Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Reynaldo Hahn ( 1874 –1947) was a Venezuelan, naturalised French, composer, conductor, music critic, diarist, theatre director, and salon singer. Best known as a composer of songs, he wrote in the French classical tradition of the mélodie.
Born in Caracas, Hahn became a French citizen in 1909. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, he volunteered for service in the French Army. He was older than the official conscription age but was accepted and served, first as a private, finally reaching the rank of corporal. While at the front he composed a song cycle based on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Forced to leave Paris in 1940 during the Nazi occupation, he returned at the end of the war in 1945 to fulfill his appointment as director of the Paris Opera. He died in 1947 of a brain tumor, without executing the reforms for which his supporters had hoped.