The Japanese composer-pianist Yuji Takahashi and the mezzo-soprano Mutsumi Hatano will be performing two pieces by Chris Hobbs in concert: Drei Lieder aus der Struwwelpeter (with slides) 20th July (in Kobe?) and Conspicuous Consumer, 4 Nov, in Tokyo.
Drei Lieder aus der Struwwelpeter (1990) uses the Victorian children’s book of the same name. These ‘merry stories and funny pictures’ offer cautionary tales of children who die in a variety of horrible ways because they have not obeyed their elders. Ha-ha-ha – very merry indeed! Hatano and Takahashi performed this piece in the Salon Tessera, Tokyo on 6 November 2011, using slides from the book (for further horrific merriment!), which they will repeat in Kobe. In the November 2011 concert, Takahashi also played two of Hobbs’ ‘pataphysical piano pieces, ‘apres Schubert’ and ‘apres Scarlatti’ from the collection L’Auteur se Retire (1996).
Conspicuous Consumer (1997) is a setting of yuppie/middle class/aspirational adverts from Gourmet and Sunset magazines. If you’ve wanted your lieder to stop messing with trivia like wandering, water, love, and the like, and get down to important stuff like five-star hotels, Jacuzzis, and pet llamas (with quotations from Mahler and Mozart), well, this is your song cycle. Takahashi and Hatano performed this on 17 June in Kobe. It’s a lovely performance.
For information on all the amazing things Yuji Takahashi has been doing, visit http://www.suigyu.com/yuji/Yuji_Takahashi_en.html . The concerts need updating, but it’s worth visiting for his scores, writings, and other information.