Howard Hanson

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Howard Harold Hanson (born October 28, 1896 in Wahoo , Nebraska , † February 26, 1981 in Rochester , New York ) was an American pianist , conductor and composer .


Hanson grew up as the son of Swedish immigrants in a small Lutheran congregation in Nebraska . He studied piano with James Friskin and composition with Percy Goetschius at the Institute of Musical Art in New York .

A teaching position brought him to Illinois , where he completed his studies at Northwestern University when he was barely twenty. Just two years later he took a teaching position at the Conservatory of Fine Arts in California , where he taught music theory and composition and became dean in 1921 . In the same year he won the American Academy in Rome award for his ballet Californian Forest Play (not to be confused with the Prix ​​de Rome of the Paris Conservatory!).

Hanson then lived in Rome for three years . In 1924, in New York, he met the entrepreneur George Eastman , founder of the renowned Eastman School of Music . The meeting turned out to be fateful, because a call to the university as head of the music department followed. Hanson headed the institute from 1924 to 1964.

Hanson received significant awards throughout his life, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his fourth symphony. In 1935 he was accepted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters . In 1950 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society and in 1961 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In Hanson's tonal language , a romantic attitude merges with the flair of the American northern states as well as an echo of the symphonic composers of Northern Europe, especially Jean Sibelius .

Howard Hanson's work as a conductor was not only indebted to his own compositions. As director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York , and chief conductor of the Eastman Rochester Orchestra, he has frequently performed other American composers, including Samuel Barber , John Alden Carpenter , Morton Gould , Charles Tomlinson Griffes , John Knowles Paine , Walter Piston and William Grant Still . Some of it has been preserved on vinyl or CD, his recordings for the Mercury Records label are of particular importance .

The secondary theme of the first movement from his 2nd symphony ("Romantic") was used as film music in the finale and credits of the science fiction film Alien - The uncanny creature from a strange world .


Works for orchestra

  • 1920 Symphonic poem "Before the Dawn"
  • 1922 Symphony No. 1 "Nordic" e-minor opus 21
    1. Andante solene - Allegro con forzo
    2. Andante teneramente, con semplicita
    3. Allegro con fuoco
  • 1923 Symphonic poem "Lux aeterna" with viola obbligato
  • 1926 Concerto for organ and Orchestra (orchestrated by Bernhard Kaun )
  • 1926 Symphonic poem "Pan and the Priest" with piano obbligato
  • 1930 Symphony No. 2 "Romantic" opus 30
    1. Adagio - Allegro moderato
    2. Andante con tenerezza
    3. Allegro con brio
  • 1937 Symphony No. 3 a-minor opus 33
    1. Andante lamentando-agitato
    2. Andante tranquillo
    3. Tempo scherzando
    4. Largamente e pesante
  • 1943 Symphony No. 4 "The Requiem" opus 34
    1. Kyrie - Andante inquieto
    2. Requiescat - Largo
    3. Dies irae - Presto
    4. Lux aeterna - Largo pastorale
  • 1954 Symphony No. 5 "Sinfonia sacra" opus 43
  • 1968 Symphony No. 6th
    1. Andante
    2. Allegro Scherzando
    3. adagio
    4. Allegro Assai
    5. adagio
    6. Allegro
  • 1977 Symphony No. 7 "A Sea Symphony" on poems by Walt Whitman for chorus and orchestra
    1. The Unbounded Sea - Largamente
    2. The Untold Want - Adagio
    3. Joy, Shipmate, Joy! - Allegro molto - Molto meno mosso

Works for wind orchestra

  • 1955 Chorale and Alleluia
  • 1967 Centennial March
  • 1972 Dies Natalis
  • 1972 Young Person's Guide to the Six-tone Scale for Piano, Winds, and Percussion
  • 1975 Laude: Chorale, Variations and Metamorphoses on Psalm 150
  • Merry Mount Suite for Band, op.31
    1. Overture
    2. Children's Dances
    3. Love Duet
  • Variations on an ancient hymn

Vocal and choral music

  • 1915 3 songs from Walt Whitman
    1. The Untold Want
    2. Portals
    3. Joy! Shipmate, Joy!
  • 1925 The Lament for Beowulf opus 25, for choir and orchestra (orchestrated by Bernhard Kaun )
  • 1935 Songs from Drum Taps opus 32, for baritone, choir and orchestra
  • 1949 The Cherubic Hymn opus 37, for choir and orchestra
  • 1952 How Excellent Thy Name opus 41, for female choir and piano
  • 1957 Song of Democracy for choir and orchestra
  • 1963 Song of Human Rights for choir and orchestra
  • 1965 Psalm CL for male choir
  • 1968 Psalm CXXI for baritone, choir and orchestra
  • 1969 Streams in the Desert for choir and orchestra
  • 1970 The Mystic Trumpeter for speaker, choir and orchestra
  • 1976 New Land, New Covenant Oratorio

Stage works

  • 1919 California Forest Play of 1920 opus 16, for soloists, choir, dancers and orchestra
  • 1933 Merry Mount opus 31, opera, - libretto: RL Stokes after Nathaniel Hawthorne


Individual evidence

  1. Ruth T. Watanabe: Hanson, Howard Harold in American National Biography , 1999
  2. ^ Members: Howard Hanson. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed April 2, 2019 .
  3. ^ Member History: Howard Hanson. American Philosophical Society, accessed September 21, 2018 .
  4. Book of Members 1780 – present, Chapter H. (PDF; 1.2 MB) In: American Academy of Arts and Sciences ( Retrieved September 21, 2018 .