Charles Hallé: A Musical Life
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Charles Hallé was one of the leading musicians of the nineteenth century and intimate with almost all of the great composers and performers of his time, as well as a friend of the Royal Family and known as much as a pianist and chamber musician as a conductor, in London, throughout the country and abroad, in addition to Manchester. Robert Beale presents a new perspective on Hallé's life and achievement, constructed mainly from primary sources, which serves to dispel many of the inaccuracies and omissions that have stemmed, to a great extent, from Hallé's own autobiographical account of 1896. His edited memoirs omit much of the competition and controversy, struggles and disappointments of his career in Manchester, and, indeed, hardly convey the scope of his activities elsewhere. Hallé was a key figure in the shift from contemporary to ’classical’ repertory in orchestral concerts and piano performance. Not only did he found the Manchester orchestra, in 1862-3 he also gave the first known cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas. His early annual ’recital’ series in London marked a new era in the musical history of his time. The formation of the modern 'symphony orchestra' took place during the period of Hallé's professional life, and he was a pioneer in the process, in both artistic and business terms. Having adopted the role of orchestral conductor when it was itself relatively novel, he became one of the acknowledged masters of the craft over four and half decades - as well as continuing to appear as solo pianist and chamber musician, and in addition he was enormously influential as musical pedagogue and educationist.
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword, Mark Elder; Preface; Introduction; The making of a musician; The new man in Manchester; Interlude: the Hallé-Loder opera season of 1854; An orchestra created; The uphill struggle; Interlude: Hallé's London opera season 1860-61; The tradition begins; Famine and feast; The golden years; The last decade; Hallé's business model and methods; Epilogue: an appreciation of Hallé as a person; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
Robert Beale is the music critic for the Manchester Evening News, UK.
’... (an) excellent biography ...a fascinating read that is anything but dull.’ The Delian ’Beale’s comprehensive and thoroughly researched biography sheds new light on Hallé and the musical life of nineteenth-century Manchester. With his painstaking research, he presents the most complete picture of Hallé and a richer understanding of his failures, his successes, and the problems he faced. Even more, this study fills a large gap in the growing research on the evolution of the modern orchestra and concert life in Great Britain and beyond.’ NABMSA Newsletter ’Beale’s contribution to our understanding of not just Hallé’s career but also the working conditions of his ’band’ is strong in its careful analysis of data. This is a useful book which adds to our understanding of Hallé’s dual-marketplace career and enduring legacy.’ Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland