Anthony Burgess’s The Bad-Tempered Electronic Keyboard: 24 Preludes and Fugues was released as a CD and download on 16 February 2018, in a new recording by the acclaimed Belgian pianist Stéphane Ginsburgh.
Never previously recorded, Burgess’s cycle of preludes and fugues was written to celebrate the 300th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s birth and is dedicated to that composer. Composed in a burst of creative energy between 23 November and 13 December 1985, Burgess’s music oscillates between the classicism of Bach and the modernity of Dmitry Shostakovich, who similarly composed a complete cycle of preludes and fugues. It is never quite certain which of these influences will finally dominate.
The bad-tempered electronic keyboard of the title is a Casiotone 701, acquired by Burgess in 1985 for his Monaco apartment. A state of the art instrument for the period, it has a full-sized keyboard and 14 preset sounds including ‘Piano’, ‘Organ’, ‘Frog’ and ‘Funny’, and was capable of playing up to eight notes simultaneously. The original keyboard is now part of the Anthony Burgess Foundation’s collection in Manchester.
Stéphane Ginsburgh performs worldwide and has appeared at many festivals such as Ars Musica, Quincena Musical, ZKM Imatronic, Agora, Bach Academie Brugge, Ultima Oslo, Darmstadt Ferienkurse and Gaida (Vilnius). He is a tireless surveyor of the repertoire but also explores new combinations including voice, percussion, performance or electronics. He dedicates much of his energy to contemporary music. He regularly plays with the Ictus Ensemble under George-Elie Octors, and has collaborated with many composers whose works he has premiered, as well as with choreographers and visual artists. Stéphane teaches piano at the Royal Music Conservatory and at the Dalcroze Institute, both in Brussels. More information about Stéphane is here.