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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.



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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.