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

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
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quiet and serious, hard to know unless one pierces behind the spoken word and reads what is in his heart. . . . Hadley is generous, ready to give whenever he takes. . . ." He is essentially a Bohemian in his dress and mannerisms; his favorite passion is globe-trotting. His only form of exercise is walking, of which he is especially fond, and he can walk miles in his private study when he is in contemplation; yet, when he has to go a block or two in the city, he will invariably call a cab. In his habits he is very methodical. He attends to every detail of his duties--both social and professional--himself, arranging his daily schedule so skillfully that there is plenty of time for everything.Most of the time he lives in New York City, with his wife. Their marriage is idyllic. They read, study and work together. Hadley depends upon, and believes in, the criticisms of his wife. During the summer, Hadley can be found in West Chop, Massachusetts, where they live in rustic simplicity.When he is composing, ideas come to him so rapidly that he cannot write quickly enough. While composing, he is so immersed in his work that nothing can distract him. He can compose while friends talk to him, and laugh with him. When he is scoring a major symphonic work, he will always ask his wife to read aloud to him.Principal works by Henry Hadley:
ORCHESTRA : The Seasons; Symphonic Fantasy for Orchestra; Salomé; Lucifer; The Ocean; The Culprit Fay; Overture to Othello; etc.
OPERA : Azora; Bianca; Cleopatra's Night.
CHORAL : The New Earth; Resurgam; In Music's Praise.
CHAMBER MUSIC : Quartet in A-Minor; Concert-Piece for 'Cello; Sonata for Violin and Piano.
Songs; pieces for piano, violin, etc.

About Henry Hadley:

Boardman, H. R. Henry Hadley.


Reynaldo Hahn 1874-

REYNALDO HAHN was born at Caracas, Venezuela, on August 9, 1874. His father was a successful business man who was eager to make of his son an artist. As a result, young Reynaldo, aged eleven, was entered in the Conservatory of Paris when he proved that his capabilities lay in the direction of music. He soon revealed himself to be an amazing prodigy. Not only did he learn his lessons at the Conservatory with amazing rapidity, but he began to compose with such a subtle and tasteful pen that his teachers began to call him "another Mozart." At the age of fourteen he published his first work; and maturity brought him development and growth so that when, ten years later, the Opéra Comique presented his first dramatic work, L'Ile de Rêve, and the Colonne orchestra performed his symphonic-poem, Nuit d'Amour, he was accepted by leading French critics as a composer of first importancee. The future, it seemed, belonged to him.

Among the most important works which Reynaldo Hahn produced during his early manhood were his songs, which were looked upon as the most gifted songs produced by a French composer. "Moderately, but neither aggressively nor extremely modern"--thus D. C. Parker analyzes Hahn's songs--"they are redeemed from the mediocrity of tea-table music by a hundred little touches which mark all the work of the writer. A pleasant feeling for harmony and a good sense of what the voice and the piano can do render them effective. Hahn's is the music of a refined society which has leisure. . . . Its home is the salons of the elegant, and the composer seems to wander in a Versailles garden where fauns and satyrs flute their little ditties in sheltered nooks. . . . His songs are rich in a charm which is far to seek and which speaks of the peculiar fascination of their creator."

For some mysterious reason, Hahn's development suddenly stood still. As he grew older, his message became more and more hackneyed, his touch more stilted, and his approach more stereotyped. In his later compositions--his operas and chamber music--Hahn not only fails to live up to the amazing promise of his earlier works, but also has lost much of his former freshness and charm. As Henri Prunières has written about Hahn: "In his early youth, it might have been believed that

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