The “Preludios Epigramaticos” were written in 1981 by the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (1939- ), in what he called the “New Romanticism” phase. Inspired on poems by Miguel Hernandez, these small works employ minimalistic gestures, unusual time signatures, greek modes and recurrent intervals like 2nds, 4ths and 7ths in a rather somber atmosphere (except for a more cheery Preludio #4, which is reminiscent of popular Cuban music). They also appear to renounce to an established key or tonality, maintaining a center with independent melodic lines related to themselves through a musical idea. Each one of them bears a fragment of a poem as subtitle.
The “Preludio Epigramatico # 1” employs all throughout the piece a rhythmic pedal (known as “Yambo”), made up by an interval of a minor 3rd (Si-Re, or B-D). It’s divided in 3 sections, A-B-A1 , and utilizes different greek modes/scales. Some interesting note groupings can be heard in the ascendant scale runs (5, 10 and the longest, 13 notes per beat). The score doesn’t have any time signature, but instead indicates a steady pulse of 1 crotchet = 60, reminiscent of a heart beat.