I've just finished writing a cycle of twenty four preludes for piano in every key. This work has been quite a labor for the past 7 months of my life, and I'm absolutely overjoyed to be able to share it with you all. I hope you all enjoy it and I look forward to hearing your thoughts, questions, feedback, suggestions, etc. etc.
Sibelius file: http://www.steven-obrien.net/Portfolio/Twenty%20Four%20Preludes%20for%20Piano%20Op%202.sib
MIDI file: http://www.steven-obrien.net/Portfolio/Twenty%20Four%20Preludes%20Op%202.mid
I apologize in advance for providing MIDI realizations instead of actual performances. I've tried my best to make them sound as pleasing as possible, but obviously they'll never live up to the real thing. I really hope to one day have them recorded (My ultimate goal and dream is to hear them performed), and I would have indeed have recorded them myself if was able to, but unfortunately, my performance skills leave a lot to be desired, and keeping that in mind, I'm probably doing you a favor by providing MIDI realizations instead :P.
Anyway, as I assume the majority of you will not want to take the time to listen to the entire 55 minute work, I've ordered the preludes into a list of my own personal recommendations, separated into fast and slow preludes for your convenience. My aim was to write the cycle in such a way that made it acceptable to be listened to as both a set of self standing pieces and also as a complete cohesive work, so if you enjoy listening to them separately, I strongly recommend you go back and take the time to listen to them as a set, from start to finish.
1. Prelude No. 8 in F# minor
2. Prelude No. 17 in Ab major
3. Prelude No. 9 in E major
4. Prelude No. 7 in A major
5. Prelude No. 14 in Eb minor
6. Prelude No. 22 in G minor
7. Prelude No. 2 in A minor
8. Prelude No. 24 in D minor
9. Prelude No. 4 in E minor
10. Prelude No. 3 in G major
11. Prelude No. 18 in F minor
12. Prelude No. 16 in Bb minor
13. Prelude No. 13 in F# major
1. Prelude No. 21 in Bb major
2. Prelude No. 1 in C major
3. Prelude No. 23 in F major
4. Prelude No. 20 in C minor
5. Prelude No. 12 in G# minor
6. Prelude No. 10 in C# minor
7. Prelude No. 11 in B major
8. Prelude No. 15 in Db major
9. Prelude No. 6 in B minor
10. Prelude No. 5 in D major
11. Prelude No. 19 in Eb major
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen!
This must have been a labour of love Steven. Must have taken a long time and I wish you well in getting a performance of some, if not all of them.
Kevin Riley said:
Nice works. Poetic and beautiful.
These music, also has elements of popular music, I think that it is modern.
Now I am writing "23 Preludes" too.
Charles Greco said:
Thank you! I'm very glad you enjoyed them.
Nobuyoshi Tanaka said:
Why 23? Why not go for 24? :D
I am very, very impressed by this cycle of preludes. I notice you have Chopin as one of your tags on Soundcloud but I have to say this is one composer who doesn't spring to mind as I listen. I would say they share more similarities with Rachmaninoff's prelude cycle. First up big thumbs up on production.
1: The first prelude in C-major sets the tone wonderfully - a beautiful piece: refined, simple and tender.
2: Good fun - Beethovian in style (especially the left hand) but with a more modern (slightly bluesy) chord vernacular.
3: Good natured piece - playful and fun. Starts a passage of shorter pieces.
4: More a crack of thunder than a piece in its own right. Moves the listener into a deeper territory.
5: A beautiful and elusive prelude. Leaves the listener hanging.
6: An interesting piece of minimalism. This seems to be the culmination of the last 4 preludes (to me at least).
7: A change of pace. Virtuosic and more an etude than a prelude.
8: A continuation of this mood set by 7 - more urgency but tempered by some reflective passage. A superb main subject: I wondered if this one deserved to be longer due to this.
9: Probably the most demanding of the set - and a healthy Ludwig-ian style gusto.
10: Again - Beethoven is what I hear most as the influence. It has the feel of a sonata movement. It is also an interesting road to take with the C#minor prelude as this is probably a loaded subject for any composer approaching this cycle.
11: Quite a contrast from the previous prelude - I wonder if this one could possibly be looked at as I am sure there is a better way to bridge to 12. This feels like too big a tonality shift from the more classical ones in 10.
12: Very interesting. Back to the feeling invoked by 1. Expressionistic. 11 and 12 do seem weaker than the rest.
13: Back to form with this one. Too short though.
14: Wow - don't think I'll ever play this one. Tough. Not my favourite though - I am starting to think I have heard enough of these ones.
15: Beautiful - a very pretty piece that reminded me of late Beethoven sonata slow movements. I wasn't sure about elements of the last 2 minutes of the piece. It felt like this could all take place over a longer time period actually because I like what you were trying to achieve rather than did achieve. Any piece that reminded me of Sonata 32 in C-minor though is flirting with "greatness" - I would bring the high melody down an octave too (@3:40) - its just too jarring up there.
16: A change of tone. Possibly could be more interesting - I didn't like the trill section.
17: Very well written piece - reminded me of Prokofiev in some places. Doesn't quite cash in on the atonal chaos it suggests it might do so leaves me slightly disappointed.
18: Ahh - this is more like it - this is what I want to be hearing towards the end of a cycle. Its all getting a bit dream like now.
19: Ditto. An "other worldly" waltz that feels a little bit weaker than the other pieces towards the end.
20: A piece that takes a more proactive approach to having contrasts between the sections. A very impressive coda as well.
21: Lead into beautifully by the last piece. Your writing between a low left hand and high right hand is exceptional. This has a lovely melody.
I had to scan the last 3 as I am a bit pushed for time.
I love the way that the pieces in themselves often don't try to do too much - but certainly as a whole are greater than the sum of their parts. And the parts aren't too shabby either!! Well done Steven: some of the best work I have heard on these boards that not only pays tribute to the composers that have written using this method in the past but also in the way the pieces work as a set. In criticism I thought that on the whole the blend between classical tonality and a more modern minimalist tonality worked well but not everywhere. 11 & 12 are too weak and too short respectively and as the cycle progresses I never quite felt the pieces gelled as well as the first 10. None the less congratulations. This is masterful piano writing.
Thank you so much for going through and writing something on (nearly) every prelude. You have no idea how happy it makes me feel to read fresh views on each one, after months of only having my own thoughts on each piece.
With regards to Chopin being in the tags, that's more of an age old malicious tactic to trick people who are looking for recordings of Chopin's preludes to stumble across mine.
6: Yes! I've noticed that you can almost split the set up into "acts" which begin (or end) with a prelude type piece, even though this was completely unintentional.
8: I was annoyed at how short it turned out, especially because it's my favorite prelude of the set, but as is my method of composing, I can't artificially shorten a piece that was envisioned and came out at that length.
10: If I understand what you're implying correctly, I had never even heard of Rachmaninoff's famous prelude when I wrote this.
11: I'm not terribly fond of B major, which is probably why it turned out like that. I actually think it's a good break from the intensity of 7 to 10 though, the minimal tonality that seems to be going in it is relaxing, as if it takes the listener to a place to reflect on the last 4.
12: I'm a little disappointed that you didn't enjoy this one, as it's one of my favorites, but I think I can understand why.
Jack Pickett said: