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WILLIAM HENRY FRY  

(1813 - 1864)

William Henry Fry was the first native-born American to compose for large symphonic forces and the first to write a grand opera, as well as the first music critic for a leading newspaper. Much of his music won contemporary popularity in the United States.

Stage Works

Fry’s first opera, Aurelia the Vestal, was followed by the grand opera Leonora, based on Bulwer-Lytton’s The Lady of Lyons, and the lyrical drama Notre Dame of Paris, after Victor Hugo.

Orchestral Music

Fry’s best-known work is his ‘Christmas Symphony’ Santa Claus, a celebration of Christmas, sacred and secular. His pictorial symphony Niagara was written for P.T. Barnum and the operatic The Breaking Heart was popular in its time. His Overture to Macbeth, a late work, is again programmatic.

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
AMERICAN CLASSICS SAMPLER Naxos
8.559118
Orchestral
FRY: Santa Claus Symphony / Niagara Symphony Naxos
8.559057
Orchestral
STORY OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC (THE) Naxos Educational
8.558164-65
Orchestral




 
 
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