The Ubiquitous Prelude

prelude-no-8-chopin

When researching Chopin’s Preludes for a presentation at 2016’s Summer School for Pianists, I was struck by the widespread use of the title –  from before Bach, to Kapustin and beyond. Preludes pop up everywhere, sometimes singly, sometimes in sets of twenty-four, harnessed to fugues, with and without descriptive titles, introducing suites. And then there’s the verb: ‘to prelude’, referring to past centuries’ custom of an improvisatory ‘preluding’ to another piece. Most recently, I discovered this little known Prelude by Liszt, specifically composed ‘to prelude’ a polka by Cui (described in the previous post).

So this year I plan to explore the world of The Ubiquitous Prelude. We will start in the key of C.  And we’ll start with Bach …

Above, manuscript of Chopin’s Prelude in F# minor, Op 28 no 8.

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