About this project
Our budget for 2013 is over $50,000. So far, we've raised over $10,000. Any additional funding you can contribute within the next two days would be deeply appreciated.
Check out our new extended video by Top Floor Productions here!
The Thomas de Hartmann project is part of Millers River Educational Cooperative, Inc. a 501c3 non profit organization. Donations are tax deductible according to U.S. law.
Thomas de Hartmann Project Synopsis
Due to a variety of historical factors, the music world is at risk that the diverse, remarkable, and unique oeuvre of the important Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann (1885-1956) may go into obscurity, or even be lost. Elan Sicroff, a Juilliard trained pianist, had a special opportunity from 1975-79 to work with Madame Olga de Hartmann (near the end of her life), from which he gained an extensive understanding and appreciation of her late husband's music. The Thomas de Hartmann Project, in collaboration with Elan Sicroff and Gert-Jan Blom (Artistic Producer of the Metropole Orchestra in Holland), has the aim to professionally record and make available a comprehensive selection of this work. This effort began (at some real personal sacrifice) with recordings occurring over the last year and a half, and has the goal of completing the piano solo, chamber, and vocal music, by the end of this year. The orchestral work is targeted for 2015-16. This Kickstarter aims to fund at least four days of studio recording time occurring this Spring. Additional funds are needed and welcomed to complete the 2013 phase of the project.
To be covered by Kickstarter Campaign at minimum goal:
Note: each day of recording presently costs $2,300 [space, piano, equipment, engineer; before musicians, etc.]
This Kickstarter aims to pay for four days of recording - $9,200
This will pay for the one day of Saxophone Quartet (May 29) and two days for the Cello Sonata and Deux Pleureuses (June 20/21) as well as the Impromptu Op. 7 No. 4 for Piano. It will also pay for one day of recording for the Trio for Flute Violin and Piano, or for a day of the Songs recording. It will also cover Kickstarter and Amazon costs - $1,200. Anything left over will go to pay musicians and for further activities in 2013.
In addition to the above mentioned recording dates, there are projected to be one more day to complete the Trio recording, and 4 days for the vocal music. One more day should complete the remaining piano solo works, for a total of 6 more days besides those listed above.
Six Recording Sessions - $13,800
Living Stipend for Elan Sicroff: Elan has left his job in the US and will be supported by the Thomas de Hartmann Project while he is getting established in Holland, his new base of activities.
Estimated amount needed for the remainder of 2013: $30,000
Payments to professional musicians for their work on the Project. Gert-Jan Blom, Producer for the Thomas de Hartmann Project, is using his connections in the professional world of musicians to find some of the best artists in Holland. We need to give them some remuneration:
10 musicians will be needed this year:
4 saxophones, 3 vocalists, cellist, flutist, and a violinist.
At a rate of $1,000 per musician recording, this comes to $10,000.
Expenses for coaching, travel, and accommodation relating to rehearsing and recording: $5000
Subtotal of extended budget for 2013: $58,800
Total, with fees: $65,333
Background/history on Thomas de Hartmann
Thomas de Hartmann was a child prodigy in music composition, and considered one of the most promising young composers in Russia when he was still a teenager. He studied with some of the most prominent teachers and composers of the time, and his ballet The Pink Flower was performed in the presence of the Tsar. As a young man his genius and love for music was paralled by a growing thirst for knowledge of man's inner world and spiritual potential. Around 1908 he became affiliated with the Blaue Reiter group in Munich, establishing a lifelong friendship with the painter Kandinsky, with whom he collaborated and explored the relation between sound, color, and form. In 1916 in St Petersberg, he met the enigmatic Georgian mystic Gurdjieff, who presented a system of knowledge called the Fourth Way (or the Work) that appealed to a group of prominent intellectuals and artists in Russia at the time. Gurdjieff, who had traveled extensively in the East, provided explanations and practical applications for man's inner development, that apparently synthesized essential ancient/lost spiritual knowledge with a modern scientific understanding. Putting aside his individual composition work, de Hartmann spent the next 12 years collaborating with Gurdjieff on the musical compositions that were used to accompany the Sacred Dances (the Movements) that Gurdjieff taught, as well as music for the piano, derived from melodies that Gurdjieff recalled from his travels, or composed (with de Hartmann) to convey specific places, states, or experiences. At the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, de Hartmann and his wife Olga ( being aristocrats), fled Russia with Gurdjieff to safety, arriving eventually in France in the early 20's. In 1929 the De Hartmann's left the Gurdjieff Institute and resumed their personal life, and de Hartmann avidly pursued his own composition work (both in France and later in America) until he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1956, a few weeks before a concert of his compositions at New York's Town Hall. De Hartmann's catalogue includes over 90 Opus numbers, in a wide variety of forms and styles, including chamber, vocal, orchestral, and film scores. He was strongly encouraged and admired by his close friend Pablo Casals, and other important musicians/composers of the time, to pursue his unique exploration and contribution to the world of sound, irrespective of what was in fashion at the time.
An excellent, scholarly, more detailed overview/examination of de Hartmann, and the factors that affected his place in the music world, can be found in the John Mangan article linked at the bottom of this page.
While attending a Fourth Way School in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, Sicroff was exposed to Gurdjieff's Sacred Dances, or Movements. Many of these pieces Gurdjieff developed himself, while others he collected from his travels in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Sicroff began studying and performing this music, as well as Gurdjieff's and de Hartmann's Sacred music written for piano. In 1973, the composer's wife, Madame Olga de Hartmann, sent Sicroff the music her late husband had composed in the years after Gurdjieff. From 1975-1979, Madame de Hartmann personally instructed Sicroff in the interpretation of this music, and in the process ignited Sicroff's passion for all things de Hartmann.
Sicroff has produced three albums of de Hartmann's work already: Journey to Inaccessible Places, Sicroff Plays Gurdjieff, and Laudamus.
What makes de Hartmann's compositions so extraordinary are their enormous variety of styles and voices. More than any composer aside from Beethoven, De Hartmann's music is itself a biography that mirrors and dramatizes the events and circumstances of his life.
De Hartmann's early works, for example, are gorgeous, optimistic and supremely Romantic. By the time de Hartmann turned 21, listeners could discern the influences of both Scriabin and Debussy. Later, while participating in the Blaue Reiter group, Wassily Kandinsky would inspire de Hartmann to experiment with the relationship between color and sound, which later found voice in Der Gelbe Klang, a ballet scenario with art by Kandinsky and a score by de Hartmann. In other later pieces, listeners can hear the influence of the East, as well as echoes of Ravel, Gershwin and bi-tonality, alongside transcriptions of Bach Concerti, Preludes and Fugues.
Some of de Hartmann's works reflect the stages of the composer's lifelong inner quest; other works comment on the contradictions in modern man's psychology; while still others – "Koliadky for Saxophone Quartet," a collection of Ukranian Christmas Carols, for instance, - seek to preserve spiritually rich, even wondrous, musical forms.
All his life, de Hartmann was a seeker. Via his friendships and collaborations with Kandinsky and Gurdjieff, and the musical tools and vocabularies he absorbed from friends and mentors, his music reflects the universal – and timeless – desire for awareness, growth, beauty and transcendence.
Elan Sicroff's mission is simple: to bring the fruits of an extraordinary, century-old collaboration – perhaps the first example ever of truly "global music" – to a much wider listening audience. By doing so, he illuminates and even incarnates the startling originality, versatility, humanity and mysticism of Thomas de Hartmann.
"Intentional performance of this quality is exceptionally rare." - Robert Fripp, on the Violin Sonata
Photos from Recording Sessions and Rehearsals
Recordings completed at the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep in Hilversum, Netherlands: October 2011 and in April, November, and December 2012 (approximately 150 minutes)
Solo Piano, Violin, and Double Bass
From Trois Morceaux Op. 4 (1899)
From Six Pieces Op. 7 (1902)
Three Preludes Op. 9 (1904?)
Forces of Love and Sorcery Op 16 (1915)
Sonata for Violin and Piano Op. 51(1937)
Twelve Russian Fairy Tales Op. 58 (1937)
Fantasie Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestral Reduction (Piano), Op. 65 (1943)
First Piano Sonata Op. 67 (1943)
Lumiere Noire Op. 74 (1948))
Second Piano Sonata Op. 82 (1951)
Two Nocturnes Op. 84 (1953)
Works to be Recorded in 2013:
Three Romances from Childhood Op. 5 (1899)
Pour Chanter a la Route d’assise
Three Poems of Shelley Op. 52 (1936)
Love of a Poet, Op. 59 (1937) (words by Pushkin)
Six Commentaries on Ulysses by James Joyce, Op.71 (1943-44)
For Saxophone Quartet
Koliadky: Nine Ukrainian Christmas Carols Op. 60 (1938-9) (Amstel Quartet recording date set for May 29)
For Solo Piano
From Six pieces, Op. 7 (1902)
- No 2: Etude
- No 3: Scherzo
- No 4: Impromptu
Music for La Fete de la Patronne Op. 77 ( after the painting by Degas)
Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 63 (1941) (recording date set for June 20-21)
Deux Pleureuses for Cello and Piano Op. 64 (1940) (dedicated to Pablo Casals)(recording date set for June 20-21)
Trio for Flute, Violin and Piano Op. 75 (1946)
Four short pieces for Violin and Piano:
- Two Dances from the Opera Esther
- Un Feuillet d'un Viel Album (film music)
Hommage a Borodin (film music)
Works to be Recorded in 2015-16: Orchestral Works
Concerto for Piano, Op. 61 (1942)
Concerto for Violin, Op. 66 (1943)
Concerto for Double Bass, Opus 65 (1942)
Suite from Ballet The Pink Flower, Op. 9 (1906)
Symphony Poeme, Op. 50 (1935)
Oriental Suite (1956)
Film Music (written by TdH under the pseudonym Thomas Kross between 1924 and 1936):
- Kriss (aka Goona-Goona) (1932)
Risks and challenges
Only if this campaign raises in excess of $58,300 [after fees] will all 2013 expenses be paid, and that's only with a stipend for Sicroff and leaving the rest of the musicians unpaid.
The Project still needs a record label on which to release the CDs.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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