Work: Preludes (3) for Piano
About This Work
For some observers these three short piano pieces represent the apex of Gershwin's "classical" output. The two fast outer pieces, both marked Allegro ben rimato e deciso (fast, rhythmically, and decisively), are each hardly over one minute
long, while the middle Prelude is a slow, three-minute blues piece. The Preludes combine the immediate appeal of Gershwin's longer concert pieces with the tight melodic logic and seeming musical inevitability of his songs. Gershwin here uses harmonies and intervals derived from popular music, treating them with a miniaturistic rigor that may even remind the hearer of Bartók. The Preludes evolved mostly between 1923 and 1926, although the theme of the third was based on that of the piano rag Rialto Ripples, one of Gershwin's earliest published compositions. They were originally envisioned as part of a large Bach-like cycle, to be entitled "The Melting Pot"; Gershwin presented five Preludes -- the present three plus two earlier pieces that he had earlier called Novelettes -- at a 1926 recital, but then wisely dropped the two Novelettes when the Preludes were published the following year.
-- All Music Guide
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