is a special kind of happiness and Shirley Anne Hofmann
savours this happiness to the fullest. The source her euphoria is evident.
On one hand,
it stems from the limitless instrumental possibilities which she posesses,
especially her beloved euphonium (no one else can make such a seemingly
seem as light and poetic). A second source is the vast world of compositional
and improvisational fantasy which she employs at will - devoted, passionate,
sometimes serious and sprinkled with a healthy dose of humour.
She was born and grew up in Canada,
arriving via France to Germany and today lives in Switzerland. Due to
this fact, she seems not to recognise borders. Where others have drawn
them, Shirley Anne Hofmann reacts with surprise and playful ignorance.
her second solo work after her superb debut CD "From the Depths".
s another expedition between near and far, with familiar moments, charming
adventures and many surprises - a veritable euphoric dream-voyage.
Shirley Anne Hofmann takes us along on a fantastic
flight. Real impressions
and imaginary scenes are blended. Sounds become pictures, landscapes,
happy, colourful, grotesque, or sentimental stories. We lift off from
a rooftop "bash", leaving tightropes, telephone poles and
technological wonders below. We coast through the air waves,
dream ourselves away over valleys and mountain peaks, drop in on some
Russian hospitality, reach the ocean, turn back towards the Alps and
Switzerland - that central part of Europe that can't yet visualize it's
own integration into the European orchestra. Along the way, wisps of
(sometimes melancholic) greetings pass by - a bit of Bohemia, a bit
of Canada, a bit of Bavaria; biographical threads - traces of Shirley
Anne Hofmann's musical instincts.
Her childhood memories of Prescott, a small town
near Ottawa in Canada, are filled with musical tradition. Shirley Anne
Hofmann's parents came from the Sudetenland*. Her father, a dedicated
high-school music teacher, held his folk traditions in high esteem,
respected classical music and had an ear for big band swing. These were
the cornerstones of Shirley Anne Hofmann's diverse musical education.
After piano lessons came the trumpet. When the school band needed a
euphonium player, Shirley filled the spot without diminishing her pianistic
prowess. Bohemian folk music silently accompanied her far beyond her
high school years. She wanted to study jazz but landed in musical bread-and-butter
jobs which steered her towards Europe. From an "Oompah" band
in Montreal to a Czech beer tent orchestra in the south of France, to
Constance in the deep south of Germany - home of the avant-garde "pop"
band "The Blech". Parallel to her work with this curious quintet,
she began to develop her solo program. The release of her debut CD marked
a change in her creative environment from that of "The Blech"
to that of Neuchâtel in Switzerland where she collaborated with
Momo Rossel (co-producer of her first CD) and Ensemble Rayé (CD's
En Frac and Winnie the Pooh). Presently she is a member of the group
"Orkester Ben Jeger". With three brasses, glass harp, accordion,
farfisa organ and percussion, this group composes it's own music, paying
hommage to the Italian meistro Nino Rota. Her solo program, refined
through numerous engagements, remains however, her most important performance
medium. With this, her second solo CD, Shirley Anne Hofmann
took the amount of time she felt she needed, resulting in enough creative
fodder for at least two further albums! She has dispensed with song
lyrics, letting her music speak that much more, while still employing
her unusual vocal stunts such as the unparalled "Hofmannic Jodler".
As this CD slowly took shape, it appeared to
be a work full of dances: tango, waltz, bolero, square dance - there
is no lack of adventurous renditions. Even more fascinating, however,
is that regardless of rhythm or mood, this music invites our emotions,
our imagination and our souls to dance. This is the most beautiful goal
that any music can achieve. Shirley Anne Hofmann's euphoria is contagious;
a wonderful musical vantage point from which to observe the coming years.
Have a nice flight!
Arne Schumacher - March 2000
transl. Shirley Anne Hofmann