Serenades, Waltzes and Romances

Total Time – 62:05


  1. No. 1 in C
    My Promise, My Love 3:03
  2. No. 2 in B-Flat
    It Will Always Be
  3. No. 3 in B Minor
    Batuach 6:55
  4. No. 4 in A-Flat
    The Start of Spring 4:05


  5. No. 1 in D-Flat / F
    A Wedding Waltz – The Dream 7:56
  6. No. 2 in A Minor
    Amour 5:35
  7. No. 3 in A
    Waltz for Ivy 4:34
  8. No. 4 in B
    Permanent Engagement 4:57


  9. No. 1 in C
    From the Heart 5:46
  10. No. 2 in E-Flat / B
    For the Moment 6:03
  11. No. 3 in B / F-Sharp
    For Betty 2:46
  12. No. 4 in D
    A Glimpse Into Your Heart 5:13
  • Produced by Paul Hofmann
  • Engineered by Rick Montalbano
  • Recorded digitally, July 23, 1991 at The Music Factory, Rome, New York
  • Digital editing by Tom Greene
  • Art direction and design by Linda Pickert / Ruby Graphics
  • Photography by Clyde H. Smith

Serenades, Waltzes and Romances is available on compact disc and cassette.

Waltzes and

“Music is a cry of the soul. It is a revelation...”

— Frederick Delius (1920)

The rich and varied history of Western keyboard music, from the baroque era through the early years of the twentieth century, has profoundly influenced the music of our time. Concert pianists continue to perform masterpieces of the great composers to appreciative audiences, and many elements of more recent styles can be traced back to these earlier genres.

As a pianist rooted in this tradition, I have often observed the parallels that exist between various musical approaches (playing Bach and then improvising jazz melodies over similar harmonies, for instance). This, coupled with the stimulating experience of teaching, has helped provide the impetus for composing these serenades, waltzes and romances.

With this music I’ve sought to combine various elements of traditional piano styles with the improvisational basis and language of jazz. This approach is an extension of ideas heard in my previous recording, “When You Dream.”

The rhythms and cadences of the Serenades recall a less hurried age. My Promise, My Love is a short, non-improvised piece that introduces this quiet and relaxed atmosphere. It Will Always Be continues this style and expands the mood; its sparse texture is balanced by a “roundness” in form. Batuach (Hebrew; roughly translated as ‘certainty,’ ‘security’ or ‘safety’) is a nod to Chopin, especially in how the harmonies evolve and resolve. The Start of Spring is a gentle ballad whose peaceful ending brings the Serenades to a hushed close.

The Waltzes are, with the exception of No. 2, more buoyant and lighthearted in nature. Waltz No. 1 is the most formally intricate piece in this collection; its ending represents The Dream “lingering on” as the music fades. Amour denotes the “slow movement of the sonata” – it’s a simple, straightforward love song. Waltz for Ivy is my answer to Bill Evans’ Waltz for Debby. And Permanent Engagement features complex harmonic movement whose melody predominates throughout, especially during the quiet ending.

The Romances continue in style where the Serenades leave off. From the Heart is a piece which might easily pass for a current pop tune. For the Moment is harmonically similar in character to Batuach yet more impressionistic. For Betty is a non-improvised composition meant to suggest beauty and strength – qualities held in abundance by this dear and special friend. And A Glimpse Into Your Heart is a mostly improvised, unified collection of various themes and harmonies.

Paul HofmannMany jazz composers have experimented along these lines; works by Duke Ellington, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett immediately come to mind. So too in this music one may hear strains of romanticism (Chopin, Brahms), impressionism (Debussy, Poulenc, Satie) and what may be termed “chamber jazz” (Corea, Jarrett, Bill Evans). My aim here is to reemphasize the compatibility of improvised and all-notated music.

And it is my sincere hope that these pieces provide you with much listening pleasure.

Paul Hofmann