Two preludes for piano : for piano solo
by Simon Reade (2014)
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These two works are united here by common purpose and similar intent. Both works are subtitled studies because of the dual nature they possess. I have decided in this context to call the pair preludes as a reference to the expectant character present in the pieces.
I composed both as instigators of future work, in the case of Black... to pieces related to the traditional American folk song, Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair - as notated by Berio in his work, Folk Songs. These Black... pieces were composed for my wife, Claire, and two of them were performed at our wedding.
In the case of Organ Pipes this work is the basis for the revision of my major work for wind band, Variations, and the complex use of pulse is related to my current preoccupation with conducting and the technique of conducting (especially of new music).
The two works are mostly unrelated in terms of material, however there are some similarities in mood, as well as in the general nature of my piano writing. The earlier work, Black... has been placed second because of the more extrovert nature of it's conclusion. The piece is a meditation on the folk song material and was written (after some preparatory sketches) in the space of a single day in Claire's and my then new house, Campania, December 13, 2009.
Organ Pipes was partially inspired by a walk up Kunanyi (Mt Wellington). On that walk I was reminded of my setting of Michael Dransfield's poem, 'To the colour grey/Hobart' and it occurred to me that the material of that song could fit very well with the material I wished to revise in Variations. The key phrase in the poem quoted is:
there is a mountain in the window
I'll climb it later
might find something at the top
The work was composed very slowly over a period of months from April 2014, as seems now to be my process. Whilst composing Organ Pipes the idea of combining it with the earlier piano study came to me, and I slightly adapted Black... to fit it's new context as part of the compositional process.
The irrational time signatures in Organ Pipes are a reflection of the triplet pulse - ie. 2/6 is a bar of 2 crotchet triplets, 7/12 a bar of 7 quaver triplets - the irrationals seemed the most elegant solution to the way the different pulses in the piece interact. I am indebted (as so often) to my friend Simon Barber for putting the idea of irrationals into my head. I also must acknowledge his assistance by providing the first bar of Black... - taken from his wind band work, At the Limits of Entropy.
Organ Pipes in particular, but the Two Preludes as a whole are dedicated to Michael Kieran Harvey as a small gesture of thanks for his work with me in premiering the piano concerti of Simon Barber and Don Kay in February 2014.
Duration: 6 min.
Contents note: I. Organ Pipes (Study XIII) -- II. Black... (Study X).
Dedication note: Dedicated to Michael Kieran Harvey
First performance: by Michael Kieran Harvey — 19 Nov 15. Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music
- In the form/style of: Preludes
Performances of this work
19 Nov 15: Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music. Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.
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