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Last year my mind was buzzing with musical ideas, so I sat down and composed seven preludes for piano. I called them 'Seven Preludes for Rainy Days' (Sjö fyrir-söngur fyrir rigningardegi). They're a simple collection of some expository compositions, each one quite different from the rest. 4 are in major keys, 3 are in minor. (The title and directions are in Icelandic, but there is a glossary at the end of the PDF for your reference.)

I hope you enjoy listening to them!

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Prelude I sounds delicate and well built on counterpoint. Beautiful.

Prelude II sounds modern and neo-romantic (to me). Nice ostinato rhythym in the first part, and repeat.

Prelude III is my favorite (so far, I am listening to them now). Introspective and a bit of Satie influence?

Prelude IV seems to go back to Bach inventions (first part). This is as if you were modernizing the styles.

Prelude V nice ideas here, it's very pleasant.

Prelude VI again I hear different influences that, finally, combine in your own style.

Prelude VII sounds more contemporary.

 

As a whole, I think your writing is careful and inspired. I love taking counterpoint, baroque, etc..., and bring them to more modern sounds.

 

 

 

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Thanks, @Luis Hernández! I really, really appreciate the feedback! These were inspired (mostly indirectly) by Bach and Debussy, although the style is my own. I tend to use a lot of augmented 4ths/5ths and chromatic modulations that give the music a certain edge... kind of keeps the listener on the edge of his seat.

10 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

As a whole, I think your writing is careful and inspired. I love taking counterpoint, baroque, etc..., and bring them to more modern sounds.

I do try to keep the music balanced between heart and head, so I'm grateful for your kind words. I also love taking old techniques and modernizing them... glad you liked these pieces!

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Something I appreciate about your impressionistic writing here is that it clearly comes very naturally to you. I could be totally wrong, but I think the majority of composers have to kind of get themselves in that mindset, putting on their impressionistic hat, and then write. For you, it’s just your natural language. That’s really fascinating to me, and it’s refreshing that you just flat-out have your own unique point of view.

 

This is a deep set of music here. I had to listen through it all 3 times to understand it better. 1st time, I liked it, but was kind of lost. “What’s he going for here?” 2nd time, understood a little better. 3rd time, I had my “Aha, I see” moment.

 

I thought that perhaps there would be a wide variation of different moods explored over the course of the 7 preludes. After all, just glancing at the score shows completely different ways of developing the music. The 1st one has a fugue-like sound to it, the 3rd one has a lyrical style to it, 4th one has some alien-sounding passages, with those thirds on top of the C-C#-D figuration, and the 7th one looks like it might be dramatic.

 

But when I listened, that wasn’t at all the sense I got. What was I missing?

 

After listening the 3rd time, I finally understood that while there are different moods present, they’re all rooted by the same thing. All 7 pieces have this philosophical angle to them. It’s impossible for me to put into words, but the best I can do is that all 7 pieces are the same man sitting in a chair, drinking hot coffee, smoking a cigarette, and watching it pour rain outside. And, he becomes ... philosophical.

 

The first piece feels like this “philosophy” (hereafter shorted to “Phil”, 😂then mixed with a different emotion or perspective. First is Phil mixed with a certain pondering whimsy. 2nd is Phil mixed with a more mischievous tone. 3rd, with an exotic song of the heart. 4th, realistic musings that give way to daydreaming flights of fancy, then back to reality. 5th, a little anxious and “squirrelly”.  6th is like a reprise of the 1st one, though presented in a different way, like this one is the prelude that came before the fugue. And the 7th one is Phil mixed with a certain resoluteness and finality, coming to a conclusion.

 

So, in other words, these aren’t 7 completely different moods explored in the preludes. It’s like the same person with the same mindset, pondering and feeling all sorts of different things as he sits down and watches the rain. This set of preludes is like a very clever “Variations on a theme”, except the variations aren’t on a theme, but rather, a mindset.

 

I honestly really enjoyed each one. I’ll just make a few little nitpicks here and there.

 

1st piece: mss. 51-52 are so cool! I really wish it had lasted just two more bars, then proceeded from there.

2nd piece: sustain pedal lasting from mss. 16-17 and abruptly ending when ms. 18 begins would be a neat effect.

3rd piece: just absolutely gorgeous. The playback here doesn’t really do justice to how beautiful this piece actually is. My only critique, is that ms. 24 shoots from F# major to C Major. I totally get that this piece is meant to sound somewhat quirky, and that this F# Major to C Major is immediately repeated in the left hand throughout mss. 26-30, where it makes sense, and you make it work great. And on top of that, sometimes a chord or chord progression is only meant to make sense in retrospect rather than at the moment of hearing it, which is totally normal. But on ms. 24, it just sounds forced to me. I have a suggestion. It might simply be how you voiced the C chord. If you keep the F# Major where it is, and then move the 3rd beat L.H to F natural base, with C natural on top, and take the right hand C chord on move it down an octave. It’ll still sound quirky and outlandish, but it won’t sound quite as random as before. It’s just a suggestion, take it or leave it.

Last piece: adding a rit. to end at ms. 116 would help bring a sense of closure to the set.

 

I really enjoyed listening to your preludes. Thanks for sharing with us ☺️

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@SergeOfArniVillage I think you are the first person who understood these preludes—congratulations! The beauty of impressionism, in my opinion, is that it can convey so much with so little. And, since it relies heavily on imagery and strips away more concrete musical ideas, it leaves a great deal of interpretation up to the audience. It isn't meant to precisely portray a scene like a Rembrandt portrait; it just outlines the mood and feelings, and lets the beholder paint the rest of the picture.

You were spot on with the introspective, philosophical nature of these preludes... and that they're all related! I'm not sure if you noticed, but each prelude's key is exactly one-half step lower than the one before it, symbolizing the philosopher settling in his mindset. They are grouped according to what could be a natural philosphical thought progression: the unchanging but often ironic ways of life, the joys life can bring, the realization that joy is impossible without sadness, the cycle of grief, the bittersweetness of loss, the grandeur of love and goodness, and finally the fact that much of life will remain a mystery. These are, more or less, an expression of my musings as I sit in a leather armchair, staring out the rain-stained window with a lukewarm cup of coffee.

I sincerely appreciate your perceptive outlook on my works. I try not to just compose pieces that "sound good." Almost all of them have a deeper meaning. It warms my heart that you were able to perceive that!

I also appreciate your suggestions and will seriously consider them!

Cheers,

Jordan

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