Hyuk Cha

Date of Graduation


Document Type



Howard Hanson (1896-1981) is one of the most renowned neo-romantic American composers. With various musical activities including forty years as a director of the Eastman School of Music, he wrote many pieces in the neo-romantic style and made significant contributions to American music education as a prominent music teacher. He was awarded a variety of prizes and honors including the Pulitzer Prize and the first Prix de Rome ever awarded by the American Academy in Rome. His Second Symphony, “Romantic” is one of his most famous orchestral pieces and known as a representative work. The piece was composed on commission for the fiftieth anniversary of Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1930. He titled “Romantic” himself, and stated that the symphony gives a genuine expression of romanticism, and that he wanted to compose something warm and young, vigorous and youthful in his Second Symphony. The symphony made a remarkable impression on performers and audiences, and was performed widely by numerous orchestras including the NBC Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Toronto Symphony and various youth orchestras. This research paper is focused on the composer’s compositional ideas presented in the first movement of his Second Symphony. In particular, the analysis is emphasized on several musical elements that give identity to this work including themes, melodic intervals, harmony, formal structure, dynamics and timbre throughout the first movement of “Romantic ” Symphony. This research paper consists of four sections: 1) Biography, 2) Background of the Symphony, 3) Analysis, and 4) Summary.