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The Heckelphone: A Window into the History of Music / Reviews

"A literary declaration of love to a musical instrument that is hardly known even to many musicians. Yet - as Holger Hoos shows in his impressive research - the heckelphone inspired important composers at the end of the 19th century and in the 20th century. Whether, where and how the heckelphone became established is described by the author in his book an entertaining way and also gives non-musicians insights into the concert business of the last two centuries."

- Jochen Welsch, director of the Rhein-Neckar Jazz Orchestra and the big band of the University of Mannheim, member of the board of trustees of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis Cultural Foundation, guest conductor at performances by the hr Bigband, the Lucerne Jazz Orchestra, Xavier Naido, Marc Marshall and Janice Dixon (see also https://jochenwelsch.com), May 2024

"Not only composers and players, but also instrument collectors, have been expressing their fondness of the heckelphone in various ways for 120 years. Now, such a declaration of love is available in book form. Like a detective, the author has meticulously and enthusiastically followed its traces. The encounter between Richard Wagner and Wilhelm Heckel, often quoted, takes on a special vividness in this book, as does everything that Holger Hoos has compiled “plausibly but freely imagined”: from twelve-tone music to film music, from developments in the history of instruments to the life stories of some 175 heckelphones ever constructed. Every page is captivatingly crafted, and many imaginatively narrated events are “science-in-fiction” in the best sense of the word."

- Werner Schulze, Austrian composer, scientist and author; former director of the International Harmonics Centre at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna; awarded, among others, the Advancement Award of the City of Vienna, the Commendation Award of the Lower Austrian Provincial Government and the Cultural Prize of the City of Wiener Neustadt, May 2024

"This is a fascinating and much needed history of a truly unique and remarkable instrument. It fills in a lot of gaps for me in delving deeply into the historical events around the inception and development of heckelphone, as well as those surrounding all the important pieces written for the instrument and the composers and players in the story. I think it will be a valuable addition to the libraries of not only heckelphone players and enthusiasts but also to anyone interested in late 19th / early 20th century musical and general history, and I hope it will inspire a new generation of composers and arrangers to use this wonderful instrument."

- John McDougall, principal bassoon, BBC Concert Orchestra (since 2016) and English National Ballet (since 1998); has played heckelphone in many of Britains leading ensembles, including the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the English National Opera, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, June 2024

The Heckelphone: cover