Christian Hartmann: Two Pieces

Sheet Music Review

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).

“Nocturne”

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.

hartmann-two-pieces


Conclusion

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.

Available from Edition HH here.
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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator and writer based in Milton Keynes UK, where he runs a successful private teaching studio. He is a published composer, author, and his original compositions and piano recordings have been streamed by more than a million listeners worldwide.

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