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Anthony Ritchie - 24 Preludes for Piano



Composer Anthony Ritchie follows in the footsteps of Bach, Chopin, Shostakovich and Debussy by using the centuries-old tradition of twenty-four preludes to experiment writing in all equal-tempered major and minor keys. Along with his own musical style and tendencies, Ritchie has transported modern analytical theory such as Tone-Clock technique and Magic Squares into the tradition – in turn paying tribute to his national contemporaries Jenny McLeod and Gillian Whitehead. This anthology of piano preludes is performed by Sharon Vogan.

Anthony Ritchie - 24 Preludes for Piano


"Dunedin’s Anthony Ritchie is one of our most industrious composers. Only in his mid-40s, his works run to Opus 111 and many are substantial (his most recent being The God Boy, an opera based on Ian Cross’ 1957 novel)." William Dart - NZ Herald May 25th 2005

"There is a world of music in these 50 minutes and the precedents of Bach, Chopin, Shostakovich and Debussy are freely admitted. Ritchie’s fluent, eclectic style allows for some frank tributes - no 13 is a mysterious sojourn in Claudeland while no 17 pays homage to Bach with a lean and lithe 12-note "prelugue" (Ritchie’s neologism for a combination of prelude and fugue)." William Dart - NZ Herald May 25th 2005

"This is a very important release. One of New Zealand's contemporary composers who manages to break new ground while working largely within orthodox frameworks and instrumentation, Anthony Ritchie has amassed an enviable opus of works spanning a wide variety. Returning to his primary instrument and with the luxury of an opportunity to evaluate the direction he had travelled and search out the great "where next?" these pieces show the benefit of a considerable reflection and the workings of a highly inquisitive musical mind.Paying tribute to a number of his great keyboard models, Bach, Chopin, Debussy and Shostakovich, Ritchie has laid out his 24 preludes in a highly original manner, fully explained in the detailed liner notes that for once are not dumbed down. Impeccably recorded and I must assumed played (not having the scores to hand) by Sharon Vogan this is a highly illuminating release.So, what of the music itself. I have to that it took a while for me to come to terms with these pieces. First there is the brevity of each Prelude. While this fits with the overall concept I found the set as a whole is made up of individual statements and as such I would have liked more to be uttered. Perules they are, but the longest stays for a mere 3:18. I like some of these works very much indeed, but there is an unquenched thirst created by snippets of such brevity. The other matter that surprised me is that given the virtuosity that a number of the previous sets of such preludes require is the apparent reluctance for Ritchie to show off. I know him to be a very fine pianist indeed, and as such I expected a more dazzling display. A gain, not having seen the scores it is possible the Vogan's skill just makes them sound "easier" than they in fact are. However they are hardly likely to enter the international repertoire at professional pianist level as a result of this apparent reticence to show off.Having said that, I feel the whole enterprise is well worth investigation. A welcome addition to the growing Ritchie discography."  Allan McFarlane