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Programme note (written by Maria Rice) for a performance of Jonathan FeBland’s “Preludes 1 to 6 for Piano”.
Preludes 1 to 6 are examples of FeBland’s light classical or educational style — aimed to be playable by intermediate to advanced level students, as well as being entertaining for both performers and audiences alike. The preludes were written in two groups of three, and each draws inspiration from diverse influences in Western music. The first movement in this delightful set of pastiches may be considered Debussian, owing to its expressive cascades of harmony. The second, elegant yet austere, recalls the exquisitely sculpted piano melodies of Shostakovich, while the third contains elements of Stravinsky (perhaps of the Symphony of Psalms). Prelude 4 showcases the dance-like rhythms of traditional Scottish folk music with camponological overtones in contrast to the measured pace of the following movement’s serene Bach-like variations. Prelude 6 concludes the group with flourishes of joy, mystery, and triumph influenced mainly by music of FeBland’s native England (although not without some French tinges! Un petit homage a Messiaen peut-etre?) Preludes 1-3 and 4-6 were premiered in London at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St. John’s Smith Square, respectively. The first set of 3 are also published by Bardic Edition, UK.
Jonathan FeBland trained at the Royal Academy of Music, London (1978-82) and has composed in a wide range of different musical styles although there is usually some underlying tonality to his work. He has written Contemporary ‘Serious’ Music, Light/Educational Music and Jazz in a number of different genres.
His work is available in print from Universal Edition, London and the Sibelius Music website. He has also been recorded on CD - Louis Demetrius Alvanis (Piano) on the Meridian label and Deborah de Graaff (Clarinet) on the Walsingham label among others, have recorded his work.
Most recently he has been focusing on Jazz and has completed a set of 12 Jazz Piano Pieces, 3 Jazz Etudes (for Piano) and a one-movement Jazz Symphony in 33 Grooves (originally composed for ‘the Masterprize’).
It is possible to hear some of Jonathan FeBland’s compositions online at the Sibelius Music website where they have been met by other professional musicians with favourable reviews.