After Thomas de Hartmann’s death on March 28th, 1956, his widow Olga de Hartmann took it upon herself to promote her husband’s music. Over the next 23 years she released several LP recordings for private distribution, and also arranged many recitals featuring the classical as well as the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music. She coached a number of musicians personally, including several pianists and singers. The result of her efforts did not bring great success during her lifetime, but she planted the seed of interest in a number of young musicians who worked with her, one of whom was Elan Sicroff, who studied with her from 1975 until her death in 1979.
Elan performed de Hartmann’s works in recitals in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also recorded a CD in 1987 of the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music, Journey to Inaccessible Places, produced by Robert Fripp, guitarist for the band King Crimson. In 2002 Elan recorded a second CD, Sicroff Plays Gurdjieff.
In 2006 Elan agreed to take on a long-term project to bring de Hartmann’s music back to public awareness, after Mr. Fripp offered his assistance in an advisory capacity. Over the next two years Elan presented a series of performances featuring the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music. In January 2009, during a European tour, he introduced some of de Hartmann’s early Russian romantic works into his recitals. These were well received, and in July 2009 they were recorded along with the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music for his latest album, Laudamus…
In 2010 Robert put Elan in contact with Gert-Jan Blom, artistic producer of the Metropole Orkest in the Netherlands, to propose a project to record de Hartmann’s music. Gert-Jan had already worked on a number of projects associated with Gurdjieff and de Hartmann, and when Elan met him in September 2010 the response was enthusiastic. The aim would be to record 5 CDs of de Hartmann’s classical music over a 5 year period, to present a comprehensive representation of his output.
In November 2011 recordings began with works for solo piano and the Violin Sonata Op. 51, at the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep in Hilversum, the Netherlands. Gert-Jan Blom was the producer, with Guido Tichelman, recording engineer. After 10 recording sessions, almost 7 hours of music was recorded by June 2015. On September 23, 2016 a 7 CD box set with 3 booklets, The Thomas de Hartmann Project – Music for Piano, Voice and Chamber Ensemble was released on the Basta Music label.
With the release of the CD box set, the Thomas de Hartmann Project moves into a new phase. Elan is presenting lecture recitals at universities and conservatories, which include live performance and a lecture on de Hartmann’s biography, his music and the ideas behind his work. Vintage photographs and sound files from the CDs round out the presentation.
Along with lecture/recitals, live performance is an important vehicle to present de Hartmann’s music to the public. Elan is giving solo recitals of his music, while the De Hartmann Consort will present the music in different combinations for voice and chamber ensemble. De Hartmann was an eclectic composer, writing in many styles and sometimes unusual instrumental combinations. His direct connection with many interesting composers, musicians and original thinkers of the 20th century offers a wide variety of formats to present his music. Stay tuned!