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Composers Datebook: Hanson, "Laude"

See below the post and audio link from Composer's Datebook for today featuring Howard Hanson's work for wind band, Laude.

Howard Hanson's Laude

On today's date in 1975, Laude, a new work for symphonic winds by American composer Howard Hanson received its premiere performance in Berkeley, California, by the California State University Long Beach Band conducted by Larry Curtis. The new work was a commission from the College Band Directors National Association.

The program notes supplied for the occasion by the 78-year-old composer were unusually eloquent and reflective:

"As one comes toward the end of a long life," wrote Hanson, "one realizes how many influences go back to early childhood. In my musical and religious life the greatest was, undoubtedly, the chorales which I heard as a young boy growing up in Wahoo, Nebraska . . . 'Laude' [is] based on a chorale of praise . . . I took my cue from the 150th Psalm: 'Praise Him with the sound of the Trumpet, With Psaltery and harp, With timbrel and dance, With string instruments and organs, Praise Him upon the loud cymbals, the high-sounding cymbals, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord' . . . when the chorale melody appears, working up a crescendo which becomes, I hope, a veritable avalanche of sound, with, literally, 'everything that has breath' praising the Lord."

An ardent champion of American classical music, Howard Hanson taught for some 40 years at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and once estimated that over 2000 works by more than 500 American composers were premiered during his tenure.

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