Louis Hall (1814−1857)

Pianist and composer Louis Hall was born as Carl Ludvig Hallencreutz in Stockholm on 23 December 1814 and died in Paris in 1857. He lived all of his adult life in France, where for a period he is said to have been a student of and assistant to Franz Liszt. Hall wrote primarily piano pieces, in addition to chamber music and songs. His list of works includes over 80 compositions.

Youth

Louis Hall, original name Carl Ludvig Hallencreutz, was born in Stockholm on 23 December 1814 as the son of the nobleman Colonel Claes Hallencreutz and Lovisa Katarina (née Hultgren). At the age of 10, or somewhat later, he was sent to his uncle in Lyon, Lars Gustaf, to become a merchant. However, instead he came to devote himself to music and resided in France for the rest of his life. After his uncle’s death, Carl Ludvig moved to Paris and took on the name Louis Hall.

Studies with Liszt

Together with Ingeborg von Bronsart, Sara Magnus-Heinze and Hilda Thegerström, Louis Hall was a member of a group of pianists of Swedish origin who studied with Franz Liszt. Liszt counted von Bronsart and Magnus-Heinze among his favourite pupils (‘Hauptschüler’), but Hall was also close to his mentor. Alongside his studies, Hall purportedly served as Liszt’s assistant and taught his students when the maestro was away on trips. The time period for their collaboration is uncertain, but a reference is found in a letter Liszt and Marie d’Agoult  wrote to Liszt’s mother in December of 1837 which announces that Hall will give the mother 6,000 francs for the payment of bills. The date is evidence of Hall’s relation to Liszt during the latter’s active career as a touring pianist. Later, Hall worked on his own as a piano teacher in Paris.

A visit to Stockholm

In the autumn of 1843 the 28-year-old Louis Hall visited his native Stockholm. He was elected to be an associate member of the Kungliga Musikaliska akademien (the Royal Swedish Academy of Music) on 23 September, and on 3 October he gave a concert at Riddarhuset (the House of Nobility). His piano concerts frequently featured his own music and so did this performance: he played a nocturne, a waltz, a mazurka and an arrangement of the romance from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Beatrice di Tenda. In addition, he played a mazurka by Frédéric Chopin, Liszt’s Reminiscences di Lucia di Lammermoor and the piano part of Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s septet. In the Stockholms musiktidning magazine the author ‘−a−’ (most likely Johan Peter Cronhamn) dismisses the piano pieces performed by Hall as ‘trifles’ and writes that Hall’s brilliant Fantasy op. 13 would have made a better choice for the concert stage than ‘small mazurkas and waltzes, which really belong in a salon’ (13 October 1843).

In contrast to the music critic’s point-of-view, Hall’s choice of programme reflected a new aesthetic in which the small-scale, intimate forms of the romantic piano culture were given a prominent place on the public concert stage. Judging by his repertoire, Hall sought to present himself as a lyrical pianist rather than as a brilliant virtuoso. This impression is in accordance with Henri Blanchard’s description as quoted in the Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris: ‘Although he is a pupil of Liszt, this young Swedish pianist has a performance style which distinguishes itself not through fire and vitality but by clarity and elegant phrasing; and he sings well on the instrument, a quality that is not characteristic of many pianists’ (15 February 1846).

Compositions

Early works by Louis Hall began to appear in print around 1840. From then on until the composer’s death more than 80 of his compositions were published, including at least 60 for piano, by French and Swedish publishers. In concordance with popular taste, many of these works are based on other music − mostly piano fantasies and variations on famous opera melodies − but Hall’s production also includes other kinds of piano pieces, chamber music and songs.

On April 24 1858 the newspaper Illustrerad tidning characterised Hall’s music as follows: ‘a large amount of printed works bear witness to, in regards to the pleasing melancholy melodies, his Nordic origins and, in regards to form, the close acquaintance he has had with the secrets of the newer school.’ At this time in Sweden, this ‘newer school’ was also called ‘den nyromantiska’ (‘the neo-romantic’) or ‘den mirakulösa’ (‘the miraculous’) school, and refers to the part of the pianistic tradition where Chopin, Liszt and Sigismund Thalberg were central figures. Hall’s brilliant fantasies place themselves both sonorously and pianistically in the vicinity of Liszt and Thalberg, even though they only in exceptional cases strive for a similar level of complexity, whereas his mazurkas op. 17 no. 2 and op. 18 no. 1 are clearly tied to Chopin’s musical style.

Hall’s Piano Sonata op. 30 can be described as melodically conceived music. The first movement is almost lied-like, and the forward motion of the music is largely built on the way the theme, when repeated, is varied in a Lisztian manner through a modified arrangement on the piano keyboard. The first movement of his Piano Trio op. 45 bears the mark of a fantasy. During the climax of the movement’s final stages, the two themes are overlaid and played simultaneously. The composer himself participated in several performances of his piano trios, and the compositions received appreciative reviews in the Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris (15 February and 3 May 1846; 23 January 1848) and Le Ménestrel (30 January 1848).

Early death

During the autumn of 1857 (some time before 15 November), Louis Hall died in Paris at only 42 years old. He left behind his children and wife Elise (née David). L’Harmonie (26 November 1857) mentions in an obituary that the composer’s young daughter had made a promising debut as a pianist the previous year.

Martin Edin © 2015
Trans. Thalia Thunander

Bibliography

Aftonbladet, 29 Sep. 1843.
Aftonbladet, 30 Sep. 1843.
Aftonbladet, 26 Apr. 1858.
L'album de Ste Cécile et les petites affiches musicales, annual vol. 2, no. 2, 20 Jan. 1846, p. 7.
L'album de Ste Cécile et les petites affiches musicales, annual vol. 2, no. 21, 30 Jul. 1846, p. 7.
L'album de Ste Cécile et les petites affiches musicales, annual vol. 2, no. 32, 10 e. 1846, p. 5.
Baralle, Alphonse: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 2, no. 13, 1 Jul. 1854, see p. 101.
Baralle, Alphonse: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 3, no. 12, 15 Jun. 1855, see p. 93.
Baralle, Alphonse: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 3, no. 17, 1 Sep. 1855, see p. 155.
Barbiée, Frédéric: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 2, no. 6, 15 Mar. 1854, p. 46.
Blanchard, Henri: ‘Concerts’, in: Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, Aftonbladet, 29 Sep. 1843.
Aftonbladet, 30 Sep. 1843.
Aftonbladet, 26 Apr. 1858.
L'album de Ste Cécile et les petites affiches musicales, annual vol. 2, no. 2, 20 Jan. 1846, p. 7.
L'album de Ste Cécile et les petites affiches musicales, annual vol. 2, no. 21, 30 Jul. 1846, p. 7.
L'album de Ste Cécile et les petites affiches musicales, annual vol. 2, no. 32, 10 Nov. 1846, p. 5.
Baralle, Alphonse: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 2, no. 13, 1 Jul. 1854, see p. 101.
Baralle, Alphonse: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 3, no. 12, 15 Jun. 1855, see p. 93.
Baralle, Alphonse: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 3, no. 17, 1 Sep. 1855, see p. 155.
Barbiée, Frédéric: ‘Nouveautés musicales’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 2, no. 6, 15 Mar. 1854, p. 46.
Blanchard, Henri: ‘Concerts’, in: Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, annual vol. 15, no. 4, 23 Jan. 1848, pp. 29−30.
Blanchard, Henri: ‘Coup d'œil musical sur les concerts de la saison’, Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, annual vol. 13, no. 7, 15 Feb. 1846, pp. 53−4.
‘Concert de L. Hall’, L'univers musical, annual vol. 2, no. 9, 1 May 1854, p. 69.
G. : ‘Publications musicales’, La France Musicale, annual vol. 20, no. 5, 3 Feb. 1856, p. 37.
La France Musicale, annual vol. 6, no. 38, 17 Sep. 1843, p. 307.
Journal des femmes, annual vol. 4, no. 38, Oct. 1843, p. 476.
L'harmonie: journal de l'époque, annual vol. 1, no. 2, 26 Nov. 1857, p. 7.
Hofberg, Herman: ‘Hall, Carl Ludvig’, in: Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon, ny uppl., vol. 1, Stockholm: Bonniers, 1906, p. 444.
‘Hall, Louis’, in: Samtiden: skildringar från verldstheatern, Stockholm, 1858, p. 264.
‘Hallencreutz, släkt’, in: Erik Grill (ed.), Svenskt biografiskt lexikon, vol. 18, Stockholm: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon 1969−71, p. 28.
Höijer, Johan Leonard: ‘Hall, Louis’, in: Musik-lexikon, Stockholm: Abr. Lundquist, 1864, p. 176.
Illustrerad tidning, 24 Apr. 1858.
Kungliga musikaliska akademien: Matrikel 1771−1995, prepared by Pia Nyström & Anne-Marie Elmquist, Stockholm: Musikaliska akademien, 1996, p. 220.
Kungl. Musikaliska akademiens protokoll, 23 Sep. 1843.
Kungl. Musikaliska akademiens protokoll, 27 Jun. 1845.
Kungl. Musikaliska akademiens protokoll, 30 Nov. 1857.
Lindgren, Adolf: ‘Hall, Karl Ludvig’, in: Th. Westrin (ed.), Nordisk familjebok, newly revised and richly illustrated edition, vol. 10, Stockholm: Nordisk familjeboks förlag, 1909, sp. 1099.
Liszt, Franz: Franz Liszts Briefe an seine Mutter, La Mara (ed.), Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1918, p. 41.
Le Ménestrel: Journal de musique, annual vol. 4, no. 56, 12 Nov. 1837, p. 4.
Le Ménestrel: Journal de musique, annual vol. 12, no. 2, 8 Dec. 1844, p. 3.
Le Ménestrel: Journal de musique, annual vol. 14, no. 48, 31 Oct. 1847, p. 3.
Le Ménestrel: Journal de musique, annual vol. 15, no. 7, 16 Jan. 1848, p. 2.
Le Ménestrel: Journal de musique, annual vol. 15, no. 9, 30 Jan. 1848, p. 2.
Norlind, Tobias: ‘Hall, Louis’, in: Allmänt musiklexikon, second rev. ed., vol. 1, Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1927, pp. 478−79.
‘Nouvelles diverses’, in: L'univers musical, annual vol. 3, no. 10, 15 May 1855, p. 78.
Post- och inrikes tidningar, 17 Aug. 1843.
Post- och inrikes tidningar, 4 Oct. 1843, p. 1.
Post- och inrikes tidningar, 21 Jul. 1845.
Rabes, Lennart: ‘Liszt's Scandinavian Reputation’, in: Michael Saffle (ed.), Liszt and his world: Proceedings of the International Liszt Conference held at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 20−23 May 1993, Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1988, pp. 217−246, see pp. 239−40.
Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, annual vol. 13, no. 18, 3 May 1846, p. 143.
Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, annual vol. 24, no. 46, 15 Nov. 1857, p. 374.
Stockholms musiktidning, vol. 1, no. 2, 13 Oct. 1843, p. 2−3.
Th. A.: ‘Maison Schonenberger’, in: L'opéra, revue du grand monde, annual vol. 2, no. 14, 2 Apr. 1843, p. 106.

Announcements and short notices
Bibliographie de la France ou journal général de l'imprimerie et de la librairie, et des cartes géographiques, gravures, lithographies et œuvres de musique, XXIXe année, Paris: Pillet ainé, 1840, p. 692.
Bibliographie de la France, 1842, pp. 243, 312.
Bibliographie de la France, 1843, p. 243.
Bibliographie de la France, 1844, p. 340.
Bibliographie de la France, 1846, p. 560.
Bibliographie de la France, 1847, pp. 72, 228.
Bibliographie de la France, 1853, p. 851.
Bibliographie de la France, 1855, pp. 615−16, 909, 914.
Bibliographie de la France, 1856, p. 84, 236.
Le Ménestrel, annual vol. 11, no. 15, 10 Mar. 1844, p. 4.
Le Ménestrel, annual vol. 11, no. 29, 16 Jun. 1844, p. 2.
Le Ménestrel, annual vol. 11, no. 32, 7 Jul. 1844, p. 2.
Le Ménestrel, annual vol. 12, no. 48, 26 Oct. 1845, p. 3.

Summary list of works

Chamber music (2 piano trios, 1 piano quartet movement, Prière for piano trio, Tarantelle, Sérénade), piano works (around 60 works, including a sonata, fantasies, mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, etudes, variations), songs.

Collected works

Chamber Music
Piano trio op. 45, published 1847. Andante; Scherzo: Allegro moderato; Introduzione: Andante; Rondo: Allegretto moderato.
Piano trio no. 2, performed 20 Jan. 1848.
Piano quartet, one movement: Allegro, for piano, violin, viola and cello, performed 20 Jan. 1848.
Tarentelle: Allegro vivo op. 60, [violin + other instruments].
Sérénade: Andantino op. 61, [violin + other instruments].
Prière, Andante, for piano trio, op. 84.

Piano
Polonaise, published 1840.
Romance de Beatrice di Tenda de Bellini arrangée pour piano seul op. 5, published 1842.
Souvenir de Stockholm, Grande valse di bravura op. 7, published ca 1842.
Soirée Parisienne, Nocturne op. 8, published ca 1842.
Fantaisie brillante sur l'opéra Beatrice di Tenda de Bellini op. 10, published ca 1843.
Morceau de salon pour le piano sur Les diamants de la couronne, opera de D. F. E. Auber, Dédié à monsieur Henri Herz op. 11, published ca 1843.
Fantaisie brillante sur l'opéra Le Roi d'Yvetot d'Ad. Adam op. 12, published ca 1843.
Réminiscences de Linda di Chamounix de G. Donizetti, Fantaisie brillante op. 13, published 1843.
Nocturne no. 2 op. 14, published ca 1843.
Fantaisie brillante sur La part du diable de D. F. E. Auber op. 15, published ca 1843.
Grande fantaisie brillante sur Une aventure de Scaramouche, opéra de Ricci op. 16, published 1843.
Valse et mazourka, dédiées à Mme la comtesse d'Agoult op. 17, published in the early 1840s. 1. Valse, 2. Mazurka.
Toi et moi, mélodie de F. Masini transcrite pour piano, published 1842.
2 Mazurka op. 18, dediées à monsieur E. Drake, published 1843.
Fantaisie sur la Sonnambula de Bellini op. 21 (likely identical to Variations brillantes sur la Sonnambula), published 1844.
Appassionnato, caprice et nocturne, trois études de caractère op. 25, published 1844.
Grande fantaisie de la Sirène op. 27, published 1844.
Fantaisie brillante sur l'air favori du Déserteur: Je ne déserterai jamais, published at the latest in 1844.
Fantaisie brillante sur La petite bergère, published 1844.
Fantaisie brillante sur Appélle-moi ta mère, published 1844.
Trois nouvelles polkas de salon, published 1844.
Grande sonate op. 30, à Monsieur J. Zimmerman, published 1845.
Lélia, Valse brillante op. 31, published ca 1844.
Fantaisie sur la Barcarolle op. 34, published 1845.
Variations brillantes sur I puritani, published 1845.
Les italiennes, 2 fantaisies de salon, published 1845-46. 1. Corrado et Parisina, 2. Anna Bolena.
Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l'opéra Le caquet du couvent, published 1846.
[Fantasi? över] L'âme en peine [opera av Flotow], published at the latest in 1846.
Fantaisie sur le Comte Ory op. 38, published at the latest in 1846.
Six mélodies op. 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 (sannolikt identiska med Six mélodies progressives), published 1847.
Mazurka de Gille ravisseur, opéra d' Albert Grisar, published 1849.
Santa simplicitas, mélodie, étude pour piano op. 68, published 1853.
Boléro de concert op. 69, published 1853.
Le retour à Paris [grande valse de concert], published 1854.
Les bords de Tarn, valse brillante, performed 1854.
Tous les deux op. 73, published at the latest in 1855.
Fantaisie pour le piano sur des motifs de La promise, opéra de L. Clapisson op. 74, published 1854.
Mélodie illyrienne, chant d'Adieu varié op. 75, published at the latest in 1855.
God Save The Queen, air national anglais pour piano op. 76, published 1855.
Doux souvenir, romance sans paroles op. 77, published 1856.
Souvenir du jeune âge, romance du Pré aux Clercs d'Hérold, pour le piano op. 78, published 1856.
La Madrilène et la marche royale d'Espagne op. 79, published 1856.
Léona, valse sentimentale op. 80, published 1856.
Harmonie céleste op. 81.

Songs
Rassure toi, published 1837.
Sais tu pourquoi? (L. de Ronchaud), published 1843.
Un ange de plus au ciel, mélodie pour soprano ou ténor (A. Jarry), published 1845.


Works by Louis Hall

There are no works by the composer registered