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date: 14 October 2019

Hale, Philiplocked

  • Wayne D. Shirley


(b Norwich, VT, March 5, 1854; d Boston, MA, Nov 30, 1934). American music critic. After graduating from Yale (1876) he studied in Europe with Carl Haupt, Bargiel, Rheinberger and Guilmant (1882–7) and settled in Boston in 1889. He was music critic for the Boston Post (1890–91) and Boston Journal (1891–1903), Boston correspondent for the Musical Courier (1892–8), music and drama critic for the Boston Herald (1903–33) and editor of the Musical Record (1897–1901), the Musical World (1901–2) and the two-volume collection Modern French Songs (Boston and New York, 1904).

Hale is best known for his programme notes for the Boston SO; written between 1901 and 1934, these are scholarly, witty and ample, and became the model for American programme annotators. His insistence on evaluating each work as it appeared to him, and the quotableness of his negative opinions (he once said of Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto that ‘the finale, with the endless repetitions of a Kangaroo theme, leads one to long for the end’) have caused him to be represented as a crabbed reactionary, cringing at Brahms. In reality he was a fair-minded and forward-looking critic, one of the first American champions of Debussy and an often shrewd evaluator of later music. Selections from Hale's criticism and programme notes were published as ...

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