Twenty-four preludes for piano
Op.83 (1959-1960)

Duration: 50'
Publisher: Universal Edition, London, 1965
in print (two vols.: UE 12998/9)

First performance: Edinburgh Sopciety of Musicians, Oct. 1960 (Hans Gál)

Other performances (selection):

Louise Wandel, Mainz, Sep. 1961(selection), Apr. 1963, Oct. 1963
Francis Bamberger, Mainz, Oct. 1961 (selection)
Hans Gál, Frankfurt Radio, Sep. 1963; Austrian Radio, Apr. 1964
Hans Gál, London, Mar. 1965; Edinburgh, Aug. 1965 (selection)
Francis Bamberger, Südwestfunk Radio, Aug. 1965, Dec. 1966
Maria Bergmann, Südwestfunk Radio, Jun. 1966 (selection)
Dorothea Braus, BBC Radio, Apr. 1971, Nov. 1971; London, Apr. 1973 (selection)
Tanimichi Sigita, Tokyo, May 1973 (selection)
Ruth Geiger, Edinburgh, Nov. 1973; BBC Radio, May 1978, Glasgow, Oct. 1978 (selection)
Bavarian Radio, Dec. 1978, May 1983 (selection)
Dagmar Bella Sturli, Edinburgh, May 1984; London, Oct. 1988 (selection)
Hans Gál, BBC Radio, Aug. 1985 (selection)
Angela Brownridge, Edinburgh (Oct. 1985 (selection)
Mainz, Sep. 1990 (selection) (100th anniversary concert)
Vienna, Oct. 1997 (‘Homage to Hans Gál’)
Leon McCawley, York, Oct. 2011

Programme notes:

Gál's 24 Preludes for piano owe their origin to a fortnight's stay in hospital in 1960, during which time he wrote one prelude every day, "so as not to get out of practice", as he jokingly put it.

"What was begun under such unusual circumstances was continued in the following months, developed and revised. Several pieces were replaced by others, so that few of the 'hospital pieces' are contained in the final version. After completing the whole work, the composer expressed the view that, if Bach had in his day composed the Well-Tempered Clavier in order to demonstrate that one could compose in all keys (which was by no means taken for granted at that time), then it was time to demonstrate that one could still compose in all keys today." [Otto Schmidtgen: 'Hans Gál's neues Klavierwerk', Das Podium 1/2, 1961. Monatliche Mitteilungen der Mainzer Liedertafel und Damengesangsverein, Mainz]

Of the work itself Gál himself said:

"The Preludes were a birthday present for myself. They are studies in piano sound, piano technique and concentrated miniature form. Each of these three elements is for me an area of inexhaustible possibilities, and as I wrote the pieces I had the feeling that I could have written 24 more without repeating myself, in view of the unbelievable variety of what can take place between the black and white keys. All the Preludes are as concise as possible in order to form a thought precisely". [Wilhelm Waldstein: Hans Gál: eine Studie, 1965, p. 38]

Recordings available
Leon McCawley
Martin Jones
Aladár Rácz
Audio samples
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