Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo

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Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo

Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo

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The last of his five string quartets, dating from 1969, one of his finest works, uses gritty dissonance seemingly to recall the harsh experiences of his earlier life, with anguish forcefully invoked by insistent repetitions of Viennese waltz motifs. The disquiet alternates with wistful passages, however, and the quartet achieves a peaceful resolution on to a final consonance. His more serious religious vocal works included the psalm setting Sing unto the Lord a New Song (1971), which was the first work commissioned from a Jewish composer for the choir of St Paul's Cathedral. The oratorio Samson for voices and brass band followed in 1977, a commission from the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. Horovitz married Anna Landau in 1956, shortly after coaching at the bi-centenary celebration for Mozart and Glyndeborne. They honeymooned in Majorca, staying in Paguera and visiting Valldemossa. He later used these two names for two clarinet pieces, based on Spanish folk-tunes he had heard there. He was Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music from 1961, and a Council Member of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain from 1970. [7] Between 1969 and 1996 he belonged to the board of the Performing Rights Society.

Almost as successful was the Horrortorio, first performed at the Hoffnung astronautical music festival of 1961 at the Royal Festival Hall, and subsequently all over the world. Setting a witty libretto by Alistair Sampson, from a scenario by Maurice Richardson that lampoons Hammer horror films of the period with its storyline populated by Count Dracula, Frankenstein, Moriarty and Fu Manchu, the Horrortorio is a riotous but skilfully crafted pastiche of Handelian oratorio, Gilbert and Sullivan and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.The concert was conducted by Philip Scriven and accompanied by a jazz trio consisting of Mark Austin (piano), Dan Swana (bass), Matthew Green (percussion). Brass ensembles owe Horovitz a debt of gratitude for works such as The Dong with a Luminous Nose (1975) and Bacchus on Blue Ridge (1984), as do the soloists of various concertos including clarinet, oboe, euphonium and harpsichord, the last of those performed with panache at the Proms last year by Mahan Esfahani. Joseph Horovitz (26 May 1926 – 9 February 2022) was an Austrian-born British composer and conductor best known for his 1970 pop cantata Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo, which achieved widespread popularity in schools. Horovitz also composed music for television, including the theme music for the Thames Television series Rumpole of the Bailey, and was a prolific composer of ballet, orchestral (including nine concertos), brass band, wind band and chamber music. [1] He considered his fifth string quartet (1969) to be his best work. [2] Biography [ edit ]

They settled briefly in London, where he attended Regents Park School for refugee children, but moved to Oxford during the Blitz, which he recalled in Ad Astra (1990), a march for concert band. He was educated at City of Oxford High School, dreamt of being an artist and took lessons at the Ashmolean, which had become home to the evacuated Slade School of Art. The Jubilee Toy Symphony (1977), deploying toy instruments, bird sounds and percussion, was another popular success. Commissioned for the Queen’s silver jubilee, it was given its premiere by a stellar lineup of soloists under Colin Davis at a musical party in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund (now Help Musicians) at St James’s Palace, in the presence of the Queen Mother. Over the past eighteen months I have been reading various poems translated from the Anglo-Saxon, and pootling about through some Old English poems and tracts. I found several long-forgotten Old English dictionaries belonging to my late husband Peter Redgrove. I studied these in a barefoot kind of way. Some of that strange and mysterious vocabulary has found its way into recent poems. A wish to write about animals sprang from a reading of the Chester Mystery Play of Noah and The Deluge. His first post as music director for the Bristol Old Vic provided both valuable experience – he continued to conduct throughout his life – and a grounding in the popular styles that were to become an intrinsic element in his own idiom.I’m a secular person but of a generation that learned bible stories at school. The magic and richness of these stories has stayed with me as mythology, not theology. I was pleased to find old Noah step into my poem. I see him as played by John Houston. Many animal qualities in the poem are invented, but some are adapted from old bestiaries and a scurry around world mythologies. I am indebted to poet Alyson Hallett for information about the hyena. Goldenes Verdienstzeichen 1995., in Handbuch der Stadt Wien 1995/96., p. II/226. Retrieved 16 February 2022. After a wonderful 70-year career in music his compositions number twelve ballets, nine concertos – including his much-loved Jazz Concerto, and the Euphonium Concerto – two one-act operas, chamber music, works for brass and wind bands, film, television and radio, and choral works - most famously his Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo . Joe’s music was very much his own - work of beguiling colours and rhythms, in which the mixing, with his own very appealing musical voice, of styles from earlier periods or of the characteristics of other musical genres created something that was so very representative of certain contemporary trends of the mid-20th century. Joe was a composer who could turn his hand to a great variety of projects - from TV scores ( Rumpole of the Bailey being the best known example) and music for the classical concert hall (for example, Jazz Concerto or Fantasia on a Theme of Couperin) to what is probably the work for which he is best known, Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo, part of the ground-breaking series of pop-cantatas commissioned by Novello and performed by so many young people over many years and loved also in its animated version for TV. But never did the range of that work compromise its freshness, quality and memorability. Joe will be much missed by all who have had the privilege to know him and to work with him throughout his long and fruitful life."

This article is about the British composer and conductor. For the American cultural historian, see Joseph Horowitz. The children's " pop cantata" Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo (1970) was his biggest popular success. [19] The libretto by Michael Flanders is an adaptation of the Biblical tale of Noah found in Genesis chapters 6–9. It is one of a series of similar cantatas commissioned for school use by the publishers Novello, including The Daniel Jazz (1963) by Herbert Chappell, Jonah-Man Jazz (1966) by Michael Hurd and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Andrew Lloyd Webber (1968). The piece was first recorded by the Kings Singers in 1972 on an Argo LP, [20] and a new orchestral version by the composer was conducted by John Wilson in 2018. [12] An environmental cantata, Summer Sunday, followed in 1975, commissioned for the Cookham Festival. [21] His music for television included Lillie, Rumpole of the Bailey, The Search for the Nile, The Fight Against Slavery, Wessex Tales and Partners in Crime.Joseph journeys through his remarkable life and career in conversation with composer, Debbie Wiseman. Born in Vienna, Joseph was the son of Béla Horovitz, a publisher and co-founder of Phaidon Press, and his wife, Lotte (nee Beller). He had two younger sisters: Elly, later Miller, became an art publisher, and Hannah a concert promoter. Escaping from the city just days after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938, Joseph and one of his sisters travelled unaccompanied to Antwerp, where the family were reunited, reaching London soon afterwards. They spent the war years in Bath and Oxford. The Trumpet Concerto (1963), written, according to Horovitz, to “demonstrate the agility and brilliance of the modern trumpet”, contrasts spiky, virtuoso material with indulgently mellifluous writing. The closing rondo – a favoured form of the composer – is spiced with Latin American rhythms that keep both soloist and orchestra on their toes. With its colourful orchestration including tambourine, side drum and xylophone, it affords an attractively good-humoured as well as challenging staple in the trumpet repertory. Originally associated with Philip Jones, who gave the first performance under the composer, it was subsequently recorded by a leading trumpeter of the succeeding generation, James Watson. Horovitz made similar contributions to the concerto repertory of many other instruments, too, including violin, clarinet, bassoon, percussion, tuba and euphonium. Children from seven primary schools took part, more than 150 all together, and each school had the opportunity to sing a song of their own. These included two traditional songs, Belemama and I’ve been to Harlem. Meanwhile, the humorist Gerard Hoffnung commissioned Metamorphoses on a Bedtime Theme (1958), a set of variations that parodied television commercials in the style of Bach, Mozart, Verdi, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and Horrortorio (1961), a hilarious cantata celebrating the nuptials of Dracula’s daughter and Frankenstein’s son. By then he had joined the composition and theory staff of the Royal College of Music, where he became a fellow in 1981.



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