Mondo Fuego™
Music Seminar 501 - Sunday/Monday Edition
Sun Nov 4, 2018 6:27pm

Howard Hanson : Symphony No. 2 'Romantic' Op. 30 (1930)

Performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin

Howard Harold Hanson (October 28, 1896 – February 26, 1981) was an American composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and champion of American classical music. As director for 40 years of the Eastman School of Music, he built a high-quality school and provided opportunities for commissioning and performing American music. He won a Pulitzer Prize (in 1944 for his Symphony no. 4) and received numerous other awards.

Hanson was born in Wahoo, Nebraska, to Swedish immigrant parents, Hans and Hilma (née Eckstrom) Hanson. In his youth he studied music with his mother. Later, he studied at Luther College in Wahoo, receiving a diploma in 1911, then at the Institute of Musical Art, the forerunner of the Juilliard School, in New York City, where he studied with the composer and music theorist Percy Goetschius in 1914.

Afterward he attended Northwestern University, where he studied composition with church music expert Peter Lutkin and Arne Oldberg in Chicago. Throughout his education, Hanson studied piano, cello, and trombone. Hanson earned his BA degree in music from Northwestern in 1916, where he began his teaching career as a teacher's assistant.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky commissioned Hanson's Symphony No. 2, the "Romantic", and premiered it on November 28, 1930. This work was to become Hanson's best known.

The performance by the Seattle Symphony conducted by Gerard Schwarz is actually better than the above performance, although St Louis and Slatkin are awesome.


If you like Hanson's "Romantic Symphony", you will probably also like "Nordic".

Howard Hanson - Symphony No.1 in E-minor, Op.22 "Nordic" (1922)

Performed by Seattle Symphony conducted by Gerard Schwarz

Both symphonies can be found on a single CD by Seattle/Schwarz.


In both symphonies, I picture Viking ships, war, peace, passion and love. What's your take?

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