Los Angeles Piano Quartet

The Horse with the Lavender Eye

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AllMusic Review by

Composer Stephen Hartke is not a familiar name, but the performers on this disc give a selection of his chamber music and solo piano music all the attention usually reserved for well-loved classics. Led by pianist Xak Bjerken, the opening work, The Horse with the Lavender Eye for violin, clarinet, and piano, has a witty seriousness, while the closing The King of the Sun for violin, viola, cello, and piano, reveals a more sonically evocative side of Hartke's style. On his own, Bjerken proves a persuasive interpreter. His sonata has an irresistible flow and his readings of selections from Post-modern Homages are often very funny, as in the Gymnopédie No. 4, and sometimes quite moving, as in Sonatina DCXL. Written in a not altogether tonal and yet not altogether post-tonal style with dashes of post-modernism and neo-romanticism and a fair-sized helping of inspiration, Hartke's music is ideal for listeners who want emotionally engaging and intellectually appealing new music. Chandos' digital sound is clear, deep, and vivid.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Horse with the Lavender Eye, episodes (4) for violin, clarinet & piano
1
2:27
2
4:27
3
3:58
4
6:41
Post-modern Homages, for piano in 2 sets
5
3:48
6
3:08
7
3:15
8
1:26
Post-modern Homages, for piano in 2 sets
9
1:30
Piano Sonata
10
2:59
11
6:09
12
4:10
The King of the Sun, for piano quartet
13
2:17
14
3:08
15
5:45
16
0:57
17
3:38
18
4:17
blue highlight denotes track pick