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  • Jerry King Musser

Miss Florence Hinkle's Recital

Columbia's own, Florence Hinkle (yes, those Hinkles), was a well-respected operatic singer in the early part of the 20th century. To demonstrate that point, below is the transcription from the New York Times's Richard Aldrich, 9 November 1920:

. . .

Miss Florence Hinkle gave a song recital yesterday afternoon in Aeolian Hall, where there was a large audience ready with well-deserved applause. Mist Hinkle is one of the best-known of local singers, with a voice and a style of great beauty, a deeply musical feeling, and an unfailing technical skill that brings her intentions to full realization. The volce, singularly pure and equable in quality throughout Its range, is not one that lends Itself naturally to a variety of color or a wide range of emotional effects: yet the singer's skill is such it is made to produce all its possibilities in this direction.


Her program included songs of widely different styles, in which she achieved a full measure of success. She began with "Intorno all idol mis," from Marc Antonio Cesti's opera of "Orontea" of the mid-seventeenth century, whose requirements of sustained legato style she met fully, as she did with great power and nobility those of the splendid air "Sommi dei" from Handel's opera of " Radamisto." a difficult task admirably performed, as was the more animated air "Deh respirar lasciatemi," from Leonardo Vinci's " Artaserse." There was a very considerable drop from these to the song "Child of Earth" by Charles E. Horn, the English composer, best remembered by his song "I've Been Roaming" and by the pioneering work he did in the New York Philharmonic Society.


Miss Hinkle showed another side of her art in a group of four songs by Brahms."To an Aeolian Harp" might perhaps have been sung with more emotional depth and more variety of color. But there was a notable expression of passion, a real eloquence in her singing of "Oh, That I Might Retrace the Way," and also in "My Love Is Green" in which she reverted to the original German text, after singing the others in English.


Miss Hinkle's fine enunciation of the text made it perfectly comprehensible throughout. and in all these songs the intelligence and finish of her phrasing and the highly musical quality of her style and conception were continually in evidence. She followed them with a group of French songs and another of songs in English, including two by her accompanist, Richard Hageman.

. . .


To have a pianist accompany a singer, then as now, isn't done lightly. They had to have known each other reasonably well and certainly had to respect one another. I only mention this because 'Richard Hageman,' a Dutch-born conductor, pianist, and composer eventually wrote and conducted for Hollywood. One such film was John Ford's 1939 Stagecoach, with John Wayne. He shared an Academy Award for it. He also came to conduct orchestras and operas around the world.


So, it appears, our Florence ran with some serious talents of her day and must have been admired for her ability by the best. Read an overview of Columbia's Miss Florence here.


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