Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lunch with Christopher Hogwood

Today's post honors a legendary artist — I was fortunate to hear Chris Hogwood perform many times, both as a harpsichordist and a conductor, and own many of his recordings. My logo design for his orchestra (shown above) was a student project from the early 1990s. Chris was gracious enough to sign it and even asked for a print for his office in Cambridge, England. 

The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) is one of the finest period-instrument orchestras in the world, and founder Christopher Hogwood (1941 - 2014), was a well-known conductor, scholar and harpsichordist. I was saddened to learn of his passing yesterday at age 73.

Although I'm not a musician — just an avid listener — I was fortunate to meet Chris after a performance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1994. We had lunch at the St. Paul Grill and talked about art and music for two hours. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo — that was way before cell phones AND selfies! But I remember his graciousness, droll English wit, and his wide interest in the arts, both visual and performing.

When he found out I was a graphic designer, Chris mentioned his mother's collaboration with type designer/author Eric Gill on "An Essay on Typography." The original, calligraphic "AAM" logo was designed by Cambridge friend Will Carter of Rampant Lions Press in 1973.

Art Deco-Era Type
Although the Academy of Ancient Music is part of the "early music" or historically informed performance practice movement, I chose the American Art Deco-era typeface Huxley Vertical for my logo project because it echoed the archways in the classic black and white engraving so perfectly.

Huxley was designed in 1935 by Walter Huxley and is available in digital form from Linotype. It remains one of my favorite display faces.

Type Is Art
In our firm, fine typography is as important as great imagery and quality text. We select typefaces carefully from our vast library because type sets a distinct mood, and our goal is to make the perfect choice for every project.

Design services
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Further reading and listening…

Performances and lectures by Christopher Hogwood at Gresham College, London

1. Engaging 1 hour performance (April, 2013). Musical introductions and performance by students in the Royal Academy of Music. "Music under the shadow of Handel" — works by Boyce, Arne and Geminiani.

2. And for something slightly newer (and Viennese!) — A great performance of Schubert's Fantasy in F minor, D. 940 (Nov. 2012):

If videos aren't visible, please click these YouTube links to view performances described above:

Other comprehensive info on Hogwood, Eric Gill and the Carters:

• Christopher Hogwood
• Designer / Typographer Eric Gill

• Designers Will Carter and Sebastian Carter

Christopher's address in his own handwriting. How artistic!

A charming little book about lettering.

My grandmother was named Esther, so this is a particular favorite.
The AAM Handel oratorios are sublime.

From my collection.

We came across upon this amusing letter which ran in The Spectator in October, 2014:
Dining with Vivaldi
Sir: The late Christopher Hogwood (Music, 4 October) was not only an early musician but also an early activist against piped music. Dining one day at Midsummer House, Cambridge, Hogwood asked if the inevitable Vivaldi might at least be turned down. As the waiter went off to attend to the request, a fellow diner at the next table leant over and murmured sympathetically, ‘We’re not musical either.’
Richard Abram
Wanstead Park, Essex

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