5 Preludes


for solo piano (1999)

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12 min.



Program Notes

5 Preludes is a collection of short character pieces for piano. e first prelude is a highly virtuosic, chromatic fantasy. e next movement begins with a series of bright sparkling gestures. e central section has two floating lines at different speeds, as though the notes are smeared across the texture. e middle piece is a high-speed toccata with such rapid changes, it is as though it were a much longer piece compressed into a couple of minutes. e penultimate prelude sounds as though 3 sets of distant bells were ringing at different speeds in the distance. e final prelude is a rhythmic, rock-inspired allegro. e difficulty and insistent nature of the work lend it the sound of a piano-roll piece.

Justin Merritt Music

Composer Justin Merritt was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation Rudolph Nissim Award. He is also the winner of a host of other awards including the McKnight Fellowship, the Copland Award, and the Polyphonos Prize. His music has been played by the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, and on A Prairie Home Companion.

His evening length cantata, The Path, was premiered at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis in April 2018. The work is a setting of a collection of Buddhist Pali scriptures translated by the composer and set for multiple choirs, soloists, and large orchestra.

He received his Bachelors from Trinity University and his Masters and Doctorate from Indiana University. He studied composition with Samuel Adler, Sven-David Sandstrom, Claude Baker, Timothy Kramer, Don Freund, and electronic and computer music with Jeffrey Hass. He is currently Professor and Chair of Music at St. Olaf College. He resides in Northfield, Minnesota with his wife Faye and their children Cullen Fang Ouxiang and Molly Fang Qinghe.

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