Swan Hennessy (24 November 1866 – 26 October 1929) was an Irish-American composer and pianist who lived much of his life in Paris. Swan Hennessy wrote in an Impressionist style, often tending towards a late-romantic idiom. Many of his pieces with titles ending on terms like "celtique" or "irlandais" are inspired by Irish and Breton traditional folk melody. Although he did not live in Brittany, he was a member of the Paris-based "Association des Compositeurs Bretons", with which he organised concerts. In a French obituary, he was called "le barde de l'Irlande" and is credited as having saved 'l'ancienne mélodie celtique'. He also incorporated humorous elements into his music: 'Il fut un humoriste d'une verve drue dont la drôlerie était faite à la fois d'observation et d'invention, de fantaisie et de psychologie.' ('He was a humourist of great verve whose humour derived from observation and invention, fantasy and psychology').
Hennessy wrote extensively for the piano, and also for many chamber music instrumentations, and a number of songs. As yet, no orchestral scores by Hennessy have been identified, but these may explain the missing opus numbers in his work-list, from which, so far, only small-scale published scores are known. According to E.N. Waters (1955), the Irish-American composer and conductor Victor Herbert conducted works on 23 March 1913 at the Carnegie Hall, New York: 'Herbert conducted music by William V. Wallace, Charles V. Stanford, Swan Hennessy, and himself.'
From the time Hennessy lived in Paris, his music was largely published by E. Demets and from 1921 by Éditions Max Eschig (who had taken over Demets). (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)
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