“Hindman’s The Steinway Preludes is a post modern technical display piece. Utilizing one end of the keyboard without pedaling, “Sparkling” is bright and playful. “Pearly” is a fresh re-imagining of a Debussy-styled prelude. In “Velvety,” the middle pedal which sustains a note is prominently displayed as a resonant theme builds among rippling figuration. In her introductory remarks, Hindman said she wanted the listener to hear the instrument’s hammers repeatedly being struck in “Brittle” and she certainly accomplished that. “Thunderous” brings vigorous, dynamic piano lines at full force. Both entertaining and a technical minefield, Hindman’s miniatures were delightful and Mason seemed to thrive on them.”
~South Florida Classical Review
“Those five short pieces in the manner of Debussy have exquisite craft, and Mason’s playing was exceptional, with dazzling fingerwork and an ear for phrasing.”
~New York Classical Review
The Steinway Preludes (2004) were written for concert pianist and Steinway presenter William DeVan at his request, for a series of Steinway concerts and concerts for children. Unlike traditional sets of preludes written for each of the twelve keys, these preludes were all to be written for specific timbres associated with the Steinway piano.
Sparkling exploits the high register of the piano and the bright sound of the keys when attacked staccato, without pedaling. Several pedaled sections provide timbral contrast and richness.
Pearly features chords in fixed, sonorous voicings combined with suspensions, showing off the Steinway’s remarkable capability of sustaining pitches in different registers for as long as the pianist desires.
Velvety stays in the lower registers and emphasizes a fast, muted accompaniment against a cantabile melody that the pianist must bring out while keeping the rest relatively quiet.
Brittle explores the upper register of the piano again, but this time is mostly pedaled. It features tremolo throughout the work and challenges the pianist with independent dynamic levels in each hand. As the piece ascends in register, the brittle quality of the notes is clear.
Thunderous employs very loud dynamic levels, fast rhythms, and the use of the damper pedal to create a very full, resonant texture. It demonstrates both the power and the clarity of the Steinway piano across its entire range.
Premiere: February 27, 2005
William DeVan, piano
Birmingham Southern College Hill Recital Hall
Commissioner: William DeVan
Publisher: Subito Music Distributors