Preludes for Piano

Premiered at the Hotel Roosevelt, New York, on December 4, 1926. George Gershwin (piano).

When George Gershwin was asked by contralto Marguerite d’Alvarez to be her accompanist in a series of recitals, she also requested that he compose a solo piano work. He responded with a set of preludes, some developed from melodies in his tune books, which have since entered the standard classical piano repertoire. According to the recital program, Gershwin performed five preludes, three of which were subsequently published. When the recital was repeated in Boston in February 1927, Gershwin played a sixth prelude, the identification of which has been a matter of conjecture ever since.