Sean Shepherd: Preludes

"Sean Shepherd’s three 'Preludes' made a striking impression with their economy and individualistic language. In two ghostly outer movements and one prickly, briefly cheeky centerpiece, Mr. Shepherd neatly and poetically explores the piano’s aural resources. Mr. Kigawa was a diligent, compelling advocate." - Steve Smith, The New York Times

"The program notes for Sean Shepherd’s Preludes were a bit more extensive, drawing attention to the pensive nature of the three pieces. The first and third preludes were thoughtful and almost exquisite, tinkling occasionally in the manner of a music box. The second prelude was more playful as it rumbled and romped along in cute rhythms, culminating in a quotation of Brahms’ famous Lullaby and finishing with a rude awakening." - Rebecca Lentjes, Bachtrack

"Completed in 2005-’6, Sean Shepherd’s Three Piano Preludes are brief, relatively early pieces in his catalogue. While they aren’t as sophisticated as his work would become in just a couple of years, the preludes demonstrate the composer’s then already keen ear for creating effective textures. After enthusing about them on the house microphone, Kigawa played these pieces excellently. It is clear he would be an ardent interpreter on behalf of Shepherd. One hopes the composer will soon give him a larger work into which to sink his teeth." - Christian Carey

"Fiery sections alternated with quiet ones, and an extended passage of obsessive minor key repetition was seductive and haunting. That mood carried over the Sean Shepherd’s three Preludes – relatively conventional compared to the previous two works but no less inventive or of-the-moment. After a false start in which Kigawa had to remember to remove the painter’s tape, the pianist delivered a gorgeous, graceful performance.

This was the most traditionally pianistic music, and one could hear Kigawa’s graceful articulation, each line pointing towards meaning. Shepherd’s Preludes also came out of Debussy, with a sly nod to Radiohead, and they balanced structure and freedom with elegance. They also succeeded as literal preludes, ending without resolution while sounding complete and self-contained." - George Grella, New York Classical Review