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Billy Joel - Fantasies & Delusions: Music for Solo Piano, Op. 1-10 Paperback – October 1, 2001

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Product Details

Sample Music Notation [20kb PDF]
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634038354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634038358
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.3 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Packham on December 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This collection of music from Billy Joel is indeed, as other reviewers have noted, quite difficult. It is not recommended for a player of less than an intermediate grade. There is a short 'Invention' which is a two voice work reminiscent of Bach or Handel. This particular work would be suitable for a player of moderate skill level.

Most of the music is evocative of Chopin, insofar as there is a number of waltzes, each with rapid flourishes and minor modulations. Joel also veers into French impressionist territory occasionally, using minor-9th chords and tonality that recalls Debussy or Satie. His left hand passages are like something out of a Brahms intermezzo: difficult, arpeggiated and often unstructured, occasionally virtuosic. Given some of the more difficult pieces (if you want to tackle them), listening to the recording would probably help.

The most entertaining pieces to play are two of the easier pieces, though they are by no means easy to master. The last piece - an Irish 'Air' - is a beautiful four-page jaunt that requires a dextrous wrist and a sense of playfulness. Also fun, but perhaps too long, is 'Nunley's Carousel', which should be played so as to mirror a Carousel that starts slowly and builds to a crescendo. This piece is unfortunately marred by one too many minor variations; nevertheless, the chord-heavy finale is fun to punch out.

This is a book worth purchasing for those who enjoy classical music and who also enjoy the works of Billy Joel. These are not simple pieces; indeed, Joel himself is apparently unable to play them to the standard he desires. That's why world-famous pianist Richard Joo plays them on the recording. It may also be why Mr Joo has arranged the pieces. As to what the word 'arranged' means in the context of this song cycle, it is not clear.

A starting point would be to buy the recording. If you like that, buy the book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tim Humphreys on February 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although I do not have the ability to play these pieces at the level of Mr. Joo, I have had many hours of enjoyment working through the book. I started with the invention because I thought it would get me back into the practice habits of days gone by and I was right! Correct fingering and all that... There are sections of extreme difficulty (by my talent level) but there are many works in this book that have drawn me to sit and play my piano for hours at a time; more so than any music since high school(Class of '85). This music is classical in nature and is most suitable for those who are classically trained and who have the patience to work at it a bit. There are many beautiful melodic sections, but there is also a lot of fun! After hearing the cd I HAD to have this book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jim Kelsey on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What drew me to this music was the familiar Schirmer cover on the CD. Though I've liked Billy Joel's music growing up, I never liked it well enough to buy a CD - well, I take that back...I purchased the "River of Dreams" CD and only like the hits - the rest was disappointing. I quickly tossed the CD into the garbage. At any rate, I did purchase "Fantasies and Delusions" in 2002 and, as the title says, absolutely loved it. It was very relaxing and enjoyable to listen to and I quickly began searching to see if the sheet music was available.

I found it on Amazon and that Christmas I asked for the sheet music and couldn't put it down. As many of the reviewers have stated it is written for an accomplished pianist. It's not easy stuff and I did find the music challenging; but, not so much that I couldn't sight-read through most of the pieces. In fact, that's part of what made it enjoyable. It wasn't like a Liszt or Scriabin etude which is way beyond my skills, but more on the level of a Beethoven sonata.

This collection contains many well-crafted pieces - wonderful melodies supported by gorgeous harmonies. The overall style is very 19th-century. The "Aria" is much akin to Chopin's nocturnes - LH arpeggios opposite a long, RH melody. The waltzes, again, are very Chopin-esque - just a little bit looser in form. I enjoy playing "Reverie," "Innamorto," and "Delusion." All three of these pieces are beautifully written and provide enough interest that neither the performer nor the listener will be bored - again written in a late-Romantic style. The piece "Sililoquy" is by far the most difficult piece and reminds me of Ravel's "The Boat on the Ocean" from "Miroirs." I haven't spent much time on it - too many arpeggios and "improvisatory" runs.
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First, I think it is just cool to have a yellow, classical music cover with Billy Joel's name on it sitting on your piano. The music inside is quite good, too. However, this is not music for the weekend noodler. If you're like me, you need to listen to the music many times to really understand how to play it. He has written an enormous opus, using classical music form but with Joel's signature R & B stylings interspersed. Is it Beethoven? Chopin? Liszt? No, but it IS Billy Joel. That still says a lot.
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I'm an experience recreational classical pianist, but by no means an expert. This music is challenging but not impossible to learn. If you have experience playing Chopin's waltzes and etudes, you'll recognize many of the tricks and turns. The pieces have classical roots and sound truly beautiful. I highly recommend buying this in conjunction with the music CD -- one of my favorite classical albums in years.
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Billy Joel - Fantasies & Delusions: Music for Solo Piano, Op. 1-10
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