The Corner


Singing the Praises of Chloris, Etc.

Reynaldo Hahn, 1898 (Paul Nadar / Wikimedia)

See that guy up there? He is Reynaldo Hahn, a most interesting composer. Hahn is featured in my latest Music for a While. He was born in Caracas in 1874, the youngest of twelve children. When he was three, the Hahn family moved to Paris, and Reynaldo became a classic French composer. A child prodigy, he studied at the Paris Conservatory with such éminences as Gounod, Massenet, Saint-Saëns, and Ravel. In addition to being a composer, Hahn was a conductor and a writer. He was a close friend of Proust. Etc. Interesting life.

One of his most beloved songs is “À Chloris,” a neo-Baroque beauty. Susan Graham, the mezzo from Midland, Texas, calls it her favorite song. I have her singing it in my podcast. Just recently, another American mezzo, Joyce DiDonato, recorded it in home confinement. She accompanied herself on the piano. See and hear her here.

Other composers in the latest Music for a While include Bach — though Carl Philipp Emanuel, not his father, Johann Sebastian — Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Wolf, and Dohnányi. I end with a tribute to Rosalind Elias, yet another American mezzo-soprano, who died the other day at 90. She was the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, the last of their 13 children. The family lived in Lowell, Mass. Rosalind Elias was an amazing person.

Again, that ’cast is here.


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