- Preludes & Fugues (24), for piano, Op. 87
Shostakovich was not only a musical innovator and intrepid pioneer, but also an admirer and humble student of those who came before him. He paid frequent homage to the great composers of the past both through quotation and imitation of form. Shostakovich's Op. 34, a set of "24 Preludes for solo piano" modeled after a format developed by Chopin. Nearly 20 years later, Shostakovich again turned to this system for his "Op. 87 24 Preludes and Fugues." This time, Shostakovich not only followed Chopin's tour of the keys, but also followed Bach's fugal writing. Opus 87 turned out to be a distillation of everything that inspired Shostakovich, from composers to Baroque dance forms to folk music to experimentation with modality. As such, each of the "24 Preludes and Fugues" is entirely unique. Successful performance of the set relies on a pianist's ability to pay close, almost microscopic attention to detail and the ability to quickly and decisively change character. Such skills are present in abundance in pianist David Jalbert. His spirited interpretation of Op. 87 takes listeners on a whirlwind tour of emotions and colors, all completely sincere and entirely captivating. His technique is quite clean, and even in the busiest of multi-voice fugues, every note and every line is easily discernable. The result is an album that is appropriate as a first introduction to Op. 87, but also worthy of addition to an existing collection.