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Per Hartmann’s independent publishing house Edition HH have produced many fine scores, and brought into the spotlight some fine classical pieces which were unjustly overlooked elsewhere.
I have been uniformly impressed with the quality of Edition HH publications, such as Barbara Snow’s brilliant Animal Jazz which I reviewed last year, and many others (more reviews of Edition HH publications coming soon!)
In the meantime I was delighted to receive a small score containing two solo piano pieces composed by Per’s own father, Norwegian composer Christian Hartmann (1910-1985). Hartmann senior is apparently well known to Norwegian children for his song settings for Ole Brumm (Winnie-the-Pooh), as well as having success with his works for stage and screen.
According to Per:
“I thought it would be good to have something composed by him in our catalogue, so I decided upon these two short piano pieces, which I love to play myself.”
I was naturally touched by the affection of the publisher for his father, but as I sat down to play these pieces I was equally impressed by the charm of the pieces themselves.
Finding no recordings of them elsewhere, I agreed with Per to record them myself, sharing them here, and on my SoundCloud page.
“Den Lille Danserinnen” (The Little Ballerina)
The first piece is this charming waltz:
According to Per Hartmann:
“Den Lille Danserinnen was written for my niece when she was five years old…”
The piece would suit any player at around ABRSM Grade 6 level (and would perhaps make a great exam piece!). Though technically easy, it includes a few unexpected twists, and provides good practice for gaining confidence reading high notes on ledger lines!
The score is naturally beautiful, with lovely clarity, and nicely spaced across a two-page spread, avoiding a page turn by using a da capo (There is a sample on the publisher’s website).
Next we have this lovely Nocturne, which according to Per:
“…is typical of the kind of music my father liked to improvise in the evenings.”
Though slightly harder than the Little Ballerina, this would also suit a player at around Grade 6. Some of the stretches here are a little awkward for smaller hands, and distributing the inner semiquaver movement between the hands sometimes needs careful thought, particularly on the first page.
I love these two little pieces, and I am sure many late intermediate players will enjoy them equally.
They are traditional in the best sense, while the harmonies of the Nocturne in particular have a more contemporary flavour that will nicely appeal to today’s students and players.
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