(29 December 1906, New York City - 25 April 1993, Houston, Texas)
Born in New
York City and growing up in Germany, conductor and arranger Henri
René received a thorough education in classical music at the Royal
Academy of Music in Berlin. He moved to the U.S. during the mid-1920s,
appearing with a variety of orchestras before returning to Berlin,
he is appointed musical director of Electrola, a recording company,
and UFA, the German movie studio at Babelsberg.
In 1936, he
emigrates to the U.S. and is appointed musical director for RCA
International; in 1941, he establishes a Continental-style orchestra.
After serving with the allied forces in World War II, he returns
to RCA as a musical director to arrange and conduct a variety
of classical recordings. René retired from RCA in 1959 and worked
as an independent for the remainder of his career.
Passion in Paint (Famous Paintings Set to Music)
Henri René and His Orchestra
"Passion in paint,
passion in music…how differently they are expressed, and yet how closely
akin are they! Music has color and paintings have rhythm, and both convey
to us beauty and emotion.
Here, as far as I
know, is the first attempt to link popular paintings with what is usually
called "popular" music. I am not sure I know precisely what popular
music is: I am certain that these original rhapsodies by Henri René
are music which everybody can enjoy, which everybody can understand
and from which everybody can experience an emotional lift.
Henri René has, of course,
not attempted any literal description of the paintings. That would be
impossible in music. Ha has given us impressions. These very sensuous
mood of Botticelli's The Birth of Venus to the famous and still
controversial Duchamp Nude Descending the Stairs, a painting which
no longer "describes" or"tells a story" but is all impression and emotion.
What you have here, therefore, is a mood music album with many moods.
Many of the paintings
treated musically by René are familiar favorites. Several of them can
be seen in our country. To see others you will have to travel as far
as Florence, Madrid and Paris. To enjoy René's music you don't have
to travel at all: you can "see" the paintings from your armchair.
This latest work
of Henri René follows a series of highly successful albums composed,
arranged and conducted by him in his own individual style. That style
is Continental, which is quite natural considering that René has spent
much of his life abroad. Among the albums which have become best sellers
are Listen to Henri René and Music for Romance…
Here, then, is passion
in paint translated into passion in music. Whatever you play the album
one "painting" at a time or whatever you play the whole album together
I think you are in for a new kind of enjoyment."
George R. Marek Director of Artists and Repertoire
Copyright 1955, Radio Corporation of America
Henri René and His Orchestra "Passion in Paint: Famous Paintings Set to Music" (1955)
Recorded by RCA Victor LPM-1033
Music inspired by famous paintings throughout the centuries include:
Cover, RCA Victor, 1955
Marcel Duchamp-Nude Descending the Stairs
Renoir-Gabrielle in an Open Blouse Sandro Botticelli-The Birth of Venus
Francisco Goya-The Nude Maya
Pablo Picasso-Girl Before Mirror
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec-At the Moulin Rouge
Leonardo da Vinci-Mona Lisa
Amedeo Modigliani-Nude on Cushion
John Singer Sargent-Madame X
Salvador Dalí-The Persistence of Time
(We are grateful
to Veit Schuetz of Cosmic Art Enterprises for transferring the
music from record to tape)