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12 Preludes for Piano - William Alwyn

90834, 9790215203716
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William Alwyn 1905-1985
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Piano Solo
Lengnick Piano
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12 Preludes for Piano - William Alwyn

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The Twelve Preludes, Alwyn’s penultimate concert work for piano solo, were composed in London between April and June 1958. At this time the composer was experimenting with short note groups each with a strong tonal centre. A different group of notes is used for each prelude, an idea that was explored to the full in the Third and Fourth Symphonies. Each of the preludes conveys varying moods exploring different areas of piano technique. The first is dreamy and reflective, the second turbulent and dramatic with a subdued and mysterious ending, the third simple and quiet, the fourth a study in rapid finger technique, the fifth is an elegy in memory of the young New Zealand pianist Richard Farrell (dedicatee and first performer of the Fantasy Waltzes) who was tragically killed in a car accident—the piece was written just a few days after his death (the original manuscript bears the inscription ‘in memoriam “Richard” May 27th 1958”). The sixth prelude is a very intense powerful study in rapid chordal writing, the seventh is meditative, suggesting the sounds of distant bells, the eighth is quiet and pastoral in mood, the ninth is of an elusive nature ultimately vanishing in an impressionistic haze, the tenth is intended as a study in delicacy of touch, the brief eleventh, based on three notes (D flat, E flat and F), is peaceful in mood, with the powerful and dramatic twelfth bringing the cycle to a triumphant and thunderous conclusion. The Twelve Preludes received their première in a BBC broadcast on 26 June 1959 by the Dutch pianist Cor de Groot.

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