Jean Hasse

Ensemble works

additional information,
program notes and reviews


Four Bits for Piano (1986-87)
for piano
"Impressionistic and jazzy, the work recalls the past but introduces new harmonies and rhythms." - The Hartford Courant, Dec 1987

Kangaroos 2 (Kanga+Roo) for two pianos (2014) 
>> In this short piece I'm attempting another interpretation of kangaroos hopping, with one piano representing a momma kangaroo and the other piano her energetic baby. Momma's hops (and landings) are played on the white keys, middle to low register, and the baby's hopping is on the black keys, upper register. They're two independent creatures, but at times both are bothered by biting insects, when they stop and scratch.
Commissioned by New Music South West, Bristol, 14 composers wrote a new piece to follow each movement originally scored by Camille Saint-Saens. My piece followed his Kangaroos

kinkh (1985)
"It is bone dry, full of interesting detail, inviting personal involvement. I really love it." - Piano, March/April 1998. Read more info.

Silk Water (1992) piano left hand (6:30)
>> The overall mood of Silk Water relates to a sense of calmness, of suspended time. While composing the piece I visited the Atlantic Ocean, and standing deep in the water moved my hands across the textured, dark, tranquil surface. The spirit of this calming moment is somewhat reflected in the piece, the structure of which is two sections and a coda. The piece was written for Leon Fleisher who gave the premiere on 12 Oct 1992 in Boston, MA on a Composers in Red Sneakers concert at New England Conservatory. He performed the piece throughout the US, in Japan and Europe.

"A ruminative work of chords and clusters with a Messiaenic spiritual aura."- The Boston Globe, Oct 1992
"The six-minute work is every bit as evocative as the title indicates. And Leon Fleisher brought rapturous intensity to the slowly evolving chordal writing." 
- San Francisco Examiner, March 1993

Upon opening the door.. solo piano (2010) (1:06)
Joyous Lake is the name of a collection of miniatures for solo piano created by a group of 20 composers taught by Geoffrey Poole. Written and compiled in secret, the scores were presented to him in Bristol in June 2010 as a gesture of gratitude and admiration on the occasion of his retirement from teaching. The pieces are available in print as well as on CD Joyous Lake, Prima Facie records.


Almatt Heights
and Today Tomorrow
>> These short pieces were composed as music gifts for friends and have been performed by the recipients!

Canvas (1986) for marimba (ca.8:00)
>> The title and idea for this piece came from contemplating the notion of a canvas on which a painting has been created and then painted over completely in white. None of the original artwork can be seen, hence the viewer’s perception of visual art is momentarily disturbed. (What are we looking at - a white canvas? A hidden painting? An idea?)
In Canvas, two of the elements inherent in a live music performance are displaced - the visual aspect and what is heard. If we imagine we hear a piece more clearly by watching the performer, how will we experience it in two different stages? I: actions (seen) not heard (music) - II: music (heard) not actions (seen)
The marimbist records the piece in advance - and performs without hitting the instrument in the first section, then sits down while the music (recorded) is played over speakers.

Collections Considered (aka Collections) (2006) for violin
>> Peter Sheppard Skaerved commissioned the solo violin piece, Collections Considered, in 2006 for performance at the British Museum, London, as part of the series: A History of the World in 100 objects. Entitled Objects and today's world, events included workshops, lectures and a concert in the evening. Peter also played works by Philip Glass, Paul Pellay, Paul Archbold, David Gorton and Howard Skempton. Peter writes: "The tally sticks in the Enlightenment gallery are a powerful symbol of our times, dominated by invoices and receipts. Alongside these, composers respond to the original translation programme, the Rosetta stone, to the idea of a modern collection of objects, and to the astounding modern notion of our place in the universe."
Collections Considered was premiered in the British Museum's Enlightenment Gallery by Peter in June 2006, played there again in October 2010, and also performed at St Paul's Cathedral in August 2007.

Ich bin, du bist (1997) string quartet
>> Premiered in its entirety in Brno in 1997, the first movement (ca.3:00) has been performed separately numerous times, and was also heard in Jean’s silent film score to Faust.

Moths - for a few hundred whistlers (1986)
"Hasse possesses a witty sonic imagination. With audience participation, her 1986 Moths amplifies different pitches and rhythms of many puckered lips making music. The effect is stunning." - The Hartford Courant, December 1987 

"In particular, Moths captivated the audience. Jean Hasse showed them how to read the score for the music, and after a few quick lessons, the children followed the composer's hands very well... She could not have asked for a more accommodating group, as the children, lips dramatically puckered, whistled according to the conductor's directions, creating a piece with an evocative if not spooky sound. Pleased with themselves, the children broke into thunderous applause at the conclusion." 
- The Berkshire Eagle, July 1995, after a Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra family concert

Next Dance (1999) (3:00) piano quartet or two violins, cello and piano
>> Commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble, this piece was intended to be played by young performers and was premiered by WIltshire School students in 1999. The Schubert Ensemble later played Next Dance at the Wigmore Hall, London and recorded it on CD..
"A gently syncopated movement of graceful melody that grows to a punchy coda.", Spring 2001, review of The White Room CD

Pulling (1985) (ca.9:00) for four flutes or as many as possible
>> This work originated as a ‘planned’ improvisation, i.e. a certain set of pitches and a basic structure, and recorded in two takes, using digital delay and reverb on both. Jean recorded over the first track while listening in headphones. Later a score was created for live performance. It can be heard on the kinkh CD and has been played by a range of flutists, often surrounding the audience.

"...a work transcribed from a live recording of a quasi-improvised, quasi-composed piece originally conceived for flute and tape. It's dreamy and new age with soothing melodic snippets grounded by a low D pedal tone." - The Boston Globe, March 1990 
"Pulling is an innovative textural work designed for at least four flutes ... the effect is rather like that of a strong, constant wind blowing through tall reeds." 
- International Record Review, June 2000