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The 12 Piano Pieces were inspired by a visit to London's Queen Elizabeth Hall when Vladimir Ashkenazy gave a complete programme of Scryabin. He suggested to Howard after the concert that he might write some 'entertaining pieces' fo piano and Howard set to work immediately, completing the first three within a week or so. All twelve were completed by October 1975 and a first performance was given by the composer in a BBC Brighton live broadcast soon after.
The second book of 12 further pieces were not created until 21 years later in 1996.
'Twelve Piano Pieces' are now only available as part of Lifecycle (all of the 24 pieces)
Eight of them were published as 'Eight Character Pieces' - a publication originally by Faber Music in 1985, now available from Highbridge Music.
A recording was made of 'Twelve Piano Pieces' by the composer in 1979 but this is not currently available.
The Twelve Pieces for Piano can now be found in the collection of 24 pieces in all the major and minor keys entitled
'Lifecycle' (1996), published by Highbridge Music, July 2004 (see op.489)
|26th August 1995||Howard Blake, The Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria
After a song recital by Frederika von Stade the composer was persuaded to give an impromptu performance of the 12 pieces in the main hall lit by candles. The idea was proposed by Ilona von Ronay who afterwards suggested that if HB were to complete the cycle of 24 she would engage him to perform the complete cycle at Schloss Rosenegg as part of her annual music festival there. HB wrote the further 12 as planned, renaming the piece 'Lifecycle' and giving the first performance on August 6th 1996
|December 1978||Howard Blake, BBC Radio Brighton|