for string quartet!

Friday, 11 January 2013

New Sheet Music 11th January 2013

I make no apologies for starting with one of the hottest tunes of the moment: Skyfall.  In addition to the standard sheet music published earlier, which is for voice and piano, we now have the same version with singalong CD, Soundtrack Selections for solo piano, and now an arrangement for string orchestra. They're not in stock at the moment, but will be soon.

Turning to other instruments, some new music from December:

A Special Case - new music for tenor horn by Jim Parker (of Midsomer Murders fame)

Jazz Fx and Great Winners - new music for oboe

I Feel Good and Big Chillers for saxophone

For those who love music theory, the 2012 exam papers have just been published, you can find them all in this section.

I have been adding the Really Easy Piano series to the website, not quite finished yet but all the most recent and bestselling titles are there, just type really easy piano into the search box.

Moving on to group music, for brass band we have Simon Dobson's A Symphony of Colours.

For string quartet, Lennon/McCartney's Come Together, for string orchestra we have  James Curnow' Japanese Folk Fantasy, also his Sagebrush and music from the Disney film Brave.  

Finally, for beginner concert band we have Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World.