STEPHEN HARTKE (b.1952): The Horse with the Lavender Eye for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, 5 selections from Post-modern Homages for Piano, Piano Sonata, The King of the Sun for Piano Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 03K086
Description: Characteristically quirky, eclectically-influenced ensemble and piano compositions: Horse consists of four very different character pieces, all with some suggestion of imbalance, ably portrayed through one of the composer's trademark gestures, constantly shifting and unstable rhythms. This rhythmic instability is a central feature of the lively sonata, with unpredictable accents thrown in all over the place, simultaneously suggesting and subverting the dancing rhythms of tap and soft-shoe in the middle movement. The whimsical set of pieces The King sets up five tableaux, only one of which is described as 'phantasmagorical', though the suggestion of shadowy apparitions, of strangely distorted yet somehow familiar figures might apply to all of them. The Post-Modern Homages are transformations or pastiches of existing pieces, altered to the point of near-unrecognisability yet retaining an element of familiarity; one is a kind of transcription by omission of notes and extension of the remaining material of a brief Chopinesque piece by Brazilian composer Henrique Oswald, which is also included in its original form. Richard Faria (clarinet), Ellen Jewett (violin - Horse), Los Angeles Piano Quartet.