Three Preludes for Piano (1995)

Programme Note: John Buckley

1. The Cloths of Heaven
2. Like Ghosts from an Enchanter Fleeing
3. Jim Singing

Three Preludes for Piano was completed in November 1995 and first performed by Anthony Byrne in the National Concert Hall, Dublin on March 15th 1996.

All three movements draw their titles and inspiration from poetic imagery:

1. The Cloths of Heaven is an essentially lyrical movement which attempts to capture something of the hauntingly evocative imagery of the Yeats poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven. The expressive main theme which follows the opening flourish, is extensively developed before reaching a tranquil, reflective conclusion.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

from He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats

2. Like Ghosts from an Enchanter Fleeing takes the form of a perpetuum mobile with constant fleeting semiquaver movement.

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red.

from Ode to the West Wind by P.B. Shelly

3. Jim Singing was composed as a tribute to my composition teacher James Wilson on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1992. It is based on fragments borrowed from his cycle for soprano and chamber orchestra Emily Singing.

Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding
from Stanzas by Emily Brontë