Chopin's 24 Preludes is a comprehensive collection of quintessential Romantic miniatures, one in every major and minor key. The music spans the full range of human experience and emotions, at turns joyful, fleeting, energetic, eerie, vulnerable, melancholy, humorous, and passionate. No matter what the mood, Chopin offers us music of great beauty.
The set is universally regarded as containing some of Chopin's finest and most original compositions, and it is a rare treat to hear the complete 24 in concert. Listening to all 24 preludes as a whole is a true odyssey, a splendid journey into this unique, romantic, and evocative world, unmistakably Chopin's. As several of the 24 preludes are short, famous pieces frequently learned by beginning and intermediate piano students, hearing this music may have special significance to many members of the audience.
Chopin's 24 Preludes was a powerful work which redefined the prelude form. On the second half of the program, various preludes from throughout music history will be performed, revealing both the evolutionary line that led up to Chopin's remarkable set and, as well, an impressive diversity of preludes from the 19th and 20th centuries which show Chopin's enormous influence on future generations of composers.
These additional works include an organ prelude from the 15th century, selections from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (late 16th century English music), and special "unmeasured preludes," compositions from the French Baroque which Michael Arnowitt will performed in the traditional improvisatory style.
The Praeambulum that opens Bach's Fifth Partita in G major and selections from his Well-Tempered Clavier (which Chopin pays direct homage to in the first of his 24 preludes) are also included on the program, along with preludes by Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Shawn, and Shostakovich, and a chorale prelude of Brahms, a religious musical form that in centuries past was used to preface hymn singing..