Howard Hanson

Biography

Born: October 28, 1896; Wahoo, NE   Died: February 26, 1981; Rochester, NY  
Howard Hanson was among the first twentieth century American composers to achieve widespread prominence. In contrast to the angular Stravinskian and Americana-influenced sounds that dominated American concert music prior to World War II, Hanson wrote in an unabashedly Romantic idiom influenced by his Nordic roots. Of particular importance to the composer was the music of Sibelius; however, he also acknowledged the influence of composers such as Read more Palestrina and Bach.

After boyhood studies on the piano, Hanson studied music at the Institute of Musical Art in New York City and Northwestern University, where he earned a degree in 1916. In 1921, he became the first American to win the Prix de Rome, which provided him the opportunity to study with Ottorino Respighi, whose colorful orchestral language was clearly an influence on Hanson's own. Upon his return to the United States, Hanson was appointed head of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester at the age of 28. Under the composer's guidance over the course of more than four decades, Eastman became one of the world's preeminent educational institutions. During his tenure there Hanson continued to compose prolifically; he also embarked on a career as a conductor, in which capacity he proved himself one of the great champions of American music. At Eastman, it has been calculated, he presented some 1,500 works by 700 composers. Hanson also commercially recorded a number of modern works in a series for the Mercury label in the 1950s, drawing much attention to otherwise neglected repertoire.

Hanson's most characteristic works are undoubtedly his seven symphonies. The first of these, the "Nordic" Symphony (1922), dates from the composer's studies in Rome. The Second Symphony ("Romantic"), remains Hanson's best-known work, a characteristic realization of the lush, lyric aesthetic with which he is closely associated. Further notable among Hanson's symphonies are the Symphony No. 4 (1943), awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Symphony No. 7 (1977), one of a series of works inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman. Other important works in Hanson's catalogue include The Lament for Beowulf (1925) for chorus and orchestra; the opera Merry Mount (1933), well received at its premiere and in subsequent productions, but now rarely performed; and a variety of other chamber, vocal, and orchestral works. Read less

Work: Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth

Browse 1-8 of 8 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 2.
    40 Tracks for 40 Years - Delos Anniversary Set
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3440 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold  ... 
    Performer:  James Earl Jones,  Charles Butler,  Marina Domashenko,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Zdenek Macal,  Constantine Orbelian,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Great American Composers - Copland, Harris, Hovhaness, Hanson, Diamond, Creston, Piston
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 6012 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Roy Harris,  Walter Piston,  Paul Creston,  David Diamond  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  James Earl Jones
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony
    CD: $58.99
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  • 4.
    American Classics - Hanson: Organ Concerto, Etc / Spalding
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559251 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Howard Hanson
    Performer:  Joseph Jackson,  Holly Blake,  Doris Hall-Gulati,  Gabriela Imreh  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Spalding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Great American Composers Collection - Hanson, Et Al/ Schwarz
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3708 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Walter Piston,  Howard Hanson,  David Diamond
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  Randall Ellis,  Susan Jolles,  Judith Mendenhall
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Carol's Concerto Collection / Rosenberger, Schwarz, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3306 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Howard Hanson,  Richard Strauss,  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  Michael Crusoe
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  New York Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Music Of Howard Hanson Vol 1 / Schwarz, Rosenberger, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3705 Release Date: 03/03/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Howard Hanson
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony,  Seattle Chorale  ... 
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  • 8.
    Music For Quiet Listening Vol 2
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434390 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Howard Hanson,  Charles Martin Loeffler,  Anatole Liadov,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  David Burge,  Robert Sprenkle,  Francis Tursi,  Armand Basile  ... 
    Conductor:  Howard Hanson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra,  Eastman Philharmonia
    ArkivCD $16.99
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