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Hodges, Faustina Hasse (1822–1895)

Hodges, Faustina Hasse (1822–1895)

English-born American composer and organist. Born in Malmesbury (some sources cite Bristol), England, on August 7, 1822; arrived in the United States in 1841; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 4, 1895; daughter of Edward Hodges (1796–1867, an English organist, composer and writer who lived in the U.S. from 1838 until the early 1860s).

Appointed professor of organ, singing and piano at the Troy Female Seminary (1852); composed mostly sentimental ballads before the Civil War and more sophisticated art songs starting in the 1870s.

Although born in England in 1822, Faustina Hodges was a thoroughly American phenomenon. Her father was an organist who did much to elevate New York musical life during the more than two decades he lived in that city. Faustina was able to learn a great deal about the practical, living aspects of music during her many years as a church organist in New York and Philadelphia churches. Her songs, both moving and naive, began to be published in the 1850s, and a number of them, including Dreams (1859) and The Rose-Bush (1859), clearly deserved to be the popular favorites they were in their day by virtue of the craft that went into writing them. Her hymn tunes and sacred duets were also much praised. An unsophisticated composer, Faustina Hodges' songs reflected the brash, young nation she had chosen as her second homeland.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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