Four Aces Suite

Class: Original Piano Suite.

Published: 1933.

Comment: Billy's best known suite of pieces: the titles spring from his keen interest in card playing.

The Ace of Clubs opens with eight bars of introduction and the first theme is straightforward in style until the last four bars of its sixteen-bar shape. When it goes in for off beat emphases, which become a feature of the second theme, it requires skilful handling to ensure they get the right amount of emphasis.
mp3 clip

The Ace of Diamonds is the shortest of the set with its theme getting, first, a straightforward tune- accompaniment treatment, and then chromatically descending harmonies in the left-hand part.
mp3 clip

The Ace of Hearts is the most melodic of the four. The first theme make a feature of chords on the upbeats. The second section has a delightfullly relaxed feel.
mp3 clip

The Ace of Spades is the most extended piece, opening with a long cadenza. The first theme is pentatonic in style and the second section sets a flowing but rhythmic figure against a tenor descant.
mp3 clip

Billy also made a duet version.

See also the companion piece, The Joker, which uses themes from all four pieces.

mp3 clips played by Eric Parkin

Back to the 'Covers Album'