John R Williamson: Music for Piano, Vol. 3
Product Code: DDV24145

Twelve Preludes selected from sets 2, 3, 8 and 6

My palindromic style of composing evolved through many years of searching for my own individual voice. Perhaps my early fascination with...
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12 Preludes (extracts from 10 sets of Palindromic Preludes)
Set 2 (1998)
I No VI in F: Fast,erratic I 38
2 No XI in B flat: leisurely, languid 307
3 No Xil in B: Homage to Chopin - with grandeur 247
Set 3 (1999)
4 No V in E: Rhythmic, flowing 200
5 No V11 in F sharp: Simple, naive 253
6 No XI in B flat: leisurely, relaxed 308
Set 8 (2005)
7 No.III in D: Strong, determined, dynamic i .38
8 No.IV in E flat: Afia recitative 3.22
Set 6 (2003)
9 No. I in C: Fast, fierce 2.08
10 No.III in D: Leisurely, amiable 2.46
11 No.V in Eflat:Plaintive* 2.52
12 No.VIII in G: Rapid, flying, cascading i .30
Piano sonata no. 6 (2004) 20.52
13 I Brisk, lively, rhythmically 5.44
14 II Slow, ponderous 6.16
15 Ill Alla scherzo, with vitality 3.13
16 IV Surging forward, resolute, stubborn 5.39
13 Variations on a Tone Row (C, D flat, E, F, G, A flat, B, C) (2007)
17 Opening fanfare 0.18
18 Variation I: Rippling 0.20
19 Variation II: Rough and rugged 0.37
20 Vanation Ill: Slow, solita,y, tentative 0.50
21 Variation IV: Fast, ferocious, explosive 0.54
22 Variation V: Relaxed, smooth 129
23 Variation VI: Restless 1.08
24 Variation VII: Lively 0.33
25 Variation VIII: Gently 0.42
26 Variation IX: Drowsy 2.06
27 Variation X: Rippling I .08
28 Variation XI: Fanfare I .03
29 Variation XII: Strident 0.45
30 Variation XIII: Frantic 0.33
7 Two-part Inventions (2008)
31 No.l inF: Rippllng 1.14
32 No. 2 in G: Slow I .55
33 No.3inA:Frisky 1.22
34 No.4 in B:Slow,serious 2.51
35 No. 5 in C: Cascading 2.05
36 No. 6 in D: Unhurried I .44
37 No. 7 in E: Very fast, glittering 1.51
* played by the composer

Total CD duration: 76.14

Twelve Preludes selected from sets 2, 3, 8 and 6

My palindromic style of composing evolved through many years of searching for my own individual voice. Perhaps my early fascination with the art of contrary motion gradually dictated my preoccupation with harmonic and melodic palindromic construction. For me, it became a natural expression of new sounds; however these constructions are not always of perfection. Perhaps following the examples of Bach and Chopin, I fell to writing sets of 12 preludes, each piece rising chromatically by semitones through the octave, making use of key centres rather than the traditional major and minor modes. This shorter prelude form offered me the opportunity to write succinct emotional contrasting expressions, currently I I sets being completed, in my continuous obsessive fascination with this form.

Piano sonata No.6
The composition of the Sonata poses the greater challenge of creating contrasting ideas and substantial development. The first movement has two contrasting ideas, one of a figurative nature, the other more lyrical. Development follows, but my themes are again restated, first in a mirror inversion, followed by combination of the images. Frequent use of sequential passages produces climatic effects. The semi-octave transposition is a favourite device, taking the tonality from D to A flat A substantial coda, again with inverted passages, rounds off the movement.
The second and third movements make use of only one motive-type idea; in the Scherzo, with its harsh jagged syncopations, similar mirror structures are evident, interspersed with relentless sequential repetitions. The title 'Alla scherzo' in the manner of a scherzo, is appropriate, but bearing no relation to its original meaning: a musicaijoke, exceptwithin its rhythmical drive. The second, traditional, slower movement reveals a simple idea moving peacefully along with inverted treatments and contrasting forms of repetition. The Finale is of a more lyrical nature, although the opening melodic ideas are later transformed into an hypnotic perpetuating motive heard over a long pedal, with transpositions and inversions. Passages of development reveal much two-part interplay between upper and lower voices; eventually the work comes to a dissonant and ferocious ending with thunderous chordal sounds.

Thirteen variations on a tone row
The variations are based on a tone row (C, D flat, E, F, G, A flat, B, C) which, in itself, is of palindromic construction. These little pieces are, like the preludes, brief emotional, contrasting vehicles, related to and extracted from the harmonic and melodic features inherent in the tone row, systematically transposed to create balance. The variation form, closely related to improvisation, offers a decided challenge to a composer’s ingenuity. In this piece, new horizons are explored.

Seven two-part inventions
A I was prompted to write a set of pieces of a simpler nature by a friend and colleague, after having heard a lighter passage of mine within another work. I accepted the challenge to compose music of simpler textures. The seven Inventions, based on the seven white piano keys — CDEFGAB — do not bear any relation to the Baroque forms as with J. S. Bach, but are intended to exploit more modern pianistic techniques, with much use of2-part imitation. The two voices are treated on equal terms, with frequent use again of mirror inversion. Each piece reveals a contrasting characteristic expressive content with the frisky leaping in no.3 or the waterfall picture of no.5.

Notes © John R. Wililamson, March 2009

Total 4 result(s).
Listen to Track 12 Preludes: No 1
Listen to Track Sonata No 6: 1st Movt.
Listen to Track 13 Variations on a Tone Row: No 1
Listen to Track 7 Two Part Inventions: No 1