Doing the Hartzell Hilton

We’ve been looking through some archival recordings and thought you’d like to hear some Hartzell Hilton Band music. The Hartzell Hilton Band originated when Virginia Anderson and Jane Aldred agreed that there was far too little music for that fantastic little instrument, the Eb clarinet. And what made a fantastic ensemble was to add two violists, Michael Newman and Karen Demmel, a pianist, Christopher Hobbs, and a marimba/vibraphone player, Simon Allen. The Hartzell Hilton Band was named after a house in Redlands, California, owned by the composer Barney Childs. Childs hosted so many composers and performers at this house, on Hartzell Avenue, that he called it ‘the Hartzell Hilton’. Newman, Demmel, and Hobbs had stayed at the Hartzell Hilton; Anderson often lived there, so Newman gave the band its name.

The track that we’re sharing is from one of two classic Hartzell Hilton Band concerts: a concert at Lauderdale House, Hampstead, London, on 4 July 1988 (the other was in the Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham). The concert programme included two pieces by Hobbs, two by John White, one by Newman, one by Michael Parsons, one by Childs, an arrangement of Lol Coxhill tunes by Hobbs, and a piece by Hugh Shrapnel. The date of Fourth of July was accidental, but it was used in their advertising for the concert. We haven’t found that advertising in our files yet, but it stated that as it was American Independence Day, the Hartzell Hilton Band would play no American music…ah, yes, one, Barney Childs, but as an alumnus of Oxford, he was an honorary Brit. The programme ended, ‘Happy American Independence Day’.