Henry Hadley

Henry Hadley - once a formidable presence in American music - but times change.

Society For Forgotten Music – Henry Hadley – 1950 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Henry Hadley
Henry Hadley – once a formidable presence in American music – but times change.

Society For Forgotten Music – February 13, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Music of Henry Hadley this weekend. His String Quartet, played by members of the Society For Forgotten Music String Quartet in this concert broadcast of February 13, 1950.

Henry Hadley was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, to a musical family. His father, from whom he received his first musical instruction in violin and piano, was a secondary school music teacher, his mother was active in church music, and his brother Arthur went on to a successful career as a professional cellist. In the Hadley home, the two brothers played string quartets with their father on viola and the composer Henry F. Gilbert on second violin.

Hadley also studied harmony with his father and with Stephen A. Emery, and, from the age of fourteen, he studied composition with the prominent American composer George Whitefield Chadwick. Under Chadwick’s tutelage, Hadley composed many works, including songs, chamber music, a musical, and an orchestral overture.

In 1893, Hadley toured with the Laura Schirmer-Mapleson Opera Company as a violinist. But he left the tour when the company encountered financial difficulties and was unable to pay his salary.

In 1894, he travelled to Vienna to further his studies with Eusebius Mandyczewski. Hadley loved the artistic atmosphere of the city, where he could attend countless concerts and operas, and where he occasionally saw Brahms in the cafes. He heard Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony while there, and it made a strong impact on him. During this period Hadley also befriended the German-American conductor Adolf Neuendorff, who gave him advice regarding his compositions.

The majority of Hadley’s personal papers and scores are housed in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. During his lifetime, Hadley’s music was immensely popular, and was a regular part of the repertory of America’s top orchestras, and was also performed in Europe. Many legendary conductors performed his music, including Gustav Mahler, Leopold Stokowski, Serge Koussevitzky, and Karl Muck. In recent years his music has been largely neglected, although a few recordings of his music have been issued. An enduring aspect of his legacy is Tanglewood, the realization of his dream to create a classical summer music festival.

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