6 November 2017 | Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 100 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G2 3DB
The Dutch-born American Richard Hageman (1881-1966) conducted at the Metropolitan Opera from 1908-1922; his opera Caponsacchi (1931) was the first American opera to be performed on German soil; he won an Oscar in 1939 for his part in the score of John Ford’s classic Stagecoach; he is remembered among the professional singers community as the composer of the American art song classic Do Not Go, My Love with a text by Rabindranath Tagore.
However, Hageman’s legacy within the American musical and cinematographic history has been overlooked generally except for some publications by Kathryn Kalinak focusing on Hageman’s film scores for various John Ford films, and sporadic mentions of his songs for solo voice and piano in sources dedicated to this genre. Richard Hageman’s importance in the developing cultural fabric of the first half of the twentieth century cannot, and should not be underestimated.
In his doctoral research, ‘The Songs of Richard Hageman: A Quest for Artistic Identity Through Performance,’ Nico de Villiers not only explores Richard Hageman within the context of the developing American culture during the first half of the twentieth century, but also navigates a place for Hageman’s songs within the American art song canon. This research not only addresses aspects of socio-cultural interaction, but also creates a starting point from which these songs can be discovered within the context of the conservatoire and university music departments in order to eventually take this new and relatively unexplored material further into the general repertoire. The current lecture recital will briefly introduce Hageman as musician. Subsequently discussions and performances (by Rosanna Cooper, mezzo-soprano and Nico de Villiers, piano) of Hageman’s last songs, which are settings of poems by the American writer Robert Nathan (1894-1985).