Emil Hartmann Chamber Music – Worth Exploring

In the liner notes violinist, Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider writes that Emil Hartmann was influenced by Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann.

“With Hartmann, this influence is enhanced by his simplicity and sincerity.” As I listened to this collection of Hartmann chamber works, I had to agree.

The melodies were similar to Mendelssohn’s, especially in their general shape and clarity of line. But the harmonic textures were thicker, more like Schumann’s.

The centerpiece of the album is the Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 5. Hartmann completed this work when he was 29, and the seems balanced between youthful energy and mature introspection.

The music is full of big gestures, giving the work an expansive quality. Hartmann takes all the time he needs to work with his material and work with it he does. There’s a lot going on, but Hartmann writes with such clarity that the listener is never lost.

Also included are two string quartets. These were written in the 1870s-80s, and are decidedly mature works. The works are quite lyrical. But Hartmann seems more deliberate in the development of his themes. The music seems more carefully — and skillfully — constructed than the piano trio.

The performances are outstanding. Ms. Schneider and her colleagues are clearly invested in Hartmann’s works. That passion is evident in these recordings. This is music — and a composer — worth exploring.

Emil Hartmann: Chamber Music
Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider, Nicolas Dupont, violin;
Tony Nys, viola; Justus Grimm, cello; Daniel Blumenthal, piano

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