Christopher Norton Preludes Collection for Lever Harp
1. Blue April
2. Tough Love
3. Without You
4. Now is the hour
5. Pokarekare Ana
6. Thanh Hien, Thu Hoa, Thuy Lanh
7. Rumba III
11. Roving River
12. Country Song
This book presents a selection from my six books of Preludes for solo piano, beautifully arranged for lever harp by Savourna Stevenson. The range of styles is wide and the expressive and flexible nature of the lever harp brings a fresh and exciting dimension to the pieces. There are country pieces, jazz pieces and a Vietnamese piece - something, I hope, for everyone!
Blue April (from the Jazz Preludes Collection) is a mellow jazz ballad, full of quiet yearning. Full of rich added note chords and minor 9 crunches, this piece has a very wistful quality.
Tough Love (from the Jazz Preludes Collection) is a Hancock-inspired modal piece, with an urgent main theme and a written out jazz solo in the middle.
Without You (from the Jazz Preludes Collection) another jazz ballad, influenced by Bill Evans. A simple, gentle melody is underpinned by rich, sensuous jazz chords.
Now is the Hour (from Pacific Preludes) is a song from my native New Zealand - it became very popular during World War 2, especially in recordings by Vera Lynn. A calm original melody frames the main theme, which is very much passed from one register to another.
Pokarekare Ana (from Pacific Preludes) is another New Zealand melody, treated here as a gently swung waltz. The piece gradually becomes more dramatic and florid, then declamatory, before coming to a sweetly reposeful end, quoting from God Defend New Zealand and Now is the Hour as it winds its way out.
Thanh Hien, Thu Hoa, Thuy Lan (from Eastern preludes) is a Vietnamese folk song. It starts with a gently rocking accompaniment that supports a long, beautiful main theme. The piece changes key and a plangent tenor register statement of the theme precedes an ethereal rising passage based on the accompaniment figure.
Rumba III (from the Latin Preludes Collection) is a Latin ballad, with a sweetly positive main theme and a more unsettled B section that goes to quite distant keys before a positive restatement of the main theme.
Arirang (from Eastern Preludes) is a Korean folk song that has been sung for over six hundred years and has become an unofficial national anthem both north and south of the border. An original accompaniment figure frames the main theme, which is stately and serene.
Mejangeran (from Eastern Preludes) is a folk song from Bali whose lyrics describe the movements of a dance called Janger, and the beauty of a young Indonesian dancer performing it. In an ethereal D- major, it starts with an original theme that ushers in the contemplative main theme. The piece becomes more florid and gradually, gamelan-like, increases in pace before slowing down again to end serenely.
Homecoming (from the Country Preludes Collection) is a country ballad, with a distinctive accompaniment figure that weaves its way around the main theme. The piece becomes more florid and fast-moving in B and C sections, before returning to the main theme and ending very calmly.
Roving River (from the Country Preludes Collection) is a positive, mid-tempo country melody, quite easy-going in nature. It has a second idea that is more block chord in style.
Country Song (from the Rock Preludes Collection), influenced by Keith Jarrett, is one long melody, with a very upbeat, positive character. There are grace notes that give it a country flavour but there is also a rock flavour in the harmonies.
Christopher Norton, Stratford, Canada - March 2018