Red Leaf Pianoworks is a diverse group of composers with one shared passion: Bringing you the latest in exciting new piano repertoire. Do check out the Red Leaf website for more information about all the composers and their repertoire. Red Leaf Pianoworks offers solos from beginner to advanced, as well as duets, trios and two-piano quartets. John Burge's Red Leaf publications are listed alphabetically below. Each title or cover is linked to the work's separate page that contains a sample score and a shopping cart for online orders. Should you wish to pay by e-transfer, cheque or money order, please contact John Burge directly.
Everything Waits for the Lilacs, for piano solo [JBComps-002], is a brief, evocative work that captures the anticipation of spring. The title is borrowed from the Margaret Avison poem, “Thaws,” which is found in her collection of poetry entitled, Sunblue. Taking approximately 6 minutes to play the work is listed on the Royal Conservatory of Music's Associate Diploma Repertoire List E. The work is gratefully dedicated to Dorothy Hare, a piano teacher in Calgary who was influential in the development of the composer’s musicianship and training. The work was given its premiere performances by Janina Fialkowska during her fall tour of British Columbia in 1997. Price: $13 Canadian
Parking an Octatonic Truck [JBComps-001] is a set of ten solo piano pieces that explore different approaches to composition and the piano. The works are arranged in order of increasing difficulty, covering approximately Grade 1 to Grade 8. A number of these pieces have been previously published in the Canadian National Conservatory of Music’s Northern Lights Piano Series as follows: “High Fives” in Volume 2B, “Parking an Octatonic Truck” in Volume 4B and “Dodge Ball” in 5B. "Dancing Scales" is included as an Etude on the Royal Conservatory of Music's Grade 6 Repertoire List. Price: $17 Canadian
Piano Reflections, for solo piano [JBComps-004], is in some ways a more advanced follow-up to the Parking an Octatonic Truck collection in that both books include some compositions that were written in the late 1990’s for use as quick-study pieces. While assembling the set, Burge was asked to write a composition for one of his colleagues at Queen’s University in honour of the university’s first Nobel Prize recipient in 2015. The resultant tribute to Dr. Arthur McDonald titled, “Oscillations,” became this collection’s most significant work and lead to a VIDEO of Burge performing the work. Other pieces are clearly influenced by some of Burge's favourite keyboard composers such as J.S. Bach and Kabelevsky. Equally appealling though, are the truly original works such as "One-note Groove" with its driving minimalistic energy or the shifting impressionistic-like sonorities of "Pastels." Inspired by a former student of John Burge's reference to his solo piano arrangement/improvisation of “O Canada” in a 2015 Literary Review of Canada book critique, it seemed timely to include this setting of Canada's national anthem just prior to Canada's 150th anniversary of confederation in 2017. Price: $19 Canadian
THE MATA HARI SUITE, for solo piano [JBCOMPS-05], is a set of six pieces that were written to provide background music during the opening run of ONE LAST NIGHT WITH MATA HARI. This one-woman show, with a male pianist also taking on a number of roles, was composed by John Burge with Craig Walker providing the book and lyrics. During the final preparations for the January 2017 opening of this cabaret style show, John Burge decided that it would be ideal to have some prerecorded solo piano music playing while the audience waited for each of the two acts to begin. As often happens in composing music for the stage, John Burge found that he had cut quite a bit of music from earlier drafts of the show that could be easily adapted into solo piano pieces. For example, the opening movement of this suite (“Overture: The tale of Mata Hari”) begins with a different version of the opening number from the show. In most cases though, John Burge came up with new musical ideas composed in the style of parlour piano music from the same period of Mata’s life and then combined these with reworked versions of tunes from the actual show. The end result is a set of six contrasting movements all having a strong element of nostalgia. Price: $19 Canadian
More information about the actual show, including a 9-minute trailer, can be found at: One Last Night with Mata Hari
Twenty-four Preludes, for solo piano [JBComps-003], follows the same design of Chopin's Opus 28 set by having one prelude in each major and minor key. The complete set takes about 60 minutes to perform but most of the Burge's preludes can be performed successfully on their own or in sets of two or more pieces. Fourteen of the preludes have descriptive subtitles such as "Bells in Winter," "Linear Reverberations," "One-note Ostinato," "The Hummingbird," and "Spring Thaw." It is also worth noting that eight of the preludes use extended instrumental techniques such as strumming strings inside the piano. These techniques are very simple to execute and do not require any advance preparation of the piano but in most cases can only be realized successfully on a grand piano with the music stand removed. As a guiding principle, Burge tried to embrace each Prelude’s tonic key in an audibly recognizable fashion so that at times the music is emphatically tonal, even in the Preludes that involve non-traditional performance practices. Containing 80 pages of music, this 9X12 inch edition is beautifully designed with a lay-flat coil binding that is protected by a fold-over cover. Price: $39 Canadian
Video Performance: Mathew Walton performed the complete set of Preludes on Sept. 11, 2016 as part of his DMA requirements at the University of Alberta: Walton:Preludes