Monday, October 26, 2009

Rodolfo Halffter (1900-1987)

Mexican composer of Prussian heritage. He became a Mexican citizen in 1939. He was a self taught musician acquiring his style from the Harmonielehre of Schoenberg and the work of Debussy. When beginning his work as a composer, he supported himself by working in a bank. At the end of the Spanish Civil War in Spain, he moved voluntarily to Mexico in 1939. He was welcomed by other musicians, such as Chavez and Galindo, and the Mexican government. For two years he taught at a music school in Mexico City and then became a professor at the National Conservatory in musical analysis. He subsequently taught there for thirty years. He also was an editor of a journal called Nuestra musica in 1946, and director of the Ediciones Mexicanas de Musica. It was also in 1946 that the first performances were given of his Violin Concerto and Dushkin was soloist. It was from this that his compositions gained international attention. His music is considered tonal, enhanced with bold and polytonal (composition in which several keys are used at once) variations. In 1953, Tres hojas de album done for piano used “twelve-note serialism”, and he was the first Mexican composer to use it.

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