Ernst Bacon

Ernst Bacon was an American composer, pianist, and conductor. A prolific composer, he wrote more than 250 songs, plus symphonies, piano concertos, chamber music, and ballets.

Photo: Ernst Bacon, Ernst Bacon Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

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About

Ernst Bacon, composer, pianist, and conductor, was born on May 26, 1898. He was the son of Maria von Rosthorn Bacon, a Viennese-trained musician, and Dr. Charles S. Bacon. He studied at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, and also privately with Alexander Raab, Glenn Dillard Gunn, Ernest Bloch, and Karl Weigl. Among the numerous awards and grants he received are the Bispham Award, commissions from the Ditson Fund and the League of Composers, a Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship in Music, three Guggenheim Fellowships, and grants from the National Institute of Arts and Letters; the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A multi-faceted musician, Bacon composed and conducted symphonies, operas, piano concertos, musical theater pieces, ensemble and solo instrumental pieces, and vocal works. In addition, he performed as a pianist in Europe and America, and he conducted the WPA orchestra in California from 1935 to 1937. He taught and was an administrator at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (1926-27), Syracuse University’s music department (1945-47), and Converse College in South Carolina (1938-45).

He distinguished himself as a writer with such works as Notes on the Piano, The Honor of Music, and Words on Music. In Our Musical Idioms, Bacon presented a new theory of scale models derived from diatonic scales. He was also music critic for The Argonaut, the weekly publication of Converse College. Ernst Bacon was respected as a philosopher by a close circle of friends who were fortunate enough to see his unpublished writings, [e.g. Imaginary Dialogues and his many poems]. He was a highly opinionated man, a fact evident from his large volume of letters to the editors of several major and not so major serials.

Ernst Bacon married four times and had six children. He died on March 16, 1990 in Orinda, California.

–Library of Congress Performing Arts Encyclopedia

Related Information

Videos

Recordings

Songs from Chicago

(Ernst Bacon, Margaret Bonds, John Alden Carpenter, Louis Campbell-Tipton and Florence Price)

2018


View recording

Between the Bliss and Me. . . Songs to Poems of Emily Dickinson

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Arthur Farwell, Lee Hoiby, Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas)

2009

Abraham Lincoln Portraits

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Charles Ives and George Frederick McKay)

2008

To The Soul - Poetry Of Walt Whitman

(Ernst Bacon, Leonard Bernstein, Henry Burleigh, Gerald Busby, Philip Dalmas, Charles Ives, Charles Naginski, Ned Rorem, Robert Strassburg, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Weill, Elinor Remick Warren and Walt Whitman)

1997

Dwell in Possibility: Dickinson in Song

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Celius Dougherty, John Woods Duke, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen, Etta Parker, Simon Sargon, Leo Smit and Richard Pearson Thomas)

2004

The Poetess Sings

(Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Lee Hoiby, Otto Luening and William Roy)

2002

Fond Affection

(Ernst Bacon)

2002

I Hear America Singing

(Ernst Bacon, Jean Berger, Paul Bowles, Henry Burleigh, Stephen Foster, Ernest Gold, Charles Griffes, Richard Hageman, Sergius Kagen, Charles Martin Loeffler, Edward MacDowell, Charles Naginski, John Jacob Niles, Hermann Reutter, Frédéric Louis Ritter, Ned Rorem, William Grant Still, Hugo Weisgall and Tennessee Williams)

2001

American Masters - Songs of Charles Ives & Ernst Bacon

(Ernst Bacon and Charles Ives)

2001

Carolyn Heafner Sings American Songs

(Ernst Bacon, Hugo Weisgall, Lee Hoiby and Amy Marcy Beach)

2000

The Listeners

(Ernst Bacon, Theodore Chanler, Lee Hoiby, John Jacob Niles and Ned Rorem)

1977

Songs by 20th Century American Composers (Vol. I & II)

(Ernst Bacon, Samuel Barber, Paul Bowles, John Alden Carpenter, Theodore Chanler, Aaron Copland, Charles Griffes, Charles Ives, Otto Luening, Edward MacDowell, Virgil Thomson and Ned Rorem)

1962

Books

The Songs of Ernst Bacon and Poetry in Search of Music

By Ernest Bacon and John St. Edmonds

Words on Music

By Ernst Bacon

Songs

A Clear Midnight

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Six Songs

A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

A Spider

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

A Wind Like a Bugle

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Alabaster Wool (Snowfall)

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Ancient Christmas Carol

Ernst Bacon

Anonymous

Song Collection: Six Songs

As If the Sea Should Part

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Beat! Beat! Drums!

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Billy in the Darbies

Ernst Bacon

Herman Melville

Clover

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Darest Thou Now, O Soul

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Songs at Parting

Eden

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

Epitaph

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Janet Lewis

William Shakespeare

Fond Affection

Ernst Bacon

Anonymous

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

From Blank To Blank

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Gentle Greeting

Ernst Bacon

Emily Brontë

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

Grand is the Seen

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Songs at Parting

How Still the Bells

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

I'm Nobody

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Is There Such a Thing as Day?

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

It's Coming - the Postponeless Creature

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Joy, Shipmate, Joy!

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Songs at Parting

Let Down the Bars

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Lingering Last Drops

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

My River Runs to Thee

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Nature, the Gentlest Mother

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

No Dew Upon the Grass

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Six Songs

Of Love

Ernst Bacon

Robert Herrick

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

Omaha

Ernst Bacon

Carl Sandburg

Song Collection: Six Songs

On the Frontiers

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

On this Wondrous Sea

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Quiet Airs

Song Collection

Ernst Bacon

Sara Teasdale

Emily Brontë

Walt Whitman

Robert Herrick

Emily Dickinson

A. E. Housman

William Blake

She Went As Quiet As the Dew

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Songs at Parting

Song Collection

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song of Snow-White Heads

Ernst Bacon

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

The Banks of the Yellow Sea

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Six Songs

The Commonplace

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

The Divine Ship

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

The Grass So Little Has To Do

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

The Heart

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

The Lamb

Ernst Bacon

William Blake

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

The Last Invocation

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Songs at Parting

The Little Stone

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

The Morns are Meeker

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

The Simple Days

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

The Sun Went Down

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Three Songs from the American Folk

Song Collection

Ernst Bacon

The Lord of Ev'rything

Ernst Bacon

Janet Lewis

To Musique, To Becalme His Fever

Ernst Bacon

Robert Herrick

Song Collection: Quiet Airs

The Sobbing of the Bells

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Songs at Parting

Twilight

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Songs at Parting

O Friend!

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Savior

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Velvet People

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

World, Take Good Notice

Ernst Bacon

Walt Whitman

Song Collection: Six Songs

Wild Nights

Ernst Bacon

Emily Dickinson

Audio

Ernst Bacon

Track:

    Sheet Music

    Ernst Bacon Sheet Music

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    Quiet Airs

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): 1. Twilight
    2. Gentle Greeting
    3. The Divine Ship
    4. Of Love
    5. Eden
    6. The Little Stone
    7. Fond Affection
    8. Stars
    9. The Heart
    10. Song of Snow-White Heads
    11. The Lamb
    12. To Musique, To Becalme His Fever

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Songs from Emily Dickinson

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): As If the Sea Should Part
    Let down the bars
    O friend
    The grass so little has to do
    A threadless way
    The postponeless Creature
    I'm Nobody
    My river runs to thee
    How still the bells
    The sun went down
    The grass so little has to do
    Savior
    She went as quiet as the dew
    Wild nights

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    Songs from Emily Dickinson: Nature, time and space Vol.2

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): Velvet people
    A wind like a bugle
    The morns are meeker
    Clover
    Nature, the gentlest mother

    Voice Type: High

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    Six Songs

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): 1. The Banks of the Yellow Sea
    2. Ancient Christmas Carol
    3. Omaha
    4. No Dew Upon the Grass
    5. A Clear Midnight
    6. World, Take Good Notice

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    Tributaries

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): World, take notice
    Lingering last drops
    The Spanish armada
    The banks of the Yellow Sea
    If bees are few
    Sunset
    Ariel
    With the first arbutus
    Sleep
    Miranda
    Summer's lapse
    The bat
    There's this to say
    No more
    Farewell to a name
    This and my heart
    Eden
    Alabaster wool
    Dusk
    Vanity of vanities
    Ancient carol
    The last invocation
    The divine ship
    The red rose
    Song of snow-white heads
    Simple days
    Water
    The postponeless creature
    Eternity
    The unquiet grave
    The unseen soul

    Voice Type: Medium-High

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