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Five Preludes
by Bruce Stark
solo piano, about 8 minutes
(18 pages)
Belle-Kane Publications
$9.99 (US)

Bruce Stark's music was performed to wonderful effect again in tonight's program. His 5 short pieces further explored how jazz stylings and American folk music influences can be used without merely evoking the achievements of the 50s. The explosive 5th prelude was fascinating in how it simultaneously and without feelings of pastiche evoked both Bartok and Gershwin.

review by Jeff Harrington, November 2006, NYC
(on-line contemporary classical music magazine)

Five Preludes was recorded by British pianist Seann Alderking on his 2006 release entitled Vivid, available on-line through Red Kite Records. Five Preludes was also recorded by pianist Chika Nagisa on Muse, a 2006 release from Centaur Records available at Centaur's website. In 2006 Joe Rubenstein gave the U.S. premiere of the work as part of the Keys To The Future contemporary piano music festival in New York City.


Program Notes
Five Preludes (2003) was composed for pianist Yuko Mifune, who premiered them in Tokyo the same year. The five pieces average no more than one and a half minutes each, and while conceived as a collection can be played separately or in partial combinations. I composed them with the intent of creating succinct, distinct worlds in each piece.

Prelude No. 1, mostly in 7/8 meter, is atmospheric, perhaps yearning or haunting depending on the performer. Though not in a common time signature, the music flows smoothly and doesn't call attention to its meter, which I hope enhances its capacity to evoke. Prelude No. 2 is the shortest piece in the group, possessing the character of a brief interlude with its shadowed, chordal statement. Prelude No. 3 is inspired by the rhythmically precise yet resonant textures found in music such as celtic harp, dulcimer and gamalon ensembles. A clear, rapid demarkation of time combined with lyrical beauty has a mesmerizing quality well-suited to the piano. Prelude No. 4 is the most songful of the group; I hope it conveys a warmth and sincerity which I associate with true friendship, and with vast, expansive beauty such as that of mountains and broad, peaceful skies. Prelude No. 5 is the most technically demanding and agressive music of the collection, drawing from rhythms and harmonies of jazz, while also possessing textures more characteristic of classical music.

- Bruce Stark