Jean Claude Wolff

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G. Bompais


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Preludes


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The "Onze preludes pour piano" ("eleven preludes for piano") were written in 1997/1998. The idea came about when I was writing "Crepuscules", also for piano, which developed a wide thematic idea and was based on the variation principle.

In the "onze preludes", the thematic motives are short, very characterised, and for all of them, written around a specific interval (major third, minor second, etc). This interval, heard melodically and harmonically, is peculiar to each prelude and gives it a specific sound and affective nature.

These "onze preludes" also are a homage to some composers who inhabit my musical thoughts, who help me through their evocation, their study, their tradition, to "live music": "when I feel empty of love and music, I think of Beethoven." The word "tradition" is for me a free concept, open, boundless, but also difficult.

In the "onze preludes", in which I especially evoke Messiaen, Beethoven, Debussy, Bartok, Chopin, Mahler, there is neither pastiche nor quote, but it is an impregnation, a poetic hotchpotch of the memory. The "onze preludes" are performed without break, it is a work brought by snatches of memory, memories and allusion (one can think of Dutilleux' writing in his string quartet "Ainsi la nuit"). Numerous "asides", "parentheses" and "presentiments" are included.

If some of these Preludes can be performed alone, the performance of the whole work is highly desirable.


Audio sample : performed by Alice Ader.