"I was born at a very early age."
January 12, 2015 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Gerard Hoffnung was best known for his artwork. Or was it his interviews? Maybe it was his public speaking, or perhaps the Hoffnung Music Festivals? He also played the tuba!

Born in Berlin in 1925 to Jewish parents, Hoffnung was sent to London as a boy. He was famously expelled from Hornsey College of Art for "lack of gravity" in the life drawing class. Although he was only 34 when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage, Gerard Hoffnung left a singular body of work and a lasting influence on modern comedy. It is thanks to the efforts of his widow, Annetta Hoffnung, that so much of his sly, gentle humor survives today.

From his obituary: "Hoffnung was among other things an artist, a musician, a linguist, a raconteur, a Quaker, a bon viveur, a prison visitor and a mime. It is usual to say that a man has left behind a gap that cannot be filled. For Gerard Hoffnung there would be needed a handful of men, all of them greatly gifted."

You can view more of his drawings here. In addition, the BBC and Halas and Batchelor (previously) presented a series of short animated films based on his cartoons in 1965:

The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra
The Hoffnung Music Academy
The Hoffnung Palm Court Orchestra
(more available on YouTube)

From his address to the Oxford Union in 1958:
The Bricklayer's Story
Letters to Tyrolean Landlords

Interview with Charles Richardson:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

From Hoffnung's Music Festivals:
Franz Reizenstein - Concerto Popolare, live at The Hoffnung Festival 1956 (Yvonne Arnaud, piano)
Elizabeth Poston - Sugar Plums, live at the 1958 Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival (Dolmetsch Ensemble)
Joseph Horovitz - Horrortorio, live at the 1961 Hoffnung Astronautical Music Festival
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (4 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Well...this is a truly excellent post. But I'm still listening and watching, no time to comment!
posted by Namlit at 4:06 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

As complete a post on the extraordinary talents of Gerard Hoffnung as one could wish for! Thanks, Orange Dinosaur Slide.
posted by On the Corner at 3:12 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ooh, I haven't seen those cartoons since... well, probably 1965.
posted by Segundus at 3:26 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

My dear dad spoon fed me Hoffnung when I was a nipper, in the days before TV and you could create your own movies out of the sounds you heard. Hoffnung and his mad orchestra made it hard to do that.

Then I discovered the illustrations and things got weirder.
posted by arzakh at 3:56 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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