|CHAMBER MUSIC : Quintet in F minor; Concerto da Camera; String Quartet.|
|Pieces for piano.|
About Howard Hanson:
Cowell Henry. American Composers On American Music; Howard John Tasker. Our American Music.
Top Notes 1:9February 1, 1930.
Important recordings of music by Howard Hanson:
VICTOR : "'Tis An Earth Defiled" from Merry Mount (Tibbett).
SANDOR HARMATI was born in Budapest on July 9, 1892. A graduate of the Budapest Academy in 1908, he was singularly honored by receiving the diploma of Professor of Music at the impudent age of seventeen. His professional career as a musician was begun as violinist. For a while, he served as concertmaster of the State Orchestra of Budapest, and of the People's Opera orchestra. America beckoned to him and, in 1914, he arrived here to begin a fruitful career as violinist in string quartets. As a member of the Letz String Quartet and the Lenox String Quartet for eight years, Harmati was given a remarkable opportunity to study chamber-music style at first hand. Since 1925, Harmati has substituted orchestral conducting for quartet-playing as his major musical activity--leading such organizations as the Omaha Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony. He has also conducted several series of symphonic programs over the National Broadcasting Company network.
It was in 1923 that Harmati first presented himself as a composer when a symphonic poem won the Pulitzer Prize. Two years later, a string quartet was awarded the Philadelphia Chamber Music Association prize. With such encouragement, Harmati composed with an enthusiastic pen--pieces for violin, incidental music for orchestra, and songs, as well as major orchestral works. He is probably best known for his Prelude to a Melodrama which Leopold Stokowski presented with considerable success in 1928. The Prelude, which is really a one-act Chinese opera for orchestra, is--as Irving Weil told us-- "expertly written and holds a substantial and apt melodic invention. But beyond that, without recourse to the conventional Western notion of Chinese intervals, the music nonetheless creates the feeling that it is dealing with a Chinese subject."
In 1928, Harmati was chosen as the American delegate to the International Society of Contemporary Music Festival in Frankfort. At the present time, he divides his time between Omaha--where he is the principal conductor of its orchestra--and New York.
Concerning his composing, he informs us: "Not having any leanings in my last phase of composing toward national, religious, or any describable tendency, I cannot state if my writing could show any mannerism or method. I try to escape the obvious, or commonplace, and I find this most difficult. Believing music a purely universal language and therefore a human necessity, I could not state that I prefer one part of it to the other. As to influence: so far I have spent a very valuable part of my composing career trying to avoid influences, which I find impossible. The clarity of French writing fascinates me most and may have influenced me."