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The Twelve Preludes (Chicago, 1952-53) show with vivid clarity the many-sided expressive genius of their composer. Each prelude is a musical entity, each has its own 'raison d'être', its own musical message. Taken as a whole, the twelve form a work with an exhaustive range of expression running the complete gamut of musical ideas; ideas which are, in the words of Alfred Frankenstein referring to these pieces, pungent, lyrical and musico-philosophic. All of the preludes are built in various compositional forms; some in 'strict' form, others in a free, unbounded or through composed form. Throughout the twelve pieces are found numerous clever uses of stylistic rhythmic patterns and devices which characterize Tcherepnin's music. The pieces stem from the period of Tcherepnin's composition which is designated by many as his neo-romantic period, and are rich in singing, melodic lyricism; yet they are in essence fresh and completely 'contemporary' in style and content.

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