Shopping Basket
Cat. No. CHAN 10513 Price: Ł0 No. of discs: 1
CD Logo
CHAN 10513 - Hartke: Horse with the Lavender Eye/ Sonata/King of the Sun
Download Hi-Res Artwork
Download Booklet as a PDF
This product is only available through our

OR as a download from
Audio Sample


Available From: 01 February 2009
Stephen Hartke is widely recognised as one of the leading composers of his generation, whose work has been hailed for both its singularity and the inclusive breadth of its inspiration. The result is an individual musical voice – one of melody with colour, reflecting two great individualists, Bartók and Messiaen, and an affection for non- Western music. In addition, his openness to a blend of the abstract and the sacred, and his disregard for the boundaries between high and low art, is heard in his varied output. This collection offers the listener different sides to Hartke’s chamber music composition performed by America’s premier piano quartet, the Los Angeles Piano Quartet.

The surreal trio The Horse with the Lavender Eye of 1997 here receives is premiere recording. It counts amongst its bewildering array of inspirations a play by Carlo Goldoni, Japanese court music, the cartoons of Robert Crumb, and Looney Tunes. Hartke explains: ‘All the movements have to do in one way or another with a sense of being offbalance – playing music with only one side of the body; being caught between insistent and conflicting demands… nonetheless, in the very end, a sense of calm and equilibrium comes to prevail.’

Four selections from Post-Modern Homages for solo piano also receive their premiere recording. Despite the title they were not written as a set, and thus the piano writing is very different in each piece, but they share a common feature: each was composed for a friend, and each transforms aspects of an existing piece of music; for example, Gymnopédie No. 4 evokes Erik Satie. Hartke’s other major work for solo piano is the vivid Sonata for Piano, cast in three movements, the central movement having a muscularity and elegant ease that bring to mind the dancing of Gene Kelly.

The final work is The King of the Sun, written for the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. Inspired by paintings by Miró, the work is full of good humour. The New York Times said of the work, ‘Here and there, one could hear intimations of composers as diverse as Olivier Messiaen and Steve Reich, and idioms as far afield as gospel and jazz. Yet the writing sounded coherent and vigorously expressive, not afraid of dissonance but not obsessed with chromatic fragmentation, either.’

“With each encounter, I’m taken with the sparkle and virtuosity, the rhythmic vitality, melodic invention and overall alertness of Hartke’s music. There’s the sense that the Los Angeles-based composer has taken a thousand influences, everything from Japanese court music to Stravinsky, tossed them into a blast furnace and melted down to something essential and unique. The performances here, by the Los angeles Piano Quintet, clarinettist Richard Faria, violinist Ellen Jewett and pianist Xak Bjerken are exceptional; they breathe music.”
Richard Scheinin


San Jose Marcury News - 1 January 2010

This outstanding performance by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet of an outstanding work seals a never-less-than-fascinating survey of Hartke’s chamber music.
International Record Review


Home : Classical Music Special Offers [Competitions] : Search [Browse : Catalogue : Advanced] : Your Account
Contact [Email Us : Call Us : Write To Us] :
Help [Troubleshooting : How To Order : Music Licensing.]
: The Site Map : Web Links: Complete Listing
: :