Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes for solo Piano were composed within a relatively short space of time during the winter of 1932/3. Just like in his later work, 24 Preludes and Fugues (Opus 87), the pieces in 24 Preludes form a cycle in each of the 12 major and minor keys. Therefore, even though these Preludes are often performed separately, or as selections made into a group, the manner of their composition implies that they are better perceived as a set. Nevertheless, the memorable individuality of the clearly defined mood and character of each of these 24 short pieces easily allows for selective performance choices.
Shostakovich's music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality making the 24 Preludes perfect for any skilful pianist seeking to display technical and expressive talent.