Reynaldo Hahn

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Hahn, Reynaldo

Hahn, Reynaldo, Venezuelan-born French conductor, music critic, and composer; b. Caracas, Aug. 9, 1874; d. Paris, Jan. 28, 1947. His father, a merchant from Hamburg, settled in Venezuela c. 1850; the family moved to Paris when Reynaldo was 5 years old. He studied singing and apparently had an excellent voice; a professional recording he made in 1910 testifies to that. He studied theory with Dubois and Lavignac and composition with Massenet at the Paris Cons., who exercised the most important influence on Hahn’s own music. He also studied conducting, achieving a high professional standard as an opera conductor. In 1934 he became music critic of Le Figaro. He remained in France during the Nazi occupation at a considerable risk to his life, since he was Jewish on his father’s side. In 1945 he was named a member of the Institut de France and in 1945-46 was music director of the Paris Opéra. Hahn’s music is distinguished by a facile, melodious flow and a fine Romantic flair. Socially, he was known in Paris for his brilliant wit. He maintained a passionate youthful friendship with Marcel Proust, who portrayed him as a poetic genius in his novel Jean Santeuil; their intimate correspondence was publ, in 1946. He was a brilliant journalist; his articles were publ, as Du Chant (Paris, 1920; 2nd ed., 1957), Notes. Journal d’un musicien (Paris, 1933), L’Oreille au guet (Paris, 1937), and Thèmes variés (Paris, 1946). A series of his letters dating from 1913-14 were publ, in an Eng. tr. by L. Simoneau as On Singers and Singing (Portland, Ore., 1990).

Works

dramatic:Fin d’amour, ballet- pantomime (1892); L’île du reve, opera (Paris, March 23, 1898); La carmélite, opéra comique (Paris, Dec. 16, 1902); La pastorale de Noěl, Christmas mystery (1908); Le bal de Béatrice d’Este, ballet (1909); La fête chez Thérèse, ballet (1909); Le bois sacré, ballet- pantomime (1912); Le dieu bleu, ballet (Paris, May 14, 1912); Fête triomphale, opera (Paris, july 14, 1919); Nausicaa, opéra comique (Monte Carlo, April 10, 1919); La colombe de Bouddah, conte lyrique (Cannes, March 21, 1921); Ciboulette, operetta (Paris, April 7, 1923); Mozart, musical comedy (Paris, Dec. 2, 1925); La reine de Sheba, scène lyrique (1926); Une revue (1926); Le temps d’aimer, musical comedy (Paris, Nov. 6, 1926); Brummel, operetta (1930; Paris, Ian. 20, 1931); O mon bel inconnu!, musical comedy (Paris, Oct. 5, 1933); Malvina, operetta (Paris, March 23, 1935); Le marchand de Venise, opera (Paris, March 25, 1935); Beaucoup de bruit pour rien, musical comedy (1936); Aux bosquets d’Idalie, ballet (1937); Le oui des jeunes filles, opera (orchestrated by H. Büsser; Paris, June 21, 1949); also incidental music to Daudet’s L’obstacle (1890), Croisset’s Les deux courtisanes (1902), Hugo’s Angelo (1905), Racine’s Esther (1905), Mendès’s Scarron (1905), Hugo’s Lucrèce Borgia (1911), and Magre’s Méduse (1911). ORCH.: Nuit d’amour bergamasque, symphonic poem (1897); Violin Concerto (1927; Paris, Feb. 26, 1928); Piano Concerto (1930; Paris, Feb. 4, 1931); Concerto provençal (n.d.); Strasbourg reconquise (n.d.). CHAMBER: Violin Sonata (1927); 2 string quartets (n.d., 1943); Piano Quintet (n.d.); piano pieces, including Portraits de peintres (1894). VOCAL: Prométhée triomphant for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1908); several song cycles.

Bibliography

D. Bendahan, R. H. Su vida y su obra (Caracas, 1973); B. Gavoty, R. H.: Le Musicien de la belle époque (Paris, 1976); M. Milanca Guzmán, R. H., caraqueno: Contribución a la biografia caraquena de R. H. Echenagucia (Caracas, 1989).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Hahn, Reynaldo (b Carácas, 1874; d Paris, 1947). Fr. composer and conductor. Mus. critic Le Figaro 1934. Mus. dir. Paris Opéra 1945–6. His operas incl. 2 special successes, Ciboulette (1923) and Le marchand de Venise (1935). The mus. comedy Mozart (1925) (with lib. by Sacha Guitry) was also popular, not least for having Yvonne Printemps in the title-role. Though he wrote ballets, operetta, a cantata, pf. conc., vn. conc., vc. conc., str. qt., and incid. mus., he is best remembered by his elegant and charming songs (which he sang, acc. himself). They incl. Si mes vers avaient des ailes. Was intimate friend of Marcel Proust.

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HAHN, REYNALDO

HAHN, REYNALDO (1875–1947), composer and conductor. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Hahn studied under Massenet at the Paris Conservatory. He wrote several light operas and songs which recall Massenet's melodic charm. His compositions include eight operas and light operas, incidental music to plays, pantomimes, ballets (notably Le Dieu bleu (1912) for the Diaghilev Ballet), two symphonic poems, chamber music, songs, an oratorio La Reine de Sheba (1926), and a Christmas mystery Pastorale de Noël (1908). From 1935 Hahn was music critic of Le Figaro. In 1945 he was appointed director of the Paris Opera. His book of recollections, Thèmes variés, appeared in 1946.