Avery Claflin (1898-1979) was an American composer who wrote and studied music while pursuing a long career in banking. Claflin spent thirty-five years working for the New York-based French-American Banking Corporation. He retired from the bank in 1954 after having risen from its ranks to serve as its president. Claflin began music studies at Harvard, but volunteered to serve as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, returning to Harvard after the war to complete his degree in 1921. While in France, he encountered the composers, Georges Auric, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, and Erik Satie, each of whom would influence Claflin's compositional style. Although Claflin composed many different types of works, he is perhaps best remembered for a madrigal set to the text of the tax code, Lament for April 15 (1955). He also received some attention for his four operas drawn from literary sources, The Fall of Usher (1920-1921), Hester Prynne (1934), La grande Bretèche (1946-1948), and Uncle Tom's Cabin (1964). Only one complete opera, La grande Bretèche, based on a short story by Honoré de Balzac, and excerpts from another opera, Hester Prynne (with a libretto adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, written by Claflin's wife, Dorothea Claflin), were performed during Claflin's lifetime.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. American legend.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Finale from the Dunciad.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Fishhouse punch.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Four dramatic episodes from Hester Prynne.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Grande Bretèche.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Laudate Dominum string quartet.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Prelude, chaconne & finale.
Claflin, Avery, 1898-1979. Sonata for violin and piano.
Balzac, Honoré de, 1799-1850. Grande Bretèche.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864. Scarlet letter.