Hyperion Records

Hahn, Reynaldo (1874-1947)  

Reynaldo Hahn

born: 9 August 1874
died: 28 January 1947
country: France

Reynaldo Hahn was born on 9 August 1874 in Caracas, Venezuela, the youngest of twelve children. His first language was Spanish. By the age of three, however, his family had moved to Paris and the precocious six-year old was invited to sing operetta numbers at the salon of the Princess Mathilde (cousin of Napoleon III), accompanying himself at the piano. It was this unusual facility for which he became celebrated as an adult and which the writer Francis Pott suggests ‘undoubtedly contributed to a benign underestimation of his talents: the image of the singer seated at the keyboard was redolent of a dilettantism all too likely to engender preconceptions beyond the sphere of the songs for which he was celebrated, and it is perhaps accordingly that his more formal concert output has suffered.’

Hahn entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of eleven, studying solfège, harmony and counterpoint, composition and piano. Hahn had already shown unusual compositional facility by the age of seventeen, when his teacher Massenet (whose suave and fluent lyricism often seems to mark Hahn’s own style) introduced him to the publishers Heugel, who over the course of his career were to issue many of Hahn’s song collections. Despite considerable success with his song writing, it was Hahn’s attraction to the stage, to opera and more specifically operetta (with its greater popular appeal), for which he became best known.

Hahn was a connoisseur of literature and in 1894 met Marcel Proust. The famous novelist was to draw upon Hahn’s character for his portrait of the musician Santeuil. The romantic relationship which developed between them over many years remained strong until Proust’s death in 1922. Hahn wrote extensively as a music critic but the literary friendship with Proust may well have been the catalyst for his many extant eloquent reminiscences of artistic and social celebrities.

Hahn became noted as a conductor and as a particularly sensitive interpreter of Mozart (the subject of one of his lighter stage works), with whose music he felt a strong affinity. His musical tastes ranged from Palestrina through Haydn (whose music he found ‘exquisite, powdered and occasionally provocative’) to Ravel, but strangely excluded Debussy, whose music he derided. He was fond of Wagner but little of his own music reflects the influence. Beethoven he said ‘transports us by the mere vibration of his soul’. He reserved some of his most purple prose for Schumann: ‘There is no emotion that he has not experienced: all the phenomena of nature are familiar to him—moonlight bright or hazy, sunrise and sunset, confused shadows, dull weather, radiant weather, fresh scents, the majesty of evening, swirling mists, powdery snow—he has known them all and can impart to us the thousand-and-one emotions associated with them. His Lieder encompass … the entire depth of expression and sincerity of emotion with respect for the [poem’s] meaning and delicacy of touch. What a prodigious feeling for literature he had! For me, obsessed as I am with the fusion of literature and music, that is the quality that counts first and foremost.’

Endowed with easy linguistic ability through his parentage and childhood migration to Europe, Hahn was widely travelled. In 1940, on account of his part-Jewish ancestry, he fled Paris for Cannes but returned in 1945 to take up musical direction of L’Opéra. Despite plainly missing the intellectual fulfilment of his romance with Proust half a century earlier, he remained a flamboyant personality right up to his short and final illness, and he died in January 1947.

from notes by Jeremy Filsell © 2004

'Hahn & Massenet: Piano Concertos' (CDA66897)
Hahn & Massenet: Piano Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66897 
'Hahn & Vierne: Piano Quintets' (CDA67258)
Hahn & Vierne: Piano Quintets
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67258 
'Hahn: Chamber Music' (CDH55379)
Hahn: Chamber Music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55379  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Hahn: Chansons grises & other songs' (CDH55040)
Hahn: Chansons grises & other songs
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55040  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este; Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta' (CDH55167)
Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este; Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55167  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Hahn: Songs' (CDA67141/2)
Hahn: Songs
Buy by post £20.00 CDA67141/2  2CDs  
'La Procession' (CDA66248)
La Procession
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66248  Archive Service  
'Massenet & Hahn: Piano Concertos' (CDA66897)
Massenet & Hahn: Piano Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66897 
'Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta; Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este' (CDH55167)
Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta; Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55167  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Souvenirs de Venise' (CDH55217)
Souvenirs de Venise
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55217  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Vierne & Hahn: Piano Quintets' (CDA67258)
Vierne & Hahn: Piano Quintets
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'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2' (HYP20)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2
HYP20  2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
On other labels
'Fauré: Lydia's Vocalises' (CKD488)
Fauré: Lydia's Vocalises
CKD488  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'La trompette retrouvée' (CKD294)
La trompette retrouvée
CKD294  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
À Chloris (Hahn)
À deux pas de la mer qu'on entend bourdonner  First line to Paysage (Hahn)
Air de la lettre  Act 2 of Mozart (Hahn)
Au rossignol (Hahn)
Calmes dans le demi-jour  First line to En sourdine, No 4 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
C'est sa banlieu  Act 2 of Ciboulette (Hahn)
C'est très vilain d'être infidèle  Act 2 of Ô mon bel inconnu (Hahn)
Chanson d'automne  No 1 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
Chansons grises (Hahn)
Che pecà!  No 5 of Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
Ciboulette (Hahn)
Comme d'un sein ouvert la main arrache une arme  First line to La chère blessure (Hahn)
Dans l'air s'en vont les ailes  First line to L'air, No 4 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Dans un baiser, l'onde au rivage  First line to Seule (Hahn)
Depuis neuf ans et plus dans l'amphore scellé  First line to Phyllis, No 10 of Études latines (Hahn)
Depuis ton départ, mon amour  First line to Air de la lettre, Act 2 of Mozart (Hahn)
Depuis un moi, chère exilée  First line to Mai (Hahn)
Donc, ce sera par un clair jour d'été  First line to Tous deux, No 2 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
Douze Rondels (Hahn)
D'une prison (Hahn)
En mes coupes d'un prix modique  First line to Vile potabis, No 6 of Études latines (Hahn)
En sourdine  No 4 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
Études latines (Hahn)
Fêtes galantes (Hahn)
Gardez le trait de la fenêtre  No 6 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Il me faut retourner aux anciennes amours  First line to Néère, No 2 of Études latines (Hahn)
Ils se disent, ma colombe  First line to L'enamourée (Hahn)
Infidélité (Hahn)
Je l'ai rencontrée un jour de vendage  First line to Trois jours de vendange (Hahn)
Je me metz en vostre mercy  No 2 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Je me souviens (Hahn)
Je n'entends que le bruit de la rive et de l'eau  First line to Sur l'eau (Hahn)
La barcheta  No 2 of Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
La biondina in gondoleta  No 4 of Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
La bonne chanson  No 7 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
La chère blessure (Hahn)
La dernière valse  Extract of Une revue (Hahn)
La dure épreuve va finir  First line to La bonne chanson, No 7 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
La jeunesse nous quitte, et les Grâces aussi  First line to Lydie, No 1 of Études latines (Hahn)
La lune blanche  First line to L'heure exquise, No 5 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
La nuit  No 11 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
La nymphe de la source (Hahn)
La paix  No 5 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
La pêche  No 7 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
La primavera  No 6 of Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
L'air  No 4 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
L'allée est sans fin  No 3 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
L'automne  No 10 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
L'avertimento  No 3 of Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este (Hahn)
Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit  First line to D'une prison (Hahn)
Le jour  No 1 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Le pêcheur vidant ses filets  First line to La pêche, No 7 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Le plus beau présent (Hahn)
Le printemps  No 3 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Le rossignol des lilas (Hahn)
Le souci, plus léger que les vents de l'Épire  First line to Salinum, No 3 of Études latines (Hahn)
Le souvenir d'avoir chanté  No 12 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
L'enamourée (Hahn)
Les cieux resplendissants d'étoiles  First line to Les étoiles, No 9 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Les cygnes (Hahn)
Les donneurs de sérénades  First line to Fêtes galantes (Hahn)
Les étoiles  No 9 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Les feuilles tombent, c'est l'automne  First line to La dernière valse, Extract of Une revue (Hahn)
Les fontaines (Hahn)
Les sanglots long  First line to Chanson d'automne, No 1 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
L'heure exquise  No 5 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
L'Incrédule (Hahn)
L'ombre des arbres dans la rivière embrumée  First line to Paysage triste, No 6 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
Lydé  No 5 of Études latines (Hahn)
Lydie  No 1 of Études latines (Hahn)
Ma jeunesse (Hahn)
Mai (Hahn)
Mes vers fuiraient, doux et frêles  First line to Si mes vers avaient des ailes (Hahn)
Mozart (Hahn)
Ne crains pas de puiser aux réduits du cellier  First line to Thaliarque, No 4 of Études latines (Hahn)
Néère  No 2 of Études latines (Hahn)
Nocturne (Hahn)
Nocturne in E flat major (Hahn)
Nous avons fait un beau voyage  Act 2 of Ciboulette (Hahn)
Nous bénissons la douce nuit  First line to La nuit, No 11 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Ô blanche Tyndaris, les Dieux me sont amis  First line to Tyndaris, No 7 of Études latines (Hahn)
Ô mon bel inconnu (Hahn)
Ô premier rossignol qui viens  First line to Le rossignol des lilas (Hahn)
Offrande (Hahn)
Offre un encens modeste aux Lares familiers  First line to Phidylé, No 9 of Études latines (Hahn)
Oublie, ô Pholoé, la lyre et les festins  First line to Pholoé, No 8 of Études latines (Hahn)
Paysage (Hahn)
Paysage triste  No 6 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
Phidylé  No 9 of Études latines (Hahn)
Pholoé  No 8 of Études latines (Hahn)
Phyllis  No 10 of Études latines (Hahn)
Piano Concerto in E major (Hahn)
Piano Quartet No 3 in G major (Hahn)
Piano Quintet in F sharp minor (Hahn)
Pour que ton rire claire, jeune, tendre et léger  First line to Les fontaines (Hahn)
Puisque j'ai mis ma lèvre (Hahn)
Puisqu'ici-bas toute âme  First line to Rêverie (Hahn)
Quand je chemine, le soir  First line to Séraphine (Hahn)
Quand je fus pris au pavillon  No 8 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Quand la nuit n'est pas étoilée (Hahn)
Rêverie (Hahn)
Romance in A major (Hahn)
Salinum  No 3 of Études latines (Hahn)
Séraphine (Hahn)
Seule (Hahn)
Si mes vers avaient des ailes (Hahn)
Si tes pas t'ont conduit vers l'heureuse vallée  First line to La nymphe de la source (Hahn)
S'il est vrai, Chloris, que tu m'aimes  First line to À Chloris (Hahn)
Sois le bienvenue, rouge automne  First line to L'automne, No 10 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Soliloque et Forlane (Hahn)
Sonata for violin and piano in C major (Hahn)
Sopra l'acqua indormenzada  No 1 of Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
Sur l'eau (Hahn)
Sur ton sein pâle mon cœur dort  First line to Nocturne (Hahn)
Te voilà, rire du printemps!  First line to Le printemps, No 3 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Thaliarque  No 4 of Études latines (Hahn)
Ton âme est un lac d'amour  First line to Les cygnes (Hahn)
Tous deux  No 2 of Chansons grises (Hahn)
Tout est ravi quand vient le Jour  First line to Le jour, No 1 of Douze Rondels (Hahn)
Trois jours de vendange (Hahn)
Tu crois au marc de café  First line to L'Incrédule (Hahn)
Tu m'as donné un coussin de soie  First line to Le plus beau présent (Hahn)
Tyndaris  No 7 of Études latines (Hahn)
Une revue (Hahn)
Venezia 'Chansons en dialecte vénitien' (Hahn)
Viens tout près et chante  First line to Au rossignol (Hahn)
Viens! C'est le jour d'un Dieu  First line to Lydé, No 5 of Études latines (Hahn)
Vile potabis  No 6 of Études latines (Hahn)
Voici des fruits, des fleurs  First line to Offrande (Hahn)
Voici l'orme qui balance  First line to Infidélité (Hahn)
Y a des arbres, des maisons  First line to C'est sa banlieu, Act 2 of Ciboulette (Hahn)
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