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24 Piano Preludes From Bach to Gershwin

Sunday 24 March 2019

Jonathan Wortley – Piano

Music Room, Assembly House, Norwich 2.30 pm

All proceeds to the Michael Badminton Young Musicians Trust

With grateful thanks for the generous support of The Assembly House Trust for this event.

Programme notes

At least 17 composers have written sets of 24 or 25 preludes, usually in all the different keys. This programme was inspired by a CD issued a couple of years ago by the pianist Dominic John, with 24 preludes in all the keys, each by a different composer (in fact 25 preludes because he started and finished with ones in C major.)
I thought this was a great idea for a recital, and I decided to draw only on music I already had, which in some cases I had never performed or even looked at. I have covered all the keys, but only managed 19 different composers, but there is still a huge variety, and some composers I hope some of you will never have heard of! Anyway there are some who deserve more than one example.

Having chosen the pieces, the next challenge was to decide on the order. Should I follow Bach in his “48” and start at C, major and minor, and go up a semitone each time, or should I use the circle of fifths like Chopin, in which case after C major go to the relative minor (a) and then to G major and so on, or should I just try to try to find some similarity or contrast between successive preludes. An impossible task, so in the end I settled on the order above, a sort of hybrid between the approaches of Bach and Chopin.

Jonathan Wortley was born in West Runton, and attended Gresham’s School, where he met his wife Sally, a ‘cellist, on a music course held there one vacation. He read Natural Sciences then Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where aged 20 he performed Prokofiev’s 1st Piano Concerto in a May Week concert. He attended the College of Law in London, but spent most of his time playing the piano and accompanying students at The Guildhall, where he had lessons with the late Geraldine Peppin. He subsequently had a number of lessons with Hamish Milne.

Jonathan has practised as a solicitor in Norfolk for almost 40 years, but music continues to be an integral part of his life, both as performer, treasurer of the Norwich- based Academy of St Thomas chamber orchestra, and as trustee of a number of musical charities. He performs concerti, solo recitals and chamber music, as well as accompanying. He has worked with a number of professional musicians including the violinists Alan Brind, Jane Faulkner, Hannah Perowne and Andrew Storey, violists Philip Dukes and Gillianne Haddow, ‘cellists Richard May and Martin Storey, clarinettists Lynsey Marsh and Stephen Waters, and singers Mary Nicholls, Evelyn Tubb and Catherine Waters.

The Michael Badminton Young Musicians Trust supports young string players in Norfolk by assisting with the cost of lessons, purchase of instruments and financial help to attend courses and workshops. The Trust also has a number of valuable string instruments for loan. It was established in 1998 by the late Michael Badminton who also bequeathed his piano to the John Innes Centre.

Mike’s legacy for the last 21 years has helped many hundreds of children in Norfolk in various ways, and I think he would be delighted to see the impact it continues to have. The inugural String Day Course in 2000 was conducted
by the internationally renowned Christopher Adey. Subsequent Youth Orchestra, Concerto Days and string workshops were held in association with Norwich School, with former Director of Music, Colin Dowdeswell. Masterclasses have also taken place for violin and cello.

The Trust also promotes the very successful annual Norfolk Young Musician Competition which will be held next year on Sunday 12th January at the John Innes Centre.

If anyone wishes for more information about how to apply to the Trust, to enter the NYM competition or to be added to our email list for notification of all our events, please contact astsally215@gmail.com or visit www.academyofstthomas/trust.

I have been Chairman of the Trust since it was formed in 1998, shortly before Mike, a close friend, passed away in 1999.

Jonathan Wortley

Thanks to the Assembly House Staff, and Chrissie Owens for her help marketing the Trust events.