Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
all this seems very labored, and the imaginative stimulus of quarter-tones has to be proved. Hába himself is undoubtedly more scientific than imaginative." Alois Hába lives at the present time in Prague, where he is enormously occupied with lectures and the writing of pamphlets and articles in his attempt to popularize quarter-tone music among musicians everywhere. His favorite composers are all modern--including Schönberg, Janáek, Suk, Roussel, Bartók, Szymanowski, Stravinsky and Honegger. His greatest interest, besides the theory of music, is mathematics. At the present time he is busily engaged upon a new opera in quarter-tones, entitled Neue Erde. Alois Hába's brother, Karl, is also a composer who has attracted attention. Born in 1898, Karl Hába has been a professional musician his entire life. While less important than his brother, Karl has also produced some interesting experiments with quarter-tone music.Principal works by Alois Hába:
OPERA : Die Mutter; Arbeitlosen.
CHORAL : Choral Suite; Choral Cycle for Women's or Children's Chorus; Der Arbeitsende Tag.
ORCHESTRA : Der Weg des Lebens.
CHAMBER MUSIC : Second Quarter-Tone Quartet; Third Quarter-Tone Quartet; Sixth- Tone String Quartet, etc.
Pieces for quarter-tone piano, harmonium, etc.

About Alois Hába:

Dominant 1:14February 1928; Musical Opinion 45:786June 1922.


Henry Hadley 1871-

HENRY KIMBALL HADLEY was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, on December 20, 1871. Altho, as a boy, he revealed a fresh and alert interest in music, his mother's strong opposition against a musical career for her son made it impossible for him to receive a training for a long while. One day, however, his parents found him stretched out on the floor in absorbed contemplation of a manuscript which closer inspection revealed to be a set of original waltzes young Henry had composed. The charm of the music convinced the Hadleys of the futility of attempting to keep their son from music when he seemed to be born for it and, relenting from their former stern refusal, they secured for their son the best musical instruction which Boston could offer. Under systematic guidance for the first time, Henry developed rapidly. At the age of seventeen, he composed an operetta, Happy Jack, which for many years has been popular in schools and colleges. One year later--on December 9, 1889--an entire concert devoted to his original compositions was given at the Franklin Church in Somerville, when the young and proud composer was presented with a violin made of flowers.

Obviously endowed with musical talent, and encouraged by the praise of friends and critics, Hadley now devoted himself more diligently than ever before to intensive musical study. Violin was studied under Henry Heindl, harmony under Stephen A. Emery, and counterpoint and composition with George W. Chadwick, whose influence on the young composer was very marked. By his twenty-first birthday, Hadley had literally absorbed all the musical instruction that had been meted out to him, and in such works as his early string-quartet, and a dramatic overture for orchestra, revealed that he had learned his many lessons well.

In 1893, Hadley toured with the Mapleson Operatic Company as a violinist, but left the organization when the rumor reached him that it was on the verge of bankruptcy. The following year found him in Vienna studying counterpoint from Eusebius Mandyczewski, and falling in love with Viennese waltz music. An habitué of the caféhouse, Hadley one day asked the leader of the Hapsburg Café orchestra why he did not perform any American music. Upon receiving the answer that the leader did not know any American music --and encouraged by a wager offered him by a friend--Hadley offered to compose a special work for him in three days. Three days later, Hadley Student Life in Vienna, a series of waltzes in the Viennese style, was performed at the Hapsburg Café--and Hadley won the bet.

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