Once Around the World

once around the world - family concert
– a musical adventure with sights and sound from far away and long ago for ensemble, narrator, gramophone and animated film
Music Mike Svoboda 
Text Manfred Weiss
Animated Film Matthias Daenschel
Dramaturgy & Education Johannes Fuchs
Consultant (historical illustrations and sound documents) Dr. Christoph Wagner
Duration 60 minutes
Premiere of the ensemble version on April 9th, 2017 with the Lucerne Festival Acadamy Alumni, Mike Svoboda conducter and narrator
Premiere of the version for orchestra on October 21st, 2017 in Essen, Bochum Youth Orchestra, Mike Svoboda conducter and narrator

Recording of the premiere in Lucerne, April 9th, 2017

In the interplay of text, image and music

Structured similar to an opera, Once Around the World tells the story of the conductor’s/moderator’s great-great-grandfather, the adventurer and musicologist/collector Professor Edward Thomas Hoggins I. On stage is a box with his collection of postcard of musicians from all over the world and shellack recordings of these musicians from almost a century ago.
The hour long concert for listeners of all ages is a dynamic combination of picture postcards which are gradually animated seen on the screen behind the musicians and historical recordings heard from a gramophonewhich are musically extended by the musicians on stage. Prof. Hoggins' journey is narrated in a lively dialoge between the moderator/conductor and Prof. Hoggins himself, who comes to life in the postcards! 
With Once Around the World I wish to take the audience on a musical journey not only around the globe but also back in time, and share my enthusiasm and endearment for the sounds of diverse music making from all over the planet. – Mike Svoboda

Once Around the World – an experience for the eyes and ears

“Do you know what your great-grandfathers did? Were they pirates, gangster bosses or industrialists? Did they leave behind treasure chests, gold bars or stocks for your fathers and grandfathers? My great-grandfather was a musician and collector. And in the attic of our house, a couple of months ago, I found two large boxes which belonged to him. After wiping away the thick layer of dust, I opened the first box, which contained: postcards...??? Can you imagine how disappointed I was? But then I opened the second box: it was full of shellack records. Do know what they are? Great round discs, on which music was recorded and played back before there were tapes, CDs, and YouTube. I looked carefully at the discs and realized that they came from all around the world, as my grandfather had labelled them precisely: the groups of musicians, the places and the dates. And it was clear to me that he had recorded them all himself! He went to so many different countries that I had to grab a map so that I could see where they all were. Then I looked more closely at the postcards and noticed that all of them had musicians on: the very musicians that can be heard on the records. He sent all these postcards to my great-grandmother Bernadette, whom he loved very much but who couldn’t accompany him on his travels, as it would have been too dangerous. My great-grandfather (who, by the way, was called Edward Thomas Hoggins I) was an adventurer and musical researcher, and I was suddenly extremely proud of him. And now, many years later, I’m a musician myself and I have always yearned to play this wonderful music to as many people as possible. And that’s exactly what we’ll do today!” – Prof. Edward Thomas Hoggins IV



Ensemble version with 14 musicians
1(picc).1.1(bscl).1(cbsn).- and narrator
Orchestra version
2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2(II=bscl).2(II=cbsn)- and narrator

Technical requirements

Orchestra version:
  • gramophone
  • amplification for the conductor, film, and the gramophone
  • video projector

Ensemble version:

  • additionally, amplification for the 5 strings (dpa) and two tables (contact microphones), all with individual loudspeakers placed in close proximity to the sound source

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