Works Discography

Howard Hanson (1896-1981)

Howard Hanson was born in the very heartland of the United States, Wahoo, Nebraska, on October 28th, 1896. Taught music first by his mother, he determined on a career in music and began his formal musical education at Luther College in his hometown. He continued his studies at the Institute of Musical Art under Percy Goetschius and at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, under P. C. Lutkin and Arne Oldberg where he also served as an instructor in 1915-16. After graduation he taught theory and composition at the College of the Pacific in San Jose, California where he became Dean of the Conservatory of Fine Arts in 1919. His first major success as a composer came in 1921 when he was awarded the first American Prix de Rome in Music from his California Forest Play of 1920 for solo voices, chorus, dancers, and orchestra.

In a far reaching move that was to have a decisive effect on music education in the United States, George Eastman chose the young Hanson to be director of the recently founded Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, in 1924. Hanson was to head the school for 40 years until his retirement in 1964, making Eastman one of the most influential music conservatories in the world, by broadening its curriculum and raising the standards of its orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonic, to a near professional level.

Hanson's music, avowedly neo-romantic, shows the influence of his Scandinavian background - he cited Grieg and Sibelius as the inspiration for his lyrical and harmonic style. His studies in Rome with Respighi undoubtedly enhanced the effectiveness and brilliance of his instrumental writing. Never an extremist, Hanson's harmonic palette is often enriched with bitonal and modal writing, and his music shows a marked fondness for asymmetrical rhythms of great vitality. Always fascinated by Gregorian Chant, he frequently uses that style as a source for his melodic shapes and often quotes chorales, or re-imagines the choral style in his music as well. His music, inflected with colorful orchestration and possessed of a wide emotional range from the somber and pungent writing found in the symphonies to the gaiety and vivacity of the delightful Serenade for flute, harp and strings, is a characteristically American style that proved deeply influential on the music of several generations of American composers.

Hanson's influence as a composer, conductor, educator and administrator is a considerable and abiding testament to his greatness and his importance to every area of American musical life.

(C) Carl Fischer

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Before the Dawn, Op. 17 (1920)
Hanson's 6th, from Symphony No. 6, 6th movement, Allegro



Charles Martin Loeffler 

Carl Ruggles

Howard Hanson

Henry Cowell

Delphine Dupuy, viola d'amore

Basque National Orchestra

Robert Trevino, conductor

ODE 1396-2

Released 10/2021

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The Loudest Classical Music of All Time

Various composers

Re-issue, originally released in 1997

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Leif Segerstam

ODE 1210-2

Released 02/2017

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