Four Songs After Hoffmann


by John Woolrich

soprano and clarinet
Hoffmann Eta (Author)
ETA Hoffmann
sop(=c.bells/2 metronomes/2 boobamchimes/tabor/ant.cym/nightingale) - cl(=Ebcl+Ccl+bcl)
First Performance
16.4.82, St Mary's Church, Felpham, Sussex: MaryWiegold/Ian Mitchell

Playing score (fp) 55388 5 on sale

Programme Notes

E.T.A.Hoffmann (1776-1822) loved automata and often mentioned them in his short stories. These songs describe four of them: 1. Ensler's Rope Dancer There was a vigour about his movements which was most effective. When he suddenly sat down on his rope and bowed in an affable manner, it was utterly delightful. 2. Olimpia She is statuesque. Her features and her figure are regular. If her lips were not so devoid of life she might pass for a beauty. Her movements are strangely measured like clockwork. Her playing and singing and dancing have the perfect timing of a singing machine. We were quite afraid of this Olimpia. 3. In the Arsenal at Dantzig The God of War was seated on an ornamental throne surrounded by heralds and warriors. As we came before him drummers drummed, fifers fifed all out of tune. I said the God of War must be badly off for a band. The drums and fifes stopped, the heralds turned their heads. The God of War rolled his eyes and started from his throne came straight at us then sank back down again. The fifing and the drumming slowed down and everything reverted to its wooden repose. 4. The Talking Turk This wonderful Turk will haunt me with his rolling eyes, his turning head, his waving arms, like some necromantic goblin. I will lie awake nights. . . The clarinettist uses three instruments: Eb for 1 and 2, bass for 3 and the folky C clarinet for number 4.

© John Woolrich

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