Pierson (real name, Pearson), Henry Hugo (Hugh)

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Pierson (real name, Pearson), Henry Hugo (Hugh)

Pierson (real name, Pearson), Henry Hugo (Hugh), English composer; b. Oxford, April 12,1815; d. Leipzig, Jan. 28, 1873. He was educated at Trinity Coll., Cambridge; in 1839, went to Germany, where he took courses in music with Rinck and Reissiger; also with Tomaschek in Prague. He entered the circle of Mendelssohn in Leipzig. After a brief term as Reid Prof, of music at the Univ. of Edinburgh (1844–45), he returned to Germany, where he remained for the rest of his life. He married Caroline Leonhardt, who wrote the German librettos for his operas. He changed his name from the original form Pearson to Pierson in order to secure proper pronunciation by Germans; used the pen name Edgar Mansfeldt for his publ. music. His music reflects the profound influence of Schumann. He won wide acceptance in Germany with his incidental music to part 2 of Goethe’s Faust, the symphonic poem Macbeth, works for men’s choruses, and lieder.


dramatic: Opera: Der Elfensieg (Brunn, 1845); Leila (Hamburg, Feb. 22, 1848); Contarmi oder Die Verschwörung zu Padua (1853; Hamburg, April 16, 1872; as Fenice, Dessau, April 24, 1883); also incidental music to part 2 of Goethe’s Faust (Hamburg, March 25,1854) and to Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Leipzig, Jan. 17,1874) and Romeo and Juliet (1874). Oratorios: Jerusalem (Norwich Festival, Sept. 23, 1852); Hezekiah (Norwich Festival, 1869; unfinished). vocal: Men’s choruses; lieder.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire