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Howard Hanson

October 28, 1896 - February 26, 1981
born in Wahoo, NE, composed during the Modern period
Howard Hanson was among the first twentieth century American composers to achieve widespread prominence. In contrast to the angular Stravinskian and Americana-influenced sounds that dominated American concert music prior to World War II, Hanson wrote in an unabashedly Romantic idiom influenced by his Nordic roots. Of particular importance to the composer was the music of Sibelius; however, he also acknowledged the influence of composers such as Palestrina and Bach.

After boyhood studies on the piano, Hanson studied music at the Institute of Musical Art in New York City and Northwestern University, where he earned a degree in 1916. In 1921, he became the first American to win the Prix de Rome, which provided him the opportunity to study with Ottorino Respighi, whose colorful orchestral language was clearly an influence on Hanson's own. Upon his return to the United States, Hanson was appointed head of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester at the age of 28. Under the composer's guidance over the course of more than four decades, Eastman became one of the world's preeminent educational institutions. During his tenure there Hanson continued to compose prolifically; he also embarked on a career as a conductor, in which capacity he proved himself one of the great champions of American music. At Eastman, it has been calculated, he presented some 1,500 works by 700 composers. Hanson also commercially recorded a number of modern works in a series for the Mercury label in the 1950s, drawing much attention to otherwise neglected repertoire.

Hanson's most characteristic works are undoubtedly his seven symphonies. The first of these, the "Nordic" Symphony (1922), dates from the composer's studies in Rome. The Second Symphony ("Romantic"), remains Hanson's best-known work, a characteristic realization of the lush, lyric aesthetic with which he is closely associated. Further notable among Hanson's symphonies are the Symphony No. 4 (1943), awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Symphony No. 7 (1977), one of a series of works inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman. Other important works in Hanson's catalogue include The Lament for Beowulf (1925) for chorus and orchestra; the opera Merry Mount (1933), well received at its premiere and in subsequent productions, but now rarely performed; and a variety of other chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. ~ Michael Rodman, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Howard Hanson: Piano Sonata Poemes Erotiques

Title: Yuletide Pieces (2) For Piano, Op. 19
Title: Poèmes Érotiques, For Piano, No. 1, "Peace", Op. 9/1
Title: Poèmes Érotiques, For Piano, No. 2, Joy, Op. 9/2
Title: Poèmes Érotiques, For Piano, No. 3, Desire, Op. 9/3
Title: Sonata For Piano In A Minor (Completed By Thomas Labé), Op. 11
Title: Miniatures (3) For Piano, No. 1, Reminiscence, Op. 12/1
Title: Miniatures (3) For Piano, No. 2, Lullaby, Op. 12/2
Title: Miniatures (3) For Piano, No 3, Longing, Op. 12/3
Title: Études (3) For Piano, No. 1, Studio Ritmico, Op. 18/1
Title: Études (3) For Piano, No. 2, Studio Melodico, Op. 18/2
Title: Études (3) For Piano, No. 3, Poema Idillico, Op. 18/3
Title: Enchantment, For Piano
Title: For The First Time, For Piano

Comments

a great composer
For all of us National Music Camp Alums , the Interlochen theme in Howard's second symphony, brings back the tears of leaving camp after 8 magical weeks...
Birch Creek Symphony Academy has this piece listed for their 2012 rep!
Without a doubt one of the most talented (and underrated) American composers of all time.
Yes, Mark, still playing. Our Community Orchestra bought the score and music to the 2nd and have performed it maybe three times over the past dozen years, and each time, I'm happily transported back to my teen years. One of my daughters plays (viola) in an orchestra in Indiana and they've played it too. Glad that Hanson isn't "dead."
fitch.mark2
have enjoyed the 2nd since I was a teen the classical station in Dallas had a late night program and they used the 2nd movement as their theme. I am now in my sixties and still love this piece Nancy how cool still playing I hope
I had the privilege of playing (cello) in the Romantic Symphony, conducted by Hanson, back about 1954. Great composer but no Gustavo Dudamel. Still one of my favorite symphonies.
One of the top 5 American classical composers, period.

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