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Pauline Hall

1890 - 1969

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Pauline Margrete Hall (2 August 1890 – 24 January 1969) was a Norwegian composer and music critic. She was the founding chairwoman of Ny Musikk (1938–1961) and served as president of the International Society for Contemporary Music (1952–1953).

Hall was born at Hamar in Hedmark, Norway. She was the daughter of Isak Muus Hall and Magdalena Catharina Agersborg. Her father was a pharmacist who operated several pharmacies in Hamar, at Kabelvåg in Lofoten and in Tromsø.

From 1908 she studied piano with composer and pianist Johan Backer Lunde (1874–1958) in Kristiania (now Oslo). From 1910 to 1912 she studied the theory and composition of classical composers with music educator Catharinus Elling. She also had a study stay in Paris from 1912 to 1914.

Hall's debut as a composer came in 1917 with a full-length concert evening in Oslo featuring solely her works. Hall was initially known as a composer of romances, but today her orchestral works, and in particular 1929's Verlaine Suite, stand out as centerpieces of her compositional output. French impressionism and literature would prove to be key sources of inspiration for Hall, an influx that would not necessarily resonate well with the prevailing national romanticism sentiment of 1930s Norway. Throughout her compositional career, Hall would find it challenging to introduce new stylistic impulses to the Norwegian music scene.

In addition to her orchestral output, Hall also composed a number of choral works and music for stage productions. Theatre remained close to her heart, and Hall translated a number of major works into Norwegian including Igor Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale and Arthur Honegger’s Le Roi David. In 1930, she translated, staged and directed The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Hall also served as instructor and conductor for its Oslo premiere.

She wrote music for radio and started Pauline Hall's vocal quintet in 1932. From 1934 to 1964, she worked as music critic for the Oslo daily newspaper Dagbladet. Hall was known for criticism of dilettantism and superficial national composers and her promotion of modern music.

In 1938 she was the founding chairwoman of Ny Musikk, the Norwegian section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). She also served as president of ISCM International from 1952–53, and took over management of the ISCM International Music Festival in Oslo in 1953. She served as chair of Ny Musikk until 1961 when she was succeeded by composer Finn Mortensen.

Pauline Hall received the King's Medal of Merit (Kongens fortjenstmedalje) in gold in 1938. She died in Oslo and was buried at Vestre gravlund.

Biography taken from Wikipedia.

Suite for Five Winds | 1945 | 12 mins

Flute/Piccolo, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn

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