Louis Hardin. a.k.a. Moondog, long-time off and on resident of Candor (1958-74), who moved to Germany in 1974, made a triumphant return to America this past November. Living in Western Germany, Hardin has been guilding a large and loyal following in Europe with an electrical fusion of his classical, jazz and folk styled music.
Hardin was invited by the Brooklyn Academy of Music to present a concert of his works on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. Moondog with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra performed a open rehearsal of his works at Brooklyn's Majestic Theatre. At 8:00 p.m. a more formalized concert was staged, along with other composers.
From 1943 to 1974, Hardin was unquestionably the most omnipresent street personality in New York City. Often dressed in Viking regalia and other costumes, he immersed himself into the social fabric of the city and became an integral part of the artistic, musical scene.
His personal acquaintances and influences are quite extraordinary, ranging from Jazzmen, Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus to classical conductors, Arthur Rodzinski and Leonard Bernstein.
It does many hearts well to see this multi-talented individual finally achieving a sustained recognition and success that in the past has been sporadic at best. At age 73, Hardin is coming into his own. He was
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close friend, anthropologist, Ilona Goebel.
On Thursday evening, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra performed nine Moondog compositions, conducted by Moondog and Tania Leon. When not conducting, Hardin would accompany the scores with a variety of percussion instruments.
"Paris", the first piece, had its world permiere in Paris in 1982. The 32-bar chorus was repeated four times with counterpoints and a piccolo flourish in the coda. The tune was written in Candor in 1973.
"Good for Goodie", is a clarinet inspired piece written in honor of Benny Goodman. In 1951, Goodman was quoted as saying, "I find Moondog's music arresting."
"Bird's lament", was written in memory of Charlie Parker, on hearing of his sudden death. Hardin and Parker often jammed and mingled together in Greenwich Village. Bird's alto sax and a baritone sax dominate this four part harmonized figure.
Other pieces were titled "Present for the Prez" (a tribute to Jazz Tenor Saxophonist. Lester Young), "Stamping Ground", "Passion Flower" and "Dark Eyes".
"New Amsterdam" and "New York" finished the program and evoked the hustle and bustle of the city on an expansive scale.
"New York" was written in New York in 1958. Hardin said, "When I wrote the words I didn't know they would come true. I ran away from all the noise I so Abhor. Before I left they told me I'd be back for more. So right they were!"
We're so glad he came back, and we're hoping the next time he returns, he visits his many friends in Candor and Owego. Hardin had to return to Germany on Sunday, Nov. 19 to go on a promotional tour of 3 new CDs of his music.