Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gerard Hoffnung

An LP on the Columbia label from 1961 - a celebration of the works of Gerard Hoffnung who died two years earlier. Sounds like a fun evening but you probably had to be there to appreciate the humour which seems rather lost here.

Wikipedia says -

"Gerard Hoffnung (22 March 1925 – 25 September 1959) was an artist and musician, best known for his humorous works.

Born in Berlin, and named Gerhard, he was the only child of a well-to-do Jewish couple, Hildegard and Ludwig Hoffnung. In 1939, his parents left Germany, initially for Florence and then for London, where he attended Highgate School, while his father went to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine to enter the family's banking business. (This temporary separation became permanent as a consequence of World War II.)

Hoffnung died of a cerebral haemorrhage only 20 years after arriving in England but filled those two decades with considerable achievements as - amongst other things - a cartoonist, tuba player, impresario, broadcaster and public speaker, much sought after by the Oxford and CambridgeUnions.

Hoffnung published a series of books of cartoons poking gentle fun at conductors and orchestral instrumentalists. After his death, some of these were turned into a short animated film by Halas and Batchelor under the title The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra, which won a number of awards in 1965-66.

He created three Hoffnung Music Festivals held at the Royal Festival Hall in London. These featured contributions from distinguished "serious" musicians. Compositions specially commissioned for the Festivals included Malcolm Arnold's A Grand, Grand Overture, Op. 57 ] which was dedicated to U.S. President Herbert Hoover and was scored for several vacuum cleaners and other domestic appliances. Franz Reizenstein'sConcerto Popolare was described as "The Piano Concerto to end all Piano Concertos". William Walton conducted a one-note excerpt from his oratorio Belshazzar's Feast: the word, "Slain!" shouted by the chorus."

Tracks are -

1. Excerpt from "Belshazzar's Feast (William Walton)

2. Horrortorio (Joseph Horovitz)

3. Mobile for Seven Orchestras (Lawrence leonard)

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