It’s about time I reviewed About Time: Six Piano Preludes by the well-known British composer Mark Goddard.
Published by EVC Music back in 2018, this intriguing collection of miniatures with latin subtitles initially slipped under my radar. Following EVC’s new partnership with Hal Leonard I have been re-examining their catalogue, and have been delighted to discover About Time, which makes an excellent addition to the growing Pianodao Music Library…
Six Piano Preludes…
Mark Goddard has led a distinguished career both as a prolific composer of instrumental and vocal music, and as the founder of publisher Spartan Press, which he and his wife launched together in 1989 and managed until 2018.
That was also the year in which EVC Music published his About Time collection for solo piano. The sequel, a collection of six more Preludes entitled About Gods, is available digitally from the publisher, as is his Fantasia after Brahms.
The six preludes that make up About Time are suitable for advanced players (around UK Grades 6-8) and bear the titles:
Prelude No.1: Tempus fugit – time flies
No.2: Momento temporis – A moment in time
No.4: Perpetuum mobile – Perpetual motion
No.5: Tempus Rerum Imperator – Time, commander of all things
No.6: Ab Aeterno – From time immemorial
According to the publisher,
“Whilst each of the six preludes in this suite is distinct in character, they all share the composer’s trademark use of contrasting time signatures, pulsating rhythms and dramatic energy.”
Here they are in a complete performance by Noa Kapelyushnik:
The serious modernist musical language of these pieces won’t appeal to all, but it seems to me that they convey their individual personal energy with alacrity and distinctive personal character.
Playing them, I am struck by the composer’s supreme craftsmanship and sympathy for the instrument, each miniature succinctly conveying itself, but with a perfection of scale and undeniable sense of consummate polish.
Performed together, as in the above video, they certainly combine to deliver a brilliant musical statement.
The sheet music publication appears as a simple 12-page folio in the EVC Music house style, with a vividly eye-catching cover:
Within, the contents page is directly followed by the scores, which take up the remaining eleven pages, and are beautifully and spaciously engraved.
While pitched at the more advanced player, I am no less thrilled to see that helpful fingering suggestions have been included throughout, which will help players not accustomed to this composer’s writing to assimilate the technical demands of the music.
The rear cover includes a useful and inviting programme note for each of the six preludes About Time.
According to Goddard,
“We are all slaves to the passing of time, yet we are individually perfectly free to do as much or as little as we see fit, within its confines.”
Wise words indeed, and these pieces certainly seem to me an excellent use of an advanced pianist’s time!
If you’ve not listened to the recording above, go ahead, and see whether these musically rewarding miniatures are for you!
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