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Howard Skempton Twenty Four Preludes and Fugues (2019)


(Duration 23')


Programme Notes

Occupied in recent years by commissions for choral pieces and several large-scale works,

I have remained alert to opportunities to write for solo piano. Three things have prompted

the composition of this set of 24 Preludes and Fugues. The first was the release in 2011 of

William Howard’s CD of 24 Preludes and fugues by Pavel Zemek Novák, a 75-minute work

divided into four books, two based on the Old Testament and two on the New. Reviewing

the CD for TEMPO, I was captivated by the conciseness of Pavel’s remarkable pieces

and wondered if I might be able to meet such a challenge. Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte

Klavier and Shostakovich’s Op. 87 were, of course, already central features of my musical

landscape. The second event spurring me to action was the release of William’s CD of

Sixteen Contemporary Love Songs, and the third was the postponement, for a few

months, of a choral commission, allowing just enough time to compose this very compact



Howard Skempton 7 May 2019

Howard Skempton's 24 Preludes and Fugues were premiered by William Howard at the Hay Festival on 27 May 2019


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