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for solo piano

The 24-Hour Preludes were written, true to their name, within the span of 24 hours: I began composing them at 9 a.m. on August 5, 2013 and finished at 9 a.m. on August 6, 2013 while in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico.

The rules were this: each prelude had to be started exactly at the beginning of each hour and completed by the end of that hour. Before starting, I made two separate sets of cards to draw from as I wrote the preludes. One listed the 24 major and minor keys, and one listed random words (states of being, composer names, adjectives) from which I could draw inspiration for each prelude.
As each new hour started, I picked one “key card” and one "inspiration card” at random. Some allusion had to be made to the “key” (e.g., as a tonal center, or a prominent chord) within each prelude. If I drew an inspiration card that didn't feel particularly inspiring, I allowed myself to draw another, or to draw two at a time. One card was blank. For the last prelude, I chose not to draw an inspiration card.

The title of each individual prelude names the key card and inspiration card(s) drawn, as well as the hour during which the prelude was composed. The preludes have been edited mildly, but only for clarity of notation; no notes or dynamic markings have been changed since their completion.

This recording features the twelfth movement of 24-Hour Preludes for solo piano, recorded by pianist Holly Roadfeldt at Lafayette College on March 20, 2015. A score of the excerpted preludes is available for free download.

—Dale Trumbore

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