Preludes For Piano

Album cover art for upc 095115226421
Label: CHANDOS
Catalog: CHAN 20264
Format: COMPACT DISC

Ivan Ilic

Born in Liège, Belgium, in 1873, Joseph Jongen showed an outstanding precocity for music from a very early age, and was admitted to the Liège Conservatoire at the extraordinarily young age of seven. He won a First Prize for fugue in 1895 and honours diplomas in piano and organ the next year. In 1897, he won the Belgian Prix de Rome, which allowed him to travel to Italy, Germany, and France, where he experienced the music of Brahms and Richard Strauss, Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel, all of which would exert an influence on the young composer. Although he composed in numerous genres, including the symphony and concerto, as well as chamber music, instrumental pieces, and choral works, it is his output for the organ for which he is now best known. The Serbian-American pianist Ivan Ilic helps to redress the balance with this new recording of two of Jongen’s substantial sets of Préludes for piano. The 13 Préludes, Op. 69 are expansive in nature and extremely poetic – each bears an evocative title. They are dedicated to Émile Bosquet who gave their première, in 1923. The 24 Petits Préludes dans tous les tons were begun in 1940 and (like Bach’s preludes and fugues) circle through each and every key, major and minor. Arranged in twelve pairs, the minor key following the major on the same tonic note, these works reflect Jongen’s affinity for (and mastery of) their free form, as well as demonstrating his mature compositional style.

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