Although the short Prelude 1
carries the subtitle ‘Happy Birthday’, this was a misunderstanding on the part of the composer, since it was among a number of works written to mark the retirement of the American concert artists manager Karen McFarlane, when a number of her artists either wrote or performed works for that occasion. Nevertheless, it is a brilliant occasional piece, demonstrating the composer’s ability to condense into a comparative trifle an amazing variety of elements relevant to a more significant composition. It was given its first performance by Susan Landale, another of McFarlane’s artists, at the Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, in September 2000.
from notes by Graham Melville-Mason © 2006