Suite for Violin & Piano in a minor Op.66
Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann (1805-1900) was born in Copenhagen. Though the family originally came from Germany, it had been living in Denmark since 1726 and had already established itself as the musical dynasty of Denmark. J.P.E., as he has always been called, was the central figure in the Danish musical world of the 19th century. Although he received his music lessons initially from his father Johan Hartmann, a prominent musician and composer, but nonetheless studied law at his fatherís request. Besides his career as a professional musician, Hartmann also held a post in the Danish civil service for his entire life.
He composed in all genres, and his music spans three cultural epochs. In addition, he held the most important posts in the Danish musical world: organist at the Copenhagen Cathedral, Court Composer to five generations of the Danish Royal Family, and of the Royal Academy of Music, for which he served as director for several years.
Hartmann's earliest works, as might be expected, have links with Vienna Classicism, while his last works from the turn of the century have features from the dawn of Modernism. In between these came Danish National Romanticism, of which Hartmann became the leading representative. With a special "Nordic" sound, distinctive and with folk music elements, he achieved striking results in works with Norse subjects.
Hartmann composed the Suite in 1864, dedicating it to Ferdinand David, the violinist for whom Mendelssohn had written his concerto. It is laid out symmetrically in five movements, with a central Scherzo framed by two Moderato intermezzi, the whole being topped and tailed by two quick movements.
Long out of print, this is an attractive work which will win friends everywhere. It deserves to be heard in recital and to find a place on the stands of home music makers.