Reynaldo Hahn (August 9, 1874 – January 28, 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. The fine craftsmanship, remarkable beauty, and originality of his works capture the insouciance of la belle époque.
Reynaldo Hahn was born in Caracas, Venezuela, the youngest of twelve children. Reynaldo's father Carlos was an affluent engineer, inventor, and businessman of German-Jewish extraction; his mother, Elena María de Echenagucia, was a Venezuelan of Spanish, (Basque) origin, and as most wealthy families descended from Spanish colonists in that country. The increasingly volatile political atmosphere in South America during the 1870s caused his father to retire and leave Venezuela.
Hahn's family moved to Paris when he was three years old. Although he showed interest in his native music of Caracas in his youth, France would 'determine and define Hahn's musical identity in later life'. The city and its cultural resources: the Paris Opéra, the Paris Opéra Ballet, the Opéra-Comique, in addition to the nexus of artists and writers, proved an ideal setting for the precocious Hahn.
A child prodigy, Reynaldo made his début at the salon of the eccentric Princess Mathilde (Napoleon's niece), accompanying himself on the piano as he sang arias by Jacques Offenbach. At the age of eight, Hahn composed his first songs.
Despite the Paris Conservatoire's tradition of antipathy towards child prodigies—Franz Liszt had famously been rebuffed by the school many years before—Hahn entered the school at the age of ten. His teachers included Jules Massenet, Charles Gounod, Camille Saint-Saëns and Émile Descombes. Alfred Cortot and Maurice Ravel were fellow students. ... Text source : Wikipedia (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)