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Six Preludes for Piano (2012)

 

Solo piano work; composed for Andrew J. Wang; released by Albany Records on album "Graham Gordon Ramsay Compendium: Selected Solo Intrumental Works" September 1, 2013.

Taken from the liner notes for the album Compendium:

"In 2009, I began working on Six Preludes for Piano as a vehicle for pianist Andrew Wang, another gifted musician studying at MIT.  Andrew was accomplished with much of the great nineteenth-century piano literature, but had rarely performed any twentieth-century works, and never anything from the twenty-first century. Unwilling to pass up such a rich collaborative and teaching opportunity, I wanted to compose these preludes to include plenty of famous classical references, while also incorporating a range of more modern musical devices, including serial elements and bi-tonality. 

Months later, after listening critically to the preludes, I realized just how much the work pays homage to a diverse range of composers whose keyboard music has become incorporated into my psyche over the years: Bach, Gershwin, Berg, Brahms, Debussy, Messiaen, Poulenc, Scarlatti, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev, to name just a few.  Since Six Preludes for Piano is the most recent composition on this album, it reflects the amalgamation of these influences and (hopefully) the maturation of a personal style.

I do not set out with the intention to compose works that are difficult to perform, but technical virtuosity seems to be a common attribute throughout much of my writing.  The preludes are prime examples. They reflect my life and feelings at the time they were written, and those feelings translated into some challenging movements.  Because I was composing for Andrew, who is so highly skilled, I felt safe taking certain artistic chances, knowing he that would be equal to the resulting technical challenges.  This 23-minute piece took nearly two and a half years to complete, in part because of external events during this period, including the death of my mother, a house fire that displaced me from my home for six months, and a spurious lawsuit (since withdrawn).  Happily, the completion of these preludes represented an end to that harrowing chapter in my life, although many of my struggles during that period are, I believe, evident in the work. "

-GGR