for B-flat clarinet and piano

World premiere: 19 May 2022 by Stefan Neubauer and Johannes Piirto

Duration: 2'05''

Composed during October 2021 (completed on 31.10.2021)

 

What? Who? How? Is a Hartzell?

Was? Wer? Wie? Ist ein Hartzell?

This small musical memorial to the composer, who was born in Cincinnati (Ohio) in 1932 and died in Vienna in 2000, is based on my personal recollections and the deep impression his compositions made on me.

To begin with, there are the musical letters of his name: E-G-H-A; then the syncopated rhythms so characteristic of his music, which are in the blood of every American through the experience of jazz – and which in Hartzell's case acquired an inherent aura of cultivated balance; and finally, the principle of the twelve-tone row transmitted to him by Hans Erich Apostel, with Hartzell exploring its manifold relationships to tonality and especially the harmony of jazz.

All these components are intermixed in my short piece within a breathless time-lapse. Those who want to enjoy the "laid-back" atmosphere created by Hartzell's own music should therefore better stick to his own compositions – for instance, the 2nd movement of his Chamber Symphony, which I conducted in 1997.