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Discreet pleasures

Earl Wild plays Hahn's
'Le Rossignol éperdu' -
appreciated by
JOHN BELL YOUNG

'... incomparable authority and elegance ...'

Reynaldo Hahn: Le Rossignol Éperdu (p) 2001 Ivory Classics

 

If ever there was a composer whose music exemplified charm, it was Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947). A celebrated baritone, vocal coach, music critic, sometime pianist and bon vivant, Hahn was nothing if not a Renaissance man. Born in Caracas to a wealthy German industrialist and a Venezuelan mother, he grew up in Paris, where he studied with Massenet and remained all his life. Perhaps by virtue of some native Latino exoticism as much as his considerable musical gifts, he had already become the toast of Parisian society in fin de siecle France when he met and befriended Marcel Proust in 1892. As Hahn's most famous and ardent admirer, Proust immortalized him as the poetic genius of his novel, Jean Santeuil. One wonders, too, if there was not a trace of Hahn in the erudite but facetiously mannered character of Monsieur Bloch, the narrator's childhood Jewish friend who Proust painted so deliciously in Swann's Way.

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Copyright © 16 January 2002 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA

 

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CD INFORMATION - IVORY CLASSICS 72006

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