PIANO 26 : The art of the prelude


The prelude is an open door, a mystery, which sets up expectation for a later a resolution. For Johann-Sebastian Bach, this can only be a fugue in the same key: giving rise to the Well-Tempered Clavier, the pianist’s bible. Later, more often than not, the prelude became a full-fledged form with Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Shostakovich... and still attracts many composers today. This is the major subject of this new annual issue published by La Lettre du Musicien.

Nikolai Lugansky, the great Russian tradition

Our headliner this year is from the great Russian tradition that gave us and still gives us such great names. Next, we invited a young French pianist Bertrand Chamayou to accompany us for this edition. He gives us quite simply his point of view.

Bertrand Chamayou’s perspective

A 31-year-old pianist from Toulouse leads an international career. He goes over the main topics of this issue with us, and speaks candidly of the issues we address.

The art of the prelude

What is a prelude? The first few chords softly arpeggiated on the lute, to test the tone and place your fingers before you start playing. The prelude is an open door, a mystery, from which is expected some later resolution. From Bach to contemporary composers, we examine the object of this musical form.


In this anniversary year of Debussy, 
and because this issue is devoted to the prelude, Mathieu Papadiamandis has chosen Voiles for her lesson of interpretation. The prelude can also be this moment where the lights off, the pianist enters, moves to his piano, adjusts the bench, looks at and touches the keys that will produce the desired sound.
Other topics in this section: piano accompaniment, an unknown but exciting job that requires essential qualities, and the piano in the relationship between teacher and student.


For piano enthusiasts, the event of the year is the bicentenary of Charles Valentin Alkan, "the Berlioz of the piano," a French romantic composer, quite unknown because his works are not within the reach of every hand! He is to be rediscovered, while at the same time we celebrate Mehul, Wagner, Pierné, Hindemith, Lutoslawski, without forgetting John Cage and his famous prepared piano.

Instrumental manufacturing

What are the trends in the international market for pianos? Is the piano a "finished" product, impossible to improve? Opinion is divided and we can count on some extravagant imaginations from inventors. A factory visit at Steingraeber in Bayreuth, which maintains a tradition of high quality musical instruments. Finally, an investigation of a practical subject: is it possible to trust the Internet to buy a piano?

The piano today

Classical piano and jazz influences are reciprocal, and today the two genres come together sometimes to the point of confusion. Focus on preludes composed today.
Other topics
As every year, we devote a large part of the current events in our edition to composers’ birthdays, competitions (winners of the year and forthcoming events), scores, books and recordings published within the season.
Finally, as a postlude, there are the results of the past season and the highlights to come.

Special of 28 page issue: THE PIANO IN BELGIUM

Belgium, an eminently pianistic country, is perhaps the only in the world where a piano competition, the Queen Elizabeth, is seen as a national event attended by the entire population and highly publicized. History of the piano in Belgium, composers of yesterday and today, great performers, musical instruments, records, competitions ... we explore the musical life of this country so close by with so many mutual influences and ties.

As a bonus, with this issue of Piano

an exclusive CD "Belgian Pianists" offered by Baiwir Production 

a bookmark "Debussy" offered by Editions Henle
a score of Philippe Hersant, winner of the Grand Prize Lycéen Composers 2012
excerpts from "Variations serious" of Mendelssohn, edition Wiener Urtext

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