HENRY KIMBALL HADLEY


Henry Hadley was one of the most performed and published American composers of his day. He considered himself first and foremost an orchestral composer, to which his many overtures, symphonic poems, orchestral suites, and symphonies attest. He also wrote brief concertos for both cello (his Konzertstuck) and piano (his Concertino, Op. 131).

Yet he also wrote a large number of stage works, including several operettas and musicals, along with his five operas. Though his operas Azora and Cleopatra's Night received the most attention, his comedy Bianca, which won a prize offered by the American Society of Singers for the best chamber opera in English, perhaps due to its modest demands, received a number of performances during Hadley's lifetime and a few afterawards, even appearing in Japan in the early 1950s.

During his years in San Francisco, Hadley made friends among the city's elite, which led him to become a member of the exclusive Bohemian Club, for which he wrote three "music dramas", designed to be given a single performance outdoors at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California. These works were very similar to operas, but also contained some spoken dialogue. Hadley later adapted music from these works to be performed as orchestral suites.

Hadley also wrote a large number of cantatas and oratorios, some of them, such as Resurgam, conceived on a very large scale. Among his more modestly scaled works are a large number of art songs, some of which he orchestrated. He also wrote a number of chamber works.

Hadley was also a pioneer in film music. He was invited by Warner Bros. to conduct The New York Philharmonic for the soundtrack music for its 1926 film, Don Juan with John Barrymore; this was the first feature film with synchronized music and sound effects. He was also filmed with the New York Philharmonic conducting the overture to Wagner's opera Tannhäuser. He wrote a complete original score for the 1927 Barrymore film When a Man Loves.

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. But recently his music has been largely neglected, although a few recordings of his music have been issued.

[Article taken from Wikipedia]


Another underrated American composer that's sadly neglected.