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Category: Hans Hofman

rhapsodies – Gershwin / Rachmaninov


  “Rhapsody (1958) 


      Hans Hofmann



if a sonata is a piece of music with more

than one section, by definition a rhapsody

is not a sonata, a rhapsody has only one 

section, only one movement, all that is 

required, therefore, essentially, of a 

rhapsody, is that it be – a subjunctive 

here, incidentally, the mood of aspiration, 

high hopes, ideals – that it be, I reiterate, 



in the spirit of juxtaposition, here are two

rhapsodies, the first, George Gershwin’s 

Rhapsody in Blue“, the other 

Rachmaninov’s, his Rhapsody on a 

Theme of Paganini


how are they different, you tell me


I’ll just point out that the one seems, to 

my ears, steeped still in the Romantic 

Period, the early 19th Century, despite 

its publishing date, 1934, the other

earlier, composition, 1924, sounds like 

full blown, in comparison, 20th Century

America, the future 


Old Europe, in other words, meets the 

New World, however chronologically 



listen, you can hear all of it, both are,

either era, extraordinary, time is what

eventually tells


R ! chard


on “Song to the Moon” – Antonin Dvořák


   “Rising Moon (1964)

          Hans Hofmann


the moon was out last night, grand
upon the starlit evening, either 
waxing or waning, I’m not sure, but
not full, a gibbous moon, above the 
buildings that scrape, in my big city 
neighbourhood, in the very Cubist 
manner, the night sky, see above

I’d been listening to Renée Fleming
singing Dvořák‘s Song to the Moon
in my head since I’d seen her do it, 
on television, in a summer evening 
concert at Schönbrunn, Vienna, some
few days ago, sheit, had been utterly, 
sublimely, enchanting, I’m a Cancer, a
moon child, I speak to the moon

to the moon, I said, moon in the dark
heavens, who steal into every home
and hearth at night, find my beloved
and tell him what is in my heart, rapt 
as I was in the spell of my special
planet, my personal orb, and the 
enveloping Dvořákian magic, though 
there’s been no beloved lately, just 
trailings of the latest one who broke, 
of course, my heart, which gives more 
pathos, however, incidentally, to my 
singing, I’ve giddily gathered

at home, I found Renée Fleming doing 
the piece on the Internet, entirely as 
splendidly, earlier, at London’s Royal
Albert Hall, September, 2010


R ! chard

art in evolution‏ – from Monet to Wolf Kahn

Brain writes

“I would never have guessed that Wolf Kahn was a student of Hoffman. Yet you can see the influence in the colour choice and lack of detail. It somehow reminds me of impressionism. The child of Hoffman and Monet. Especially the painting “Subtle Pink, 2000″. It reminds me of Monet’s painting series “Poplars”.

For the record, I prefer Kahn over Hoffman.”

Wolf Kahn "Subtle Pink" (2000)

Subtle Pink (2000)

Wolf Kahn


Claude Monet "Poplars at Giverny"

Poplars at Giverny” (1887)

Claude Monet


I would also compare his “Orange Cloud Over the Adriatic Sea

Wolf Kahn - "Orange Cloud Over the Adriatic Sea" (1996)

Orange Cloud Over the Adriatic Sea (1996)

Wolf Kahn


to Monet‘s Impression, Sunrise

Claude Monet - "Impression, Sunrise"

Impression, Sunrise (1873)

Claude Monet


what do you think


psst: art, like novels, has its templates

Études, opus 10 and 25 – Frédéric Chopin

 Henryk Siemiradzki - "Chopin Performing in the Guest Hall- of Anton Radziville in Berlin In 1829" (1887)

Chopin Performing in the Guest Hall- of Anton Radziville in Berlin In 1829” (1887)

Henryk Siemiradzki


no sooner does one inveigh against an
attitude than that attitude turns around
and slaps you in the face, my, however
brief, enrolments at art school, musical
conservatories, and creative writing
classes, were not, I think, without some
merit, some would even say much merit,
despite my short disparagement of them
in my last blog, there are tools for every
art, schools have the machinery to
channel inspiration

Hans Hofman must’ve believed he was
painting a Poème d’amour when he
painted it, why otherwise would he
have painted it, despite myriad
objections, and general
incomprehension, could he have
known that no one would get it, did
he care, who called it art

did Chopin know when he wrote his
first set of “Études”, opus 10, a
theoretical set if there ever was one,
a set of fiendishly challenging
technical exercises, that they would
define the Romantic Period, an era
given over to the very heart, he was
23, having fun

what is art, art is what works, art is a
consensus, sometimes you’ll get it,
sometimes you won’t, sometimes I
get it, sometimes I don’t, art is in the
eye of the beholder, just like beauty
and love

Chopin, the theoretician, produces a
resounding argument for the technical
side of composition, the cerebral, this
is perhaps why they are my favourites
of his compositions

but he hasn’t left out the very centre
of music, how it connects, how it can
carry you along, even to enchantment,
he hasn’t left out the enchantment,
these to me are poems of love

he calls them études, opus 10 and 25

who’d ‘a’ thunk it



a reply to BookInhabiter, a.k.a. Brain (2)

Wolf Kahn - "Orange Cloud Over the Adriatic Sea" (1996)

Orange Cloud Over rhe Adriatic Sea” (1996)

Wolf Kahn


a reader writes, about “Poème d’amour“,
Hans Hofman

“This is a bizarre painting. It bewilders me. I can’t make sense of it. But maybe that’s the point.”

below is my answer



with the invention of the camera, Brain,
representational art became irrelevant,
unable to present the accuracy a
photograph would it had to discover
for itself an alternate purpose, which
is to say, reinvent itself

the medium became the message,
as Marshall McLuhan would’ve
put it, art began to study itself, it
reached for its sinews, arteries,
its colours, textures, its planar,
dimensional, limitations, limits

its form, in other words, was
becoming its substance

Abstract Expressionism was the
nadir of this movement, after the
less ethereal, more visceral,
German Expressionism, and up
to Andy Warhol, who brought us
back down to earth again with
pictures of Campbell Soup cans,

more matter, less theory

note the residual attachment to flat
colour fields nevertheless

that said, what part of Hofman‘s
Love Poem is indeed a love poem,
search me, I think it’s just pretentious,
failed Miro

but do read the sidebar on the upper
left at the site for less partisan perhaps
insights, just click “Show details” there

I don’t either much like Schönberg,
who did the same kind of thing to
music, eviscerated it, I want to see
the body, not the entrails, these
should be studied at art school,
the conservatory, creative writing

but that is of course just what I think

Schönberg and Abstract Expressionists,
however, have left their indelible marks
on art history, commendable marks for
their theoretical underpinnings, rigours

see for instance the marvellous Wolf
Kahn above
for the evolution of these
ideas, you get it in less than a minute,
and delight in it

that is what real art does

thanks for asking


psst: Wolf Kahn was a student of
Hans Hofman, incidentally, he
just put everyday references
back into the picture, I call it
heart, something organic

“Poème d’amour” – Hans Hofman‏

Hans Hofman - "Love Poem" (1962)

Poème d’amour (1962)

Hans Hofman


this “Love Poem“, Poème d’amour“,
challenges our preconceptions

is this painting a poem, what does it
say about love

you tell me