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Othello Over­ture and Other Works

(Dut­ton Epoch) Santa Feans stoked up on Shake­speare may want to make the ac­quain­tance of Henry Kim­ball Hadley (1871-1937), a for­merly no­table ci­ti­zen of the Amer­i­can clas­si­cal mu­sic world. Raised in the proper mu­si­cal cir­cles of late-Vic­to­rian Bos­ton, he pol­ished his skill in Vi­enna and Mu­nich. In the lat­ter, he met Richard Strauss and wrote his large-scale tone poem Salome (in­cluded on this disc) just as Strauss was com­plet­ing his anal­o­gous opera. Amer­i­can con­duc­tor Re­becca Miller leads the BBC Con­cert Or­ches­tra in a per­fumed ren­di­tion of this ex­am­ple of sin­u­ous

fin-de-siè­cle style, but it does go on a bit. At 15 min­utes, his Othello Over­ture is more com­pactly ar­gued. Re­view­ing its 1919 pre­miere,

Mu­si­cal Amer­ica stated, “This is a sound mu­si­cianly score, with ob­vi­ous mo­tives por­tray­ing Des­de­mona, Iago and the tit­u­lar fig­ure in the play, con­ceived in a spirit of tragic sin­cer­ity.” En­joy­able in its own right, the piece will be an es­pe­cially wel­come dis­cov­ery for ad­mir­ers of the Bard. The most fun piece on this in­trigu­ing re­lease is Hadley’s San Fran­cisco, a three-move­ment suite that por­trays “The Har­bour” (an Im­pres­sion­is­tic ren­der­ing of early-morn­ing sounds), the “Chi­nese Quar­ter” (“ori­en­tal­ist,” of course), and “Mardi Gras,” which San Fran­cisco ap­par­ently cel­e­brated en­thu­si­as­ti­cally back in Hadley’s day — and he would have known, since he was the found­ing con­duc­tor of the San Fran­cisco Sym­phony. — James M. Keller

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