Classical Music Playlist, May 2, 2023

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1874 and moved with his family to Paris at age three, Reynaldo Hahn was a child prodigy. At age eleven he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory where his teachers and mentors included Jules Massenet, Charles Gounod, Camille Saint-Saëns and others.

Hahn was well connected with famous figures of Parisian society including Marcel Proust who deepend Hahn’s appreciation of poetry (which helped him to write his songs) and Proust once wrote that “Everything I have ever done has always been thanks to Reynaldo.”

Between the world wars Hahn was a prolific composer of over 380 works in many genres. Yet during his time Hahn was also the victim of thinly veiled homophobia and in WWII was subject to antisemitism when a Parisian presentation of his operetta Ciboulette was canceled due to his Jewish ancestry and the rest of his music banned.

Though Reynaldo Hahn was one of the most diverse, renowned, prolific and highly awarded men of his day, after his death in 1947 his music fell into oblivion. To reacquaint listeners with his music, we offer Hahn’s 1930 Piano Concerto for today’s Midday Masterpiece.

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