Slacker Logo

Hallé Orchestra



One of the oldest of all of Britain's venerable orchestral ensembles, the Hallé Orchestra of Manchester was formed in 1857 by Charles Hallé, a German conductor and pianist. Hallé was hired to conduct a large orchestra in daily concerts for five months during an art exposition. Hallé found he could not bear to break up the fine orchestra thus created and, at his own financial risk, established the Hallé Concerts on January 30, 1858. The orchestra played 30 concerts a year, becoming known for high standards and a wide repertory, but eventually it became enmeshed in the great clash between pro-German and anti-German sentiments that marked the British musical scene at the end of the 19th century. After Hallé's death in 1895, three Manchester businessmen put up a financial guarantee to sustain the orchestra. They engaged Hans Richter as conductor, but also hired Frederic Cowen as interim conductor. When Richter finally arrived in October 1899, this aroused the anger of Cowen's supporters, who opposed Richter and his heavily Germanic programming. They remained unhappy when another German, Michael Balling, took over on Richter's departure in 1911. World War I left the orchestra without a permanent conductor until 1920, when British conductor Hamilton Harty was appointed. He is credited with revitalizing the orchestra's spirits, standards, and repertory, but resigned in 1933 in a dispute over his outside engagements. Malcolm Sargent was appointed conductor in 1939, but the outbreak of World War II prevented him from actually taking over. Meanwhile, in 1934 a deal had been struck to supply musicians for a new BBC Northern Orchestra, a studio ensemble. Soon the Hallé found it could not control its own schedule because the BBC had first call on these players, who were used extensively in wartime morale concerts. Matters got even worse when the Hallé's home, the Free Trade Hall, was destroyed by bombs. The orchestra's board severed the BBC contract and announced a 200-concert-per-year schedule. Only four of the players formerly shared with the BBC stayed with the Hallé. British conductor John Barbirolli, finding New York uncongenial, returned home as conductor. Somehow, despite wartime scarcity and his own long absence, Barbirolli found 30 fresh players and drilled the orchestra to its highest level yet. He remained at the helm for 25 years, semi-retiring as conductor laureate for life in 1968. His successor, James Loughran, maintained the ensemble's standards, but did not have the international star appeal of Barbirolli. Loughran was succeeded by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and, in 1991, by American conductor Kent Nagano. At the end of the 20th century, the Hallé had once again had competition from its old rival. In 1973 the BBCNO started playing public concerts, and in 1980 it was renamed the BBC Philharmonic and enlarged to full orchestra size. Both orchestras share quarters in Manchester's new Bridgewater Hall. In 1998, the accounting firm KPMG reported to the Hallé board that chaotic management, huge debts, and an operating loss of 600,000 pounds in the prior financial year threatened the immediate demise of the orchestra. But its four biggest sponsors and another 11 corporations, called the Hallé Family, came to the Hallé's financial rescue. Nagano improved the quality and international recognition of the orchestra, which received a Grammy award for its recording of John Adams' El Dorado. However, Nagano's contract was not renewed after its expiration in the summer of 2000. Mark Elder was selected as the next music director.
Read All Read Less

Top Tracks

  1.   Track
  2.   Spitfire Prelude & Fugue, for orchestra (from film score "The First of the Few")~Spitfire Prelude
  3.   Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21: III. Minuetto and Trio
  4.   Symphony No. 5, Op. 43: I. Andante
  5.   Symphony No 8 In D Minor: Cavatina Per Stromenti Ad Arco
  6.   Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93: II. Allegretto Scherzando
  7.   Suite for Strings: 5. Largo
  8.   Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21: II. Andante Cantabile con Moto
  9.   Die Walküre: Act I, Scene I, "Einen Unseligen labtest du" (Siegmund)
  10.   La Mer, trois esquisses symphoniques, L. 109: II Jeux de vagues
  11.   The Carnival Of The Animals: Introduction And Royal March Of The Lion / Hens And Cocks / Mules / Tortoises / The Elephant / Kangaroos / Aquarium / Personages With Long Ears / Cuckoo In The Woods / Birds / Pianists / Fossils / The Swan / Finale
  12.   Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93: I. Allegro Vivace e con Brio
  13.   Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21: IV. Adagio
  14.   Carol of the Bells
  15.   Andante Cantabile
  16.   Organ Concerto in B Flat Op. 7 No. 1 HWV 307: 2. Andate
  17.   Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: I. Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht by John Barbirolli
  18.   Suite for Strings: 2. Tempo di minuetto
  19.   Oboe Concerto No. 1 in B Flat HWV 301: 1. Adagio
  20.   Preludes arranged for Orchestra, Book I L. 117: No. 1 Danseuse de Delphes (Arr. Colin Matthews)
  21.   Symphony No. 4 In G Major, Op. 88: III. Allegretto Grazioso
  22.   Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71~Waltz of the Snowflakes
  23.   Die Walküre: Act III, Scene III, "Wer meines Speeres Spitze fürchtet" (Wotan)
  24.   Concerto For Strings In D Major: I. Vivace
  25.   Preludes arranged for Orchestra, Book II L. 123: No.12 Feux d'artifice (Arr. Colin Matthews)
See All Songs

Related Stations & Specials

Artists Related to
Hallé Orchestra

Howard Hanson


Charles Dutoit


Otto Klemperer