In an album of world-premiere recordings, Steinway Artist Nicolas Costantinou performs 12 Preludes for solo piano by Constantinos Y Stylianou, each inspired by a different work of art.
In 2008, as part of a series of events to mark the French Presidency of the EU, Stylianou was asked to compose a piece of music for solo piano to be performed at the Great Hall of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This resulted in two pr ludes, each one inspired by a work of art (painting or sculpture); the choice of form was also influenced by Debussy’s two Books of Pr ludes. Following those two initial piano works, Stylianou decided to continue composing pr ludes until a cycle of 12 was completed. The last prelude was composed in 2014, with final revisions made in 2018.
From the set’s starting point of a prehistoric sculpture of a winged goddess, Stylianou embraces a wide range of art: Mondrian’s Composition with Blue and Yellow (1932); Cezanne’s L’etang des soeurs (1875); Turner’s Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth (1842); Campin’s The Weeping Angel from the Seilern Triptych (c. 1410/15); Die Lebensstufen (1835) by Caspar David Friedrich; L’homme qui marche (1947) by Alberto Giacometti; Matisse’s La le on de piano (1916); Klimt’s The Kiss (1907/08); Kandinsky’s Le rond rouge (1939); O kosmos tis K’prou (1967/72) by Adamantios Diamantis; and finally The Dance (1988) by Paula Rego. The result is a vivid, colourful and inspired series of preludes, each one distinguished not only by a unique tonal and stylistic character, but also by the personal approach to the instrument that is so characteristic of this composer’s style.