Gregory Stone has transcribed these three selected preludes for one piano-four hands.
For much of his life George Gershwin sought to integrate the worlds of jazz and classical music. These pieces are not jazz improvisations but they do show something of the style of his own playing. Gershwin had intended to compose a set of twelve, a sort of jazz Wohltemperierte Clavier, but his unexpected death from a brain tumour at the age of 38 prevented this. At least seven survive (others may have ended up as songs), and this set of three, as published, form a satisfying unit.
The first opens with a blue-note riff which forms the basis of the first theme. Contrasting material follows, making use of a distinctive repeated note figure, then the first idea reappears in a quasi-orchestral climax. The second prelude shows a curious kinship with Chopin’s A minor Prelude, with its eerie accompaniment and hypnotic melody. The third exploits a similar major/minor ambivalence, but dextrous syncopation gives it driving rhythmic energy.