Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 41: Pretty Pattern Preludes With Karim Al-Zand (rerun)

Learn about tiny pieces of music by which classical music newbies can get to know a composer’s style.

Houston composer Karim Al-Zand
Houston composer Karim Al-Zand

Greetings listeners! We’re rerunning this episode of the podcast in honor of Karim Al-Zand’s recent premiere of the new work, “The Prisoner,” at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California. The piece was inspired by the writings of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. Here – let Karim tell you:

This episode is about something else: pattern preludes.

Pattern preludes are enigmas inside of conundrums wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. No – wait. That’s not right… Pattern preludes, according to composer Karim Al-Zand’s website, are, “…pieces constrained by a single idea (usually a rhythmic or textural ostinato) through which a composer expresses a narrowly focused thought. Patterning is especially well-suited to preludes, which are by convention short, concise and introductory.” Bach, Chopin, Debussy, and others wrote pattern preludes. These little pieces function as a tool by which classical music newbies can get to know a composer’s style. Learn aaall about them in this episode!

Music in this episode:

  • Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier C major prelude book 1
  • Chopin’s C major Etude, Op 10, No.1, played by Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Chopin/Bach, played by Kana Mimaki
  • Al-Zand Pattern Prelude No. 1 (after Bach), played by DiLiberto
  • Schumann Album Leaves Op. 124, No. 17, played by Denes Varjon

Audio production by Todd “Titters” Hulslander with alliteration from Dacia Clay.


Dacia Clay

Dacia Clay

Host/Producer, Classical Classroom; Web Editor, Arts & Culture

Dacia began her career in public radio as the Audio Librarian for Houston Public Media (then KUHF) in 2009. She earned her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas' School of Library and Information Science, where she focused on special collections (thanks to the sage advice...

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