With Shostakovich’s infamous Pravda denunciation three years away - late 1932 and early 1933 was a period of great compositional success for the young man. He composed these preludes at almost a pace of one every two days. They were likely designed to show off his virtuosic capabilities, as he was embarking on a career as a concert pianist. Following the model of Bach, Chopin and Scriabin - the twenty-four preludes traverse all of the major and minor keys. They also provide a glimpse into the twenty four year old composers personal life (some critics have called them “psychological sketches”); and they cover a wide emotional range from excruciatingly painful somberness to sardonic humor and unbridled, lightly-articulated playfulness. There is a sense of romance in these works, even opening with what sounds like Chopin's D-flat Nocturne. The G Major and E Minor are cases in point, alternately a night-piece and short fugue in three parts. The most famous is the lugubrious E-flat Minor, since Leopold Stokowski orchestrated it with grandiose effect. No. 6 is witty polka in homage to Prokofiev's The Love for 3 Oranges. The A-flat is a melancholic waltz in the manner of Ravel and a touch of Schumann's Prophet Bird. The last Prelude, in D Minor, is a playful gavotte, a sly wink at Chopin's grandly tragic eruption in the same key.
The pieces are short but extremely technically challenging. As might be expected from Shostakovich, the lines are quite disjunct; having leaps of up to two octaves between notes. Annett Busse has performed these pieces in concert many times, never afraid to take them at the composers prescribed, fearsome tempi. Also included on this album are a rarely heard discovery of Annett’s: the Doll’s Dances. These charming miniatures were compiled in 1953 from his ballet suites and film scores.
Annett Busse was born in 1972 in the German town of Chemnitz - known then as Karl-Marx-Stadt. After an early musical education there, she was accepted into Dresden's Special School for Music in 1987. She later studied under Professor Winfried Apel at Dresden's University for Music. Annett was awarded a scholarship by the Studies foundation of the German people in 1993. During the late 1990’s Annett moved to England and studied with renowned pedagogue Peter Feuchtwanger. She lives between Hertfordshire where she has a flourishing teaching practice and the South of France. Annett has given recitals across Europe, a highlight being Liszt's first piano concerto in Berlin with the Berolina Sound Orchestra. She performs regularly at City of London Churches. Inspired by the great pianists of the 'Golden Age', Annett has a great affinity for and association with Russian music.