Purchases Today

Started by Dungeon Master, February 24, 2013, 01:39:50 PM

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Quote from: ritter on May 25, 2015, 06:06:17 AM
I apologize for the delayed reply, Mirror Image.

I must start by saying that my appreciation of Hahn is tinged by several extra-musical issues. It's probably  clear by now to many that I'm a bit of a francophile. I'm also fascinated by the world of Marcel Proust (with whom Reynaldo had a close liaison), and am myself a Venezuelan living in Europe. Furthermore, my grandmother's family was acquainted with the Echenagucias (Hahn's maternal family). None of this, of course, makes Hahn's music better or worse, or more or less interesting. And yet...

The most popular segment of Hahn's oeuvre is clearly his art songs, or mélodies (a genre which IIRC you don't care much for). He excelled at this from an early age, and some of his settings (in many occasions, of major French poets) are actually quite accomplished, and certainly go beyond the "salon music" label that has often been attached to Hahn's compositions. For example, the Chansons grises (on Verlaine) and À Chloris (on Théophile de Viau) are IMHO at the same level as anything Fauré composed in this form.

Then there's the piano music, with the four suites that make up Le Rossignol éperdu enjoying a sort of renaissance as of late. A string of minatures, some of which are character pieces, others are travel-inspired, unpretentious as a whole, and quite pleasant in general (perhaps too long to listen to in one go).

The stage works are particularly "French". His opera Le Marchand de Venise is quite beautiful (but avaialable only from semi-private sources), and his operettas (Ciboulette being the most famous one) are good if you like that sort of thing (but knowledge of the French language is a requisite to appreciate them, I venture to say).

Finally, there's the orchestral and ensemble stuff, like the CD I just bought. Here Hahn's backward-looking attitude in music is very palpable. Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este is delightful, with a curious orchestration of winds, piano, two harps and percussion. It's not really neo-classical avant la lettre, it's trying to emulate the "spirit" (more than the "style") of some renaissance music ("archaïsant" is the French term that would apply, and I cannot find an exact English equivalent).  The Concerto provençal (for flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn and strings) is a delight, very atmospheric and very carefree (surprisingly so, as it was composed in 1944, when Hahn was stearing clear in the South of France from the Nazis in occupied Paris).

Well, this is turning out too long already, and I haven't answered your question: what does his music sound like? We're in a world that rejects any sort of harmonic innovation, but that is well crafted and has a definite charm, even if at times it turns (deliberately) into pastiche and, at others (seldom), can almost be kitsch   I'd say it's compeltely imbued by nostalgia, pleasant to the ear,  and deliberatly démodé by the time it was composed. But, with these features, Hahn does have a very personal style, which could not be confused with that of any other composer. The sound world of a certain period  in France that had ended long before Hahn stopped compsoing, and directed to some social circles ("le grand monde") whose influnece had also vanished by then.

If you wish to explore Hahn's orchestral/ensemble music, then the new Timpani CD is great (it's the best performance of Béatrice d'Este I've heard). Another good entry point would be the Piano concerto, where this "nostalgic" fealing is really accomplished, and which I think is a piece that deserves wider recognition:


Here it's performed by the wondeful Magda Tagliaferro (under the composer):


Thank you very much! I am adding Reynaldo Hahn to my listening list for today, inspired by this superb post. It is a wonderful field guide. Perhaps if there is a Reynaldo Hahn thread in the composer section, you will want to copy it over?



In the bins at Barnes and Noble.  A surprise since they do not usually have anything from Naxos.

Mirror Image

Quote from: Jeffrey Smith on May 26, 2015, 05:49:27 PMIn the bins at Barnes and Noble.  A surprise since they do not usually have anything from Naxos any classical label.

There we go, I fixed that for you, Jeffrey. ;)

Mirror Image

Just bought:

Green Destiny

Picked up a used copy of this set at last :):


I forgot to mention I got this set too (a couple of weeks ago :o) :):



mc ukrneal

Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Ken B


Mirror Image

Mirror Image


Wise words from Que:

Never waste a good reason for a purchase....  ;)


Mirror Image

Just bought for $4:

And this one for $8:

The new erato

Just to keep John company in here, I ordered these at presto:


(a really fine series)

Mirror Image

Quote from: The new erato on May 29, 2015, 02:19:18 AM
Just to keep John company in here, I ordered these at presto

Yeah, it can get a bit lonely in here. ;)



Purchased off line today:

It has been re-released, but this issue still has a all the liner notes... :)