Howard Hanson

  • Howard Hanson was born in the very heartland of the United States, Wahoo, Nebraska, on October 28th, 1896. His parents emigrated from Sweden to America when they were young and his Scandinavian roots played a very important role in Hanson’s aesthetic and spiritual make-up. Taught music first by his mother, he determined on a career in music and began his formal musical education at Luther College in his hometown. He continued his studies at the Institute of Musical Art under Percy Goetschius and at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, under P. C. Lutkin and Arne Oldberg where he also served as an instructor in 1915-16. After graduation he taught theory and composition at the College of the Pacific in San Jose, California where he became Dean of the Conservatory of Fine Arts in 1919. His first major success as a composer came in 1921 when he was awarded the first American Prix de Rome in Music from his California Forest Play of 1920 for solo voices, chorus, dancers, and orchestra.

    In a far reaching move that was to have a decisive effect on music education in the United States, George Eastman chose the young Hanson to be director of the recently founded Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, in 1924. Hanson was to head the school for 40 years until his retirement in 1964, making Eastman one of the most influential music conservatories in the world, by broadening its curriculum and raising the standards of its orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonic, to a near professional level. In 1925, he began a series of orchestral concerts that was to serve as a major showcase for the music of American composers, especially those associated with the Eastman School of Music. Called the “American Music Festivals,” these concerts introduced the music of many composers who have become well-known, including Ronald Lo Presti, Bernard Rogers, Peter Mennin, Gardner Read, David Diamond, Kent Kennan and John La Montaine. During his years at Eastman, Hanson continued to compose and conduct throughout the world, and his programs invariably included the music of American composers. Landmarks of his career as a composer include the Symphony No. 1 (Nordic), which he first performed in Rome on May 20, 1923; Symphony No. 2 (Romantic), commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered by them under Serge Koussevitzky on November 28, 1930; the three-act opera, Merry Mount, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and first presented there on February 10, 1934; and Symphony No. 4 (Requiem), which Hanson conducted with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on December 3, 1943, and which won the 1944 Pulitzer Prize.

    As a composer of choral music, Hanson enriched that repertoire with several of the most popular works for chorus and orchestra by an American composer, including Lament for Beowulf (1926), 3 songs from “Drum Taps” (poetry by Walt Whitman) (1935), The Cherubic Hymn and Song of Democracy (Walt Whitman) (1957).

    In 1935, Hanson was elected to membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1938, he became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden. At various times, his concern for the musical education of the young led him to become involved with important national organizations, among them the National Association of Schools of Music, the Music Teachers National Association (both of which he served as President) and the Music Educator National Conference. He was also a founder and President for many years of the National Music Council.

    Hanson’s music, avowedly neo-romantic, shows the influence of his Scandinavian background – he cited Grieg and Sibelius as the inspiration for his lyrical and harmonic style. His studies in Rome with Respighi undoubtedly enhanced the effectiveness and brilliance of his instrumental writing. Never an extremist, Hanson’s harmonic palette is often enriched with bitonal and modal writing, and his music shows a marked fondness for asymmetrical rhythms of great vitality. Always fascinated by Gregorian Chant, he frequently uses that style as a source for his melodic shapes and often quotes chorales, or re-imagines the choral style in his music as well. His music, inflected with colorful orchestration and possessed of a wide emotional range from the somber and pungent writing found in the symphonies to the gaiety and vivacity of the delightful Serenade for flute, harp and strings, is a characteristically American style that proved deeply influential on the music of several generations of American composers.

    Hanson’s influence as a composer, conductor, educator and administrator is a considerable and abiding testament to his greatness and his importance to every area of American musical life.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
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    Orchestra
    20546 Before the Dawn 20546 4:00 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Str.
    20547 Bold Island Suite 20547 28:00 4(Picc.) 3 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(or Cel.) Hp. Str.
    20548 Bold Island Suite: Summer Seascape No. 1, Op. 46 20548 13:00 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Hp. Str.
    20555 Dies Natalis
    (Introduction, Chorale, Variations and Finale)
    20555 12:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    ET21 Elegy ET21 Orchestra
    20556 Elegy in Memory of Serge Koussevitsky 20556 14:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    20557 Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth 20557 12:00 Solo Pno.; Str.
    20558 For the First Time 20558 16:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 2 0 0 0; Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    20559 The Forest Play
    Prelude and Ballet
    20559 1 1 2 1 – 2 0 0 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    20563 Lux Aeterna 20563 15:00 Solo Vln.; 3(Picc.) 2 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. 2Hp. str.
    SC81 Mosaics SC81 Orchestra
    20565 Mosaics 20565 13:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Cel. Hp. Str.
    20568 Nymph and Satyr 20568 12:00 Solo clarinet and bassoon; 0 0 1 0 – 2 2 0 0; Hp. Str..
    SC38 Pan and The Priest SC38 11:00 Orchestra
    20569 Pan and the Priest: Symphonic Poem 20569 11:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    20570 Pastorale 20570 6:00 Solo Ob.; Hp. Str.
    AS62 Rhythmic Variations On Two Ancient Hymns AS62 String Orchestra
    20573 Rhythmic Variations on Two Ancient Hymns 20573 5:00 String Orchestra
    20574 A Sea Symphony (Symphony No. 7) 20574 17:00 SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    ETO6 Symphony #1 Complete ETO6
    20585 Symphony No. 1 in E minor (Nordic) 20585 28:00 3(Picc.) 2 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    20586 Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 21, 2nd movement (Andante teneramente con semplicita) 20586 6:00 3(Picc.) 2 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Hp. Str.
    SC42 Symphony No.2 SC42 28:00 Orchestra
    20587 Symphony No. 2 (Romantic) 20587 27:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    20590 Symphony No. 3 20590 35:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Str.
    20591 Symphony No. 3, Op. 33, 2nd movement (Andante tranquillo) 20591 8:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Str.
    20592 Symphony No. 4 (Requiem) 20592 22:00 3(Picc.) 2 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    ERA1014 Symphony No. 5
    Sinfonia Sacra
    ERA1014 Symphony Orchestra
    20593 Symphony No. 5 (Sinfonia Sacra) 20593 13:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    SC34 Symphony No. 6 SC34 Orchestra
    20594 Symphony No. 6 20594 20:00 picc./2/2/eng.hn./2/cbn. – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    SC70 Symphony No. 7 (Sea Symphony)
    for Chorus and Orchestra
    SC70 Chorus, Orchestra
    SC71 Symphony No. 7 (Sea Symphony)
    for Chorus and Band
    SC71
    Band
    20549 Centennial March 20549 6:00 picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., cl.(4), a.cl., b.cl., bsn.(2)., cbsn., a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tpt.(3), tbn.(4), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.(3)
    J517 Chorale and Alleluia J517 5:00 Concert Band
    20551 Chorale and Fanfare from “Laude” 20551 6:00 picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., cl.(3), bsn.(2), cbsn.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), tba.; timp., perc.
    23538 Dies Natalis
    for Band
    23538 15:00 Picc., 2Fl., 2Ob., E.H., Eb Cl., 4Cl., A.Cl., B.Cl., 2Bsn., Cbsn., 2A.Sax., T.Sax., Bar.Sax. – 3Cnt., 3Tpt., 4Hn., 3Tbn., Bar., B.Bar., Tu.; Timp. Perc.
    ET35 Interlochen Theme ET35 1:30 Concert Band
    J687 Laude
    Chorale, Variations and Metamorphosis
    J687 Concert Band
    115-27023 March Carillon 115-27023 Concert Band
    20564 Merry Mount Suite
    for Band
    20564 8:00 picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b.cl., cb.cl., bsn.(2), a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tpt.(2), tbn.(4), bar.hn., tba.; cb., timp., perc., hp.
    ETB2 Symphony No. 2 “Romantique” ETB2 Concert Band
    20588 Symphony No. 2. Excerpt (Interlochen Theme) 20588 1:00 fl.(2), ob.(2), cl.(4), a.cl., b.cl., bsn.(2), a.sax.(2), t.sax.(2), b.sax.; hn., bar.hn., tba.; cb., timp., hp.
    20589 Symphony No. 2. Excerpt (Romantic Theme) 20589 6:00 picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b.cl., bsn.(2), a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; timp., hp.
    ETB9 Third Movement From Symphony No. 2, “Romantic” ETB9 Concert Band
    O5149 Young Person’s Guide To The Six-Tone Scale O5149 25:00 Concert Band
    20596 Young Person’s Guide to the Six-Tone Scale 20596 27:00 Solo piano; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., cl.(2), b.cl., bsn.(2), cbsn.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), t.; timp., perc.
    Orchestra with Soloist(s)
    CY387 Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings CY387
    O3413 Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings O3413 Organ, Piano
    20552 Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings 20552 15:00 Solo organ, harp; str.
    ET2 Concerto for Piano ET2 Piano with Orchestra
    20553 Concerto in G major for Piano and Orchestra 20553 20:00 Solo Pno.; 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    20554 Concerto in G major for Piano and Orchestra
    Version for Band
    20554 20:00 Solo piano; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), Eb cl., cl.(3), b.cl., cb.cl., bsn.(2), a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; cb., timp., perc.(3)
    20584 Summer Seascape, No. 2 20584 9:00 Solo viola; string quartet or string orchestra
    Choral / Vocal
    20550 Cherubic Hymn 20550 12:00 SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 2 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    O3659 The Cherubic Hymn O3659 Mixed Chorus
    CM6806 How Excellent Thy Name CM6806 4:00 SATB, Organ
    CM6706 How Excellent Thy Name CM6706 4:00 SSAA
    20560 How Excellent Thy Name 20560 4 SATB chorus; 3(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    O4879 Lament for Beowulf O4879 SATB
    20561 The Lament for Beowulf 20561 19:00 SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. 2Hp. Str.
    20562 Lumen in Christo (with Variations on Themes by Haydn and Handel) 20562 21:00 SSAA chorus; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    20566 The Mystic Trumpeter 20566 16:00 Narrator; SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    20567 New Land, New Covenant 20567 70:00 Solo soprano, bass voices; narrator; SATB chorus; children’s chorus (opt.); 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    CM7699 The One Hundred Fiftieth Psalm CM7699 SATB
    20571 Psalm 121 20571 4:00 Solo voice; SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Str.
    20572 Psalm 150 20572 5:00 SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    O5027 A Sea Symphony O5027 SATB
    20575 A Sea Symphony (Symphony No. 7) 20575 17:00 SATB chorus; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b.cl., bsn.(2), cbsn. a.sax., t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.(2), pno., hp.
    O4028 Song Of Democracy O4028 12:00 SATB
    O4262 Song Of Democracy O4262 TTBB, Piano
    20580 Song of Democracy 20580 12:00 SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    20579 Song of Democracy 20579 12:00 TTBB chorus; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b.cl., bsn.(2), a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tpt.(2), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.(3)
    20578 Song of Democracy 20578 12:00 SATB chorus; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b.cl., bsn.(2), cbsn., a.sax., t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.(3)
    20581 Song of Democracy
    For Mixed Chorus and Band
    20581 12:00 3(Picc.) 2 3(E.H.) 7(E.Cl. A.Cl. B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) 3A.Sax. 3T.Sax. 3B.Sax. – 4 3 3 BaritoneTC BaritoneBC 1; StrBass. Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp.
    20582 Song of Human Rights 20582 12:00 SATB chorus; 1(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    20583 Streams in the Desert 20583 12:00 SATB chorus; picc./2/2/2/cbn. – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    20595 Two Psalms (Nos. 121 and 150) 20595 9:00 Solo medium voice; SATB chorus; 1(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Str.
    Solo
    ATF101 Beginning Piano Solos
    132 Original Masterpieces
    ATF101 Piano
    P2387 Clog Dance P2387 Piano
    PL1008 Early Piano Music PL1008 Piano
    O4361 Masters Of Our Day, Volume I O4361 Piano
    O4934 Music Pathways – Repertoire – Level 5A O4934 Piano
    P3322 Sonata In A Minor, Op. 11 (1918)
    For Piano
    P3322 17:30 Piano
    Chamber Music
    FH0346 Clog Dance FH0346 :1:30 Flute Ensemble
    W2591 Fantasy for Clarinet and Piano W2591 Clarinet, Piano
    CY413 Four Psalms,Op. 50 CY413
    O4608 Four Psalms Opus 50 -Baritone /Pia O4608 Baritone, Piano, Organ
    W1923 Serenade W1923 Flute solo, Piano
    20577 Serenade for Flute, Harp, and Strings 20577 6:00 Solo flute; Hp. Str.
    20576 Serenade for Flute, Harp and Strings
    (Wind Setting)
    20576 6:00 Solo flute, harp; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), eng.hn., cl.(4), b.cl., cb.cl., bsn.(2), cbsn.; hn.(2), tpt.(2); glsp., vib., cel.
    ATF146 Solos for Oboe ATF146 Oboe, Piano

  • SERENADE FOR FLUTE, HARP, AND STRINGS
    …[a] lavishly melodic solo line set against a constantly colorful orchestral accompaniment.
    –Wayne Lee Gay, Theater Jones

  • Before the Dawn
    for Orchestra
    Concerto for Organ, Strings and Harp
    Concerto in G Major for Piano and Orchestra
    Dies Natalis
    for Band
    Dies Natalis
    for Orchestra
    Elegy
    for Orchestra
    How Excellent Thy Name
    Arranged for Chorus and Orchestra
    Mosaics
    for Orchestra
    Rhythmic Variations on Two Ancient Hymns
    for String Orchestra
    Serenade
    Arrangement for Flute and Wind Ensemble
    Serenade
    for Solo Flute, Harp, and String Orchestra
    Song of Democracy
    for SATB Chorus and Orchestra