Stephen Hartke

The Blue Studio

THE BLUE STUDIO (2015) Portfolio for Violin, Violoncello, and Piano Commissioned by the Network for New Music Duration: 14 Minutes Intrada 1. Vigorously Interlude A 2. Calmly -- with an air of mystery Interlude B 3. Crisply energetic Interlude C 4. Alla barcarola -- unhurried Interlude D 5. Gracefully -- with motion Among the many treasures in the collection of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia are a number of paintings of artists' studios, one of the most remarkable being Matisse's Studio with goldfish. As it happens, the blue shade of the walls in his picture is very much like that of my workroom at home, and so the title, The Blue Studio, refers to both.  As a genre, these scenes of an artist's workplace are especially fascinating for their incorporating paintings of paintings and other artworks.  I thus came to conceive of this piece as a sort of studio visit.  The listener becomes a visitor leafing through the movements as if a portfolio of drawings, the little interludes separating them representing the brief, quiet transition from image to image.  I went back to my own sketchbooks for earlier pieces and appropriated unused material from them for parts of this work, so certain family resemblances to this or that piece of mine are intentional.
YouTube Video: Philadelphia Network for New Music (world premiere)