Stephen Hartke

POST-MODERN HOMAGES (1984-92) for Solo Piano Set I Sonatina-Fantasia (1987) Retumbante (1985) Template (1985) Set II Sonatina DCXL (1991) Un tout petit trompe-l'oreille (1992) Gymnopèdie No. 4 (1984) Addendum Preludio sopra due soggetti cavati (2015) While not composed as a unified set, my six Post-Modern Homages share some common features: each was composed for a friend, and each addresses a narrowly defined musical issue, either the transformation of aspects of an existing piece of music, or working with strictly limited musical means. Template was requested by pianist José Eduardo Martins as a work in homage to Brazilian composer Henrique Oswald. Based upon Oswald's Estudo-Scherzo in B-flat minor, the piece suggests a performance of the etude at its stipulated rapid tempo but with only a handful of its notes actually being sounded, an entirely new piece being the end result. Sonatina-Fantasia was composed in honor of George Rochberg's 70th birthday and makes free use of his String Quartet No. 1. As a gift for my friends Bob Littell, a novelist and former cryptographer, and Victoria Salvy, a painter who specializes in trompe-l'oeil, I composed a small guitar piece, later transcribed for piano. Un tout petit trompe-l'oreille has encrypted within it the notes of a national anthem -- the rest is a secret. Retumbante, composed for pianist Beatriz Roman, is based entirely upon the melody of the Brazilian national anthem, treated in an eccentric, but faithful, serial manner. Gymnopèdie No. 4, dedicated to my wife, Lisa, is a study in seventh chords. Cast in ABA form, every vertical sonority of the A section is some inversion of a minor seventh chord, while in the B section the major seventh predominates. The gentle lilt of the 3/4 meter and the simultaneously fluid yet static harmony put me in mind of Erik Satie, hence the title. Sonatina DCXL was composed for Donald Crockett on his fortieth birthday. In the tradition of the soggetto cavato it uses the notes D and C, and D, H (=B) and C, as its thematic material, and is signed at the end with an S and H (=E-flat and B). An addendum to both these sets is Preludio sopra due soggetti cavati composed for friend, composer, and former student Sarah Gibson, in honor of her completing her doctoral degree.  It makes use of both the Morse Code rhythm of her name, as well as a melody based upon its letters.

Post-Modern Homages

Recording: Xak Bjerken, piano Chandos 10513
YouTube performance of Sonatina-Fantasia by Solungga Liu (Bowling Green State University)
YouTube performance of Template by Solungga Liu (Bowling Green State University)
YouTube performance of Henrique Oswald’s Estudo-Scherzo em Si bemol [musical source for Template] by Solungga Liu (Bowling Green State University)