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93. Four Ancient Preludes – 4 mov’ts, 17.38

Four Ancient Preludes (4 movements) (composed July 2013) is a four-movement piano solo featuring highly dramatic Romanesque-stylized themes rooted in a cinematic orientation. The piece is a celebration of contrasting themes ranging from the fanfares of the powerful (marches) to the lyrical of the intimate (pastoral) themes. 

First movement

In a solidly constructed militare march, this movement employs steady tonic-dominant bass relations and a few key modulations.  The harmonizations depend on minor-inflected modalities and open fourth or fifth chords to provide fanfare-like, powerful punctuations that provide starkly staunch musical walls of sound, through which decorate and ornamental counterpoints pass through.  The 

Second movement

The minor second movement is a flowing 6/8 lyrical piece with ornamental left hand representative of the lyre instrument and uses two-handed rolling arpeggios as part of harp-like ringing effect.  Darkly hued and expressive in nature, it casts a spell of medieval music that is as beguiling and compelling as the Spartan and Gladiator legends themselves.  Powerful in its low harmonic density, it is richly-colored and exquisitely exotic.  

Third movement

The march-like modal music of the pesante fanfare-like march again comes back in a ponderously heavy 12/8.   Unlike the first movement, this is a much darker processional march. Bitter and forcibly repeating rhythmic patterns with open intervals, an unrestrained tone of an aggressive attitude surges forward, marking deep and profound low bass tones as the principal theme clangorously rings in large tutti ‘orchestral’ bell-like tones, building tension while the music rises and crescendos until the flood of unabashed emotions is unleashed in full octaves that widely stretch their powerful melodies across the full range of the piano’s register.

Fourth movement

The fourth movement intones a simple and stark melody in across a beguiling meandering and veiled almost Oriental-inflected background. An introverted array of tumbling strains descending against chromatic and modal harmonies that are unstable and progress to far-removed tonal areas creating otherworldly atmospheric tones.  Fragmentary motifs are also hear as subdued development of several disparate motives edge forward and fade away into obscure shifts of ostinato-like patterns.  Soft, mildly dissonant chords echo a patina of string-like sustained angelic tensions and disjointed, jagged rhythms complete the sense of an arabesque.  

for Piano Solo