Reynaldo Hahn

Biography

Born: August 9, 1875; Venezuela   Died: January 28, 1947; France   Period: 20th Century
Reynaldo Hahn is often considered an archetypal French composer -- a product of effective French music education coupled with the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Paris. The fact that Hahn was not actually French (he was born in Caracas, Venezuela) has never deterred this notion -- even among the nationalistic French -- since he made Paris his home for nearly his entire life. Today, as he was during his life, he is best known for his vocal works, Read more ranging from serious opera and operetta to solo songs. His affinity for both the stage and the human voice eventually led to his appointment in 1945 as director of the Paris Opéra.
Hahn's parents were of German and Venezuelan extraction; when he was three years old the family relocated to Paris, where Hahn entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1886. He studied harmony with Théodore Dubois, piano with Decombes and composition with Jules Massenet. Massenet's influence is clear in one of Hahn's earliest, and most famous, songs, Si mes vers avaient des ailes (If my verses had wings); written when the composer was only 13, it is a charming setting of verses by Victor Hugo. The combined forces of Massenet's advocacy on his behalf (enough to have his cycle of songs on the poetry of Paul Verlaine, Chansons grises, published in 1893) and Hahn's own fine singing voice (enabling him to accompany himself in salons and concert halls) helped to establish his reputation in the city.
Early in his career, Hahn made the acquaintance of Sarah Bernhardt and Marcel Proust; Proust, especially, would instill in Hahn a deep appreciation and understanding of poetry, which had a profound effect on Hahn's approach to vocal composition. Hahn once wrote, "The genuine beauty of singing consists in a perfect unison, an amalgam, a mysterious alloy of the singing and the speaking voice, or to put it better, the melody and the spoken word." Hahn found himself seduced by the poetry of Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier, and Paul Verlaine; he put his efforts toward creating musical phrasing and rhythmic gestures that would allow the words to speak for themselves. Hahn believed that "[o]nly form can give a piece a chance of lasting...." This perhaps explains his predilection for the older, repetitive formal structures evident in some of his songs, such as "L'automne" (Autumn), "Le printemps" (Spring), and "Quand je fus pris au pavillion" (When I was Lured to her Pavilion).
Hahn's first stage composition was incidental music for Daudet's L'obstacle in 1890; his first opera to reach the stage was the three-act L'île du rêve, performed in Paris at the Opéra-Comique in 1898; a more successful serious opera appeared in 1935 (Le marchand de Venise, in three acts, with a libretto by Zamacoïs, after Shakespeare). Notably, with Le marchand de Venise, Hahn deliberately returned to the "old-fashioned" division between musical numbers and recitatives and returned the orchestra to a purely accompanimental role. Hahn's most important ballet, Le dieu bleu, was composed in 1912 for Diaghilev's company (to a scenario by Cocteau and Madrazo). By far, Hahn's most successful theater piece is his operetta Ciboulette; it premiered to instant acclaim in Paris in 1923, and has received innumerable performances since.
As a conductor and impresario at the Paris Opéra, Hahn favored the operas of Mozart; he found the earlier composer so fascinating, in fact, that he composed a musical comedy on his life (Mozart, 1925), in which he included pastiches of Mozart's own music. Read less

There are 162 Reynaldo Hahn recordings available.

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Works

Reynaldo Hahn


MOST POPULAR WORKS
WORKS
I. Promenade
II. Babillage et soleil
III. Lune
IV. Angelus
V. Tristesse nocturne, l'oiseau de nuit
VI. Petit ruisseau murmurant
VII. Ver luisant
VIII. Le lys
IX. Les orties
X. Le vent
XI. Retour
Chansons grises (Verlaine): II. Tous deux
Chansons grises (Verlaine): III. L'allée est sans fin
Chansons grises (Verlaine): IV. En sourdine
Chansons grises (Verlaine): V. L'heure exquise
Chansons grises (Verlaine): VI. Paysage triste
Chansons grises (Verlaine): VII. La bonne chanson
Sonnet (Ronsard)
No. 1. The Swing
No. 2. Windy nights
No. 3. My Ship and I
No. 4. The Stars
No. 5. A good boy
No. 1. Portrait
No. 2. La Promenade
No. 3. Demi- sommeil
No. 4. Feuillage
No. 5. Phoebe
No. 6. Les regards amoureux
I. Premiere Suite: No. 1. Frontispice
I. Premiere Suite: No. 2. Andromede resignee
I. Premiere Suite: No. 3. Douloureuse Reverie dans un bois da sapins
I. Premiere Suite: No. 4. Le Bougquet de Pensees
I. Premiere Suite: No. 5. Soleil d'automne
I. Premiere Suite: No. 6. Gretchen
I. Premiere Suite: No. 7. Les Deux Echarpes
I. Premiere Suite: No. 8. Liebe! Liebe!
I. Premiere Suite: No. 9. Eros cache dans les bois
I. Premiere Suite: No. 10. La Fausse Indifference
I. Premiere Suite: No. 11. Chanson de Midi
I. Premiere Suite: No. 12. Antiochus
I. Premiere Suite: No. 13. Novermore
I. Premiere Suite: No. 14. Portrait
I. Premiere Suite: No. 15. L'Enfant au Perroquet
I. Premiere Suite: No. 16. Les Reveries du Prince Eglantine
I. Premiere Suite: No. 17. Ivresse
I. Premiere Suite: No. 18. L'Arome supreme
I. Premiere Suite: No. 19. Berceuse feroce
I. Premiere Suite: No. 20. Passante
I. Premiere Suite: No. 21. La Danse de l'Amour et de l'Ennui
I. Premiere Suite: No. 22. Ouranos
I. Premiere Suite: No. 23. Les Heliotropes de Clos-Andre
I. Premiere Suite: No. 24. Effet de nuit sur la Seine
I. Premiere Suite: No. 25. Per i piccoli canali
I. Premiere Suite: No. 26. Mirage
I. Premiere Suite: No. 27. La Dance de l'Amour et du Danger
I. Premiere Suite: No. 28. Matinee parisienne
I. Premiere Suite: No. 29. Cherubin tragique
I. Premiere Suite: No. 30. Les Chenes enlaces
II. Orient: No. 31. En Caique
II. Orient: No. 32. Narghile
II. Orient: No. 33. Les Chiens da Galata
II. Orient: No. 34. Reverie nocturne sur les Bosphore
II. Orient: No. 35. La Rosie de Blida
II. Orient: No. 36. L'Oasis
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 37. L'Ange Verrier
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 38. Le Jardin de Petrarque
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 39. Nativite
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 40. Faunesse dansante
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 41. Les Noces du Duc de Joyeuse
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 42. Le Petit Mail
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 43. Les Pages d'Elisabeth
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 44. Le Jeunesse et l'Ete ornent de fleurs le tombeau de Pergolese
III. Carnet de Voyage: No. 45. Vieux Bahuts
IV. Versailles: No. 46. Hommage a Martius
IV. Versailles: No. 47. La Reine au jardin
IV. Versailles: No. 48. Le Reveil de Flore
IV. Versailles: No. 49. Le Banc songeur
IV. Versailles: No. 50. La Fete de Terpsichore
IV. Versailles: No. 51. Adieux au soir tombant
IV. Versailles: No. 52. Hivernale
IV. Versailles: No. 53. Le Pelerinage inutile
I. Albert Cuyp
II. Paulus Potter
III. Anton van Dyck
IV. Antoine Watteau
Invitation a la Valse
I. -
II. -
III. Ninette
IV. Valse noble
V. -
VI. -
VII. Berceau
VIII. -
IX. La Feuille
X. -
I. Allegretto moderato
II. Allegro assai
III. Andante
IV. Allegro assai
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Andantino rubato
III. Final: en forme de Tambourin


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