The first of these Études was written in memory of Mark Ray, former Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), who died in tragic circumstances in 2006. It makes use of syncopated rhythms and percussive articulation, with a passing reference to Ravel’s G major concerto, the work he performed in concert when he was a student at the RNCM. The Étude was premiered by Peter Lawson in 2006.
Études 2 and 3 were added to complete the set in 2020. Étude 2 is dedicated to Murray McLachlan, and is a study in textural control, with ‘a quiet wistfulness, floating with reflection calmly over gentle quaver figurations’. Étude 3 is dedicated to Jonathan Scott, and has more than a hint of the motoric rhythms and folk melodies of Bartok. It is ‘an extremely energised essay that encourages virtuosic bravura and élan’ (McLachlan).
Three Études have been recorded by Murray McLachlan on the album Edward Gregson – Complete Music for Solo Piano (Naxos 8.574222).