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24 Preludes

for piano, by Anthony Ritchie, Opus 101

These 24 Preludes for piano written in 2002 represent a change in direction for the composer, and are challenging to play. They cover a wide variety of moods and characters, paying homage in places to Bach, Chopin, Debussy and Shostakovich.

Programme Note

It is impossible not to feel inspired when playing some of Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues, Chopin's 24 Preludes, Debussy's two books of preludes, or Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues. As a composer I wanted to make a small mark of respect to these greats with some dedications. I have also taken a cue from Bach and Shostakovich and included contrapuntal forms within these preludes. While not wanting to restrict myself to the form of a fugue, there are several preludes which are close in spirit to fugues: Nos.17 and 19 for instance, are what I would call my 'prelugues'. There is also a passacaglia (No.16) which owes a debt to Shostakovich.

I have conceived these pieces as a unified whole. Within them I have attempted to cover a whole variety of characters and moods, from the improvisational and experimental to the lyrical and gentle, from the wild and gestural to the calm and peaceful, from the quirky and 'black' to the light and sunny, from the depressive to the resolved.

The extensive technical planning and preparation behind these pieces has been fun for me as the composer, but in the end it is the sound and musical expression that matters. I would like to think this voyage of discovery has led to something new and interesting to listen to.

DURATION: 55 minutes

Six of the preludes have been recorded by pianist Jan Liu as part of the NZ Music Trust's 2022 project publishing NZ piano music in China, and are available on YouTube:

Prelude 2video link
in memory of Frederick Chopin.

Prelude 7 video link
Slow and intense, with rubato

Prelude 8 video link

Prelude 15 video link
Very fast, fleeting.

Prelude 21 video link
Fast and bright.

Prelude 24 video link
for my mother.

recording link Stream or download all tracks from the CD 24 Preludes recorded by Sharon Vogan in 2000.

Buy the right to download a single pdf score, online, and permission to duplicate or print it as required for one pianist: NZ$35.00

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