Hallé, Sir Charles (original name, Carl Hallé)

views updated

Hallé, Sir Charles (original name, Carl Hallé)

Hallé, Sir Charles (original name, Carl Hallé), renowned German-born English pianist and conductor; b. Hagen, April 11, 1819; d. Manchester, Oct. 25, 1895. A child prodigy, he began to play the piano at age 4, making his formal debut in a recital when he was 9. He made his conducting debut in Hagen at 11. He subsequently studied harmony and counterpoint with Rinck in Darmstadt (1835–36) and piano with George Osborne in Paris, where he moved in the circles of Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and Wagner; made his debut in Paris as a pianist in a trio with Alard and Franchomme in 1840. In 1842 he made a concert tour of Germany, which was followed by his London debut in 1843. He was the first pianist to play all the Beethoven piano sonatas in Paris. After the Revolution of 1848 he went to England, where he founded a series of chamber music concerts in Manchester. He then reorganized the Gentlemen’s Concerts in 1849 and formed a choral society in 1850, and in 1857 he established subscription concerts with his own orch., which developed into the famous Charles Hallé’s Orch. (inaugural concert, Jan. 30, 1858). The ensemble endured after his death, eventually becoming the esteemed Hallé Orch. He conducted the Bristol Festivals (1873–93) and the Liverpool Phil. Soc. (1883–95), and also served as the 1st principal of the Royal Manchester Coll. of Music (1893–95), where he was also a prof, of piano. He was a champion of Berlioz in England, and gave several complete performances of Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust. His first wife was Désirée Smith de Rilieu. With his second wife, the violinist Wilma Neruda , he made 2 Australian tours (1890, 1891). He was knighted in 1888. Halle established a very high standard of excellence in orch. performance, which greatly influenced musical life in England. He published Pianoforte School (1873) and edited Musical Library (1876). M. Kennedy edited The Autobiography of Charles Halle (London, 1972).


L. Engel, From Handel to H. (London, 1890); C. and M. Halle, Life and Letters of Sir C. H. (London, 1896); C. Rigby, Sir C. H. (Manchester, 1952); C. Rees, 200 Years of the H. (London, 1957); M. Kennedy, H. Orchestra (Manchester, 1968; rev. ed., 1976); idem, The H. 1858-1983 (Manchester, 1983); A. Kersting, C. H: Ein europäischer Musiker (Hagen, 1986).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire