Date of Degree
Music Pedagogy | Music Performance | Music Practice
French music, mélodie, Reynaldo Hahn, performance practice
Composer, conductor, singer, and critic Reynaldo Hahn (1874–1947) was a highly influential figure in Paris’s artistic circles during the first half of the twentieth century. Today he is primarily remembered as a composer of art song. However, during his lifetime he was also admired as a sophisticated composer of operetta and chamber music, and his keen intellect and attention to detail also made him a discerning music critic and arbiter of taste. In 1913, he was invited to present a series of five lectures on the art of singing to the “Université des Annales.” This organization produced presentations by prominent figures on cultural topics and subsequently disseminated these lectures in its own publication, the Journal de l’Université des Annales.
This dissertation analyzes these five lectures and related recordings of several of Hahn’s songs. Each chapter explores one of his lectures in depth and seeks to put Hahn’s remarks in their context and to elucidate any references to treatises, performances, or musical figures that Hahn mentions. After analyzing each lecture, I apply Hahn’s remarks to performances of his songs in both historical and modern recordings by prominent performers. Specifically, I examine aspects of performance practice such as use of rubato, tempo, diction, and dynamic and color contrasts. I compare Hahn’s lectures with historical and modern recordings in order to determine the extent to which the performance practice of his songs—both in his own time and in ours—falls in line with his stated theories on the art of singing. The songs examined are: “Cimetière de campagne,” “Offrande,” L’Heure exquise,” “Tyndaris,” “La barcheta,” “Che pecà!,” and “L’Énamourée.”
Hubbell, Mary P., "Early Twentieth Century Vocal Performance Practice and the French School: An Exploration of the Lectures and Selected Songs by Reynaldo Hahn" (2019). CUNY Academic Works.