JOHN BURGE (b.1961): 24 Preludes for Piano.
Catalogue Number: 11V065
Reference: CMCC 27319
Description: Another distinguished entry in the venerable tradition of cycles of preludes in all the keys. The most obvious - and acknowledged - model is Chopin's Op. 28, though coloristic harmonies, some elements of piano figuration and quasi-programmatic titles will bring Debussy to mind, and the modern, thoroughly tonal language and character of many of the pieces also recalls the under-rated Kabalevsky set. Burge is a pianist-composer and his piano writing is completely assured, idiomatic and original, with a very few instances of brief excursions into extended techniques - muffled strings, bell-like sonorities and direct contact on the strings - in the context of the most straightforwardly tonal pieces, to underline programmatic intent (for example No.11, "The Autoharp", uses the piano as, well, a harp, throughout, to great effect). There is a sense of progression toward grander, more virtuosic content as the cycle progresses; four cycles within a cycle are clearly detectable, each ending with a satisfyingly climactic minor-key piece, lending a pleasing dramatic contour to the work as a whole. Philip Chiu (piano).