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Hamilton Harty



Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty


Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty is not among the most famous composers, and maybe best known as a conductor. His works has been neglected and little performed for a too long time, and it's about time that he gets the recognition he deserves. He is, in my opinion, one of the most neglected composers in the later years. The list in the current issue of the Gramophone catalogue of Harty recordings is very short, and it's a shame that not more of his output has been recorded.

The British music society publication "British composer profiles" say this about Harty:

"Born at Hillsborough in County down (Ireland), Hamilton Harty came to England in 1900. He was taught music by his father and became a church organist at the age of twelve. In England, he gained a reputation as a piano accompanist, then as a conductor, in which latter capacity he was renowned as an interpreter of the music of Berlioz. In 1920 he was appointed conducted of the Halle orchestra and was knighted five years later. His wife was the singer, Agnes Nicholls. Harty composed symphonies, orchestral overtures, a violin concerto (first performed by Szigeti), piano concerto, a quintet, instrumental music for oboe, cello, violin, piano, harp etc, a cantata (the mystic trumpeter) and songs. His best known work is the tone poem With the wild geese, written for the Cardiff festival of 1910."

Personally, I discovered Harty's music by chance. Chandos Direct (Chandos' own mail order company) sold a 4LP box with his music for £10 if you bought four single LPs. So, I bought four LPs, and bought the 4LP box too, even though I never had heard of him. Today I am very glad that I bought this box. It contains some of the best music I have ever heard. Thank you Chandos for opening my eyes for this wonderful music!

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