Last updated Tuesday May 11, 2021 at 19:15:34
13/09/10 - Neil Harrison's item on Oscar Alemán (I have the same double CD), a worthy rival to Django Reinhardt, leads me to ponder on those musicians who were in the same league as the superstars but never achieved the same recognition, perhaps lacking luck, determination, good health, opportunity, contacts and pushiness. It is said that Jabbo Smith was the equal of Louis Armstrong in the late twenties, and that Jimmy Harrison (not related to Neil, I understand) was the early trombonist par excellence. A number of musicians when asked to state their favourite players often quote names unfamiliar to the rest of us. On a Jack Teagarden CD there is a cornettist called Fred Greenleaf who sounds superb to me - anyone heard of him? And recently when You Tubing Howard Alden with George van Eps (the guitarists' guitarist) I've watched A Beautiful Friendship and Just You, Just Me with accompanying drummer Jake Hanna (recently departed) and bassist Dave Stone. Dave sounds brilliant to me - I haven't encountered anyone familiar with his work. I daresay that as a percussionist Moe Green could confirm that the little-known Horst Kitzinfangel was possibly the world's second best triangle player". - John Muskett
13/09/10 - "Hi Fred, I read with interest John Muskett's letter regarding musicians unknown to us who for whatever reason never showed up on our radar. My cause celebre is a drummer called Bob Conselmann who hailed from Chicago. I have a 1928 recording with Benny Goodman and he is as good as any white drummer at that time. He sounds a lot like Krupa. I also have a 1933 recording of him with Jack Teagarden. After that nothing. Did he die young, pack it in, who knows ? Regarding Horst Kitzinfangel I would go so far as to say that he is the world's leading triangle player. Some people say that honour belongs to Pierre LeGoolie but Horst also plays a mean tambourine which seems beyond LeGoolie's talents". - Moe Green.
I am indebted to John Muskett for the additional information on Horst Kitzingfangel. Of course I knew that Horst had died in 1986 but as John rightly surmises I was using the present tense as a mark of respect as I do with all great artists who are deceased. I was aware of Horst's illustrious career in the Baroque Music world and also in more modern pieces-- who could forget his sterling performance in Skoda's ' Thus Spake Sara Wooster' ? -- but I am intrigued by John's mention of a jazz trio. Although Horst never married there were rumours that he had had a relationship with a friend of his sister from the laundry (scene of that unfortunate accident ) and the friendship had produced a son. I remember when I lived in London in the 60's there was talk among musicians of an amazing triangle player called Kenny Kitzingfangel. I once went to The Busted Drum in Stockwell as I had heard on the grapevine that Kenny would be there. A person was pointed out to me but unfortunately he was too drunk to make much sense. He was about 6'6" exceedingly thin and I noticed he had very dainty hands. Triangle hands. He seemed obsessed about someone who appeared close to him and at one point grabbed my jacket and cried ' why has he forsaken his instrument to dabble in political satire and paintings of his mother ? ' If this was indeed a reference to his father it could mean that Horst actually is buried in St. Nicholas ( Chiswick ) with the two people that he admired albeit in an unmarked grave. If this is true then we must leave it to others to unearth the facts about the final years of this great though enigmatic artist.
"Both John Muskett and Moe Green are wrong", says Jeff Roberts, no doubt with a wry smile. " A cursory search of Ancestry Re-united shows that the world class triangle player Horst Kitzinfangel was born in Bermuda, from where he mysteriously disappeared some years ago. Please put the record straight!".
I have it on good authority that he spent some time in the Basque country during the 1930s, where he played in a band led by a local trumpet palyer, Mugs Espania.
Full marks to Phil Yates for the in depth research. However the musician he refers to is from European and not Bermudian ancestry. In fact a Horst of a different colour.
Horse Kitzingfangel was the one who played the whinney on Mugs Espania's recording of 'Livery Stable Blues'. -
Mr. Muskett raises an interesting point when he mentions the composer Skoda being related to Alexander Skoda the film director. I am fairly certain Horst K. was in the studio orch. that recorded the music for one of Alexander Skoda's classic films. Hence the title ' Tings to Come '
Regarding Gerhardt's son serving in the Austrian Navy and later on the Bremen there must have been nautical connections in the family because I have discovered Horst senior wrote a sea shanty entitled ' Horst's Vessel Song ' Unfortunately this was appropriated by the followers of a certain Austrian corporal and could well be one of the reasons for Horst's rapid departure from that country Luckily he managed to bring with him his priceless collection of early 17th. century triangles some of which can be seen at the Symphonic Hall of International Triangles in Baden Baden.
Thanks to John Musket for clearing up the Bermuda anomaly re-Horst. However I can find no trace of Horst's movements after 1930 save for a reference in the Liverpool Maritime Museum to the maiden voyage of the S.S. Mularkey where it notes 'music provided by H. Kitzingfangel and his Idiophone All Stars'. Sadly their repertoire was somewhat limited and repetetive, so much so that they were discharged in New York to make their own way home or in life. It seems that Horst took himself to Hollywood where he befriended the Marx Brothers. A reference in Groucho's memoirs refers to a fancy dress party where he says ' took my new pal H after his tonsillectomy dressed as a pony. Took great joy in telling everyone that he wouldn't say much----he's a little Horst! 'Now as Horst was barely much over five feet two tall, the jigsaw piece fits.
There is some evidence, albeit apocryphal, that Groucho wanted to name the film they were working on at the time after him but this was vetoed by the others. Perhaps as well, 'Horst Feathers' would never have been a box office hit. I think Horst did appear in the film though as close examination of the band scenes shows a shadowy figure next to the drums playing what appears to be a muted soprano scalene triangle. If one listens very closely to Chico Marx's piano solo of Fred Warings fine tune 'Collegiate', I swear an obtuse triangle can be heard in the final coda. More details of the missing years from anyone would be a revelation.
05/10/10 - It's becoming more and more apparent that work is drying up for musicians. How else could they find time to send me all these Horst Kitzingfangel stories? More have arrived today.
11/10/10 - Hello Fred,
I have been endeavoring to conduct some research into Horst Kitzinfangel's ancestry. I was getting nowhere until I came across a tattered copy of a treatise concerning the effect of irritability and prostitution on jazz ' Whining Strumpets ' by Ruby Blush. I would like to quote a passage from her chapter on Buddy Bolden; ' in the summer of 1931 I was visiting the home of the blues guitarist Blind Phew in Moose Dropping Missouri. He showed me a faded copy of the famous photo of the Bolden Orch. It was some moments before I realized that there was an extra musician in the group and that he was holding what was undoubtedly a tenor triangle.
When I excitedly questioned Blind Phew about this all he could say was that the musician was a great fan of classical music and had apparently emigrated to Europe to follow his career. Bolden who, even then, was exhibiting signs of mental breakdown had, in a furious rage, demanded that all record of this musician be destroyed. Blind Phew would not part with the photo and it has since vanished ' Make of that what you will but is it possible that the great Horst K. is descended from slaves ? Regarding his time in Hollywood I believe he approached Hal Roach with an idea for a script about two people trying to deliver a giant triangle to a house up an immense flight of stairs but I don't know if anything came of this.
The mention of a tetrahedron reminds me that in the late 50's Horst reportedly took up with Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman and experimented with a octahedron but apparently this was too difficult even for his talents. Hope that this helps.
Yes, John is right as Horst did indeed take on an alias but at sometime before 1941 he reverted to his real name. Scanning through back copies of 'Variety' I notice that in that year he appears as interviewee for the job of musical director on the film 'Citizen Kane', directed by Horston Welles. It seems he was narrowly beaten for the post by the leading French conductor Blanche Carte, thus proving that you can put the Carte before the Horst! Is there any truth in the rumor that Horst wrote and first recorded a version of 'My Ting--a-Ling?'
"He was also signed up to appear in The Four Horstmen of
Since that time the koalas have been increasingly worried, and their apprehension is easily passed on to anyone who tries to console them, as the picture below makes clear.
I wonder if anyone can shed any light on the whereabouts of a triangle that vanished from the collection of International Triangles in the 1930's It was reputedly stolen on Herman Goering's orders for his art collection. I refer of course to the Rubber Triangle that was famously used during the first performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 94 to pacify a drunken oboe player. This resulted in the sudden fortissimo chord in the second movement and it became known as the ' Surprise Symphony ' ( certainly for the oboe player ). Without wishing to boast I have in my collection a record on the French Odeon label by a quartet calling themselves Three Tings and a Tang playing ' The Hypotenuse Square Dance ' which clearly shows the influence of the great Horst himself.
Whilst doing research on the origin and history of readers' help columns I came across the obituary of Angst Kintzinfangel who was an aunt of Horst and contributed regularly to the "Tagischer Arbeiter". It mentioned that she had herself first encountered anxiety when as a maths student
in Frankfurt she had tried grilling local sausages instead of boiling them. Her problem was that when the sausage was cooked on one side, and then turned, it always rolled back on to the cooked side causing it to burn.
Dear Fred, I was fascinated by Mike Pembroke's piece about Horst Kitzingfangel and particularly his aunt Angst's seemingly unsuccessful venture into marketing her Isosoges Triangles: On a recent gig in Nuuk with a spin-off group of the Northern Dance Orchestra, I found an all-night snack bar selling Isosoges sausage sandwiches. I was lucky really because the cafe was just closing for the day.
A few scattered Horst jottings: Horst was a great traveller for music and for pleasure. He enjoyed several trips to Ireland, and when in Dublin stayed at Mrs O'Rourke's in the Lower Baggot (he called her his baggot-elle), convenient for visits to O'Donoghue's Bar where he liked to hear Ronnie Drew (and The Dubliners) sing The Auld Triangle.
For relaxation the English Lakeland was his favourite area: often he went with fellow percussionist Simon Hottentot ("Cymbal Simon") and he liked best of all to stand out on the slopes and peer down to Horstwater. Horst loved walking the fells and usually repaired to a pub at the end of the day where, despite his weak and croaky voice, he would regale the locals with selections from White Horst Inn. He felt obliged to supplement his musical earnings with sponsorship from two organisations with which he identified very strongly - the Youth Hostel Association and the Bass Brewery; it was with great pride that he sported their logo-emblazoned cagoules.
In addition to those lands listed by other scribes, his musical travels took him to the Middle East, on one occasion with sister Greta, on holiday from the laundry. She attracted much attention from one of the local potentates who wished to add her to his harem, but Greta was not compliant: truly she was a sheikh-proof washer.
The linking, by
Jeff Roberts and Phil Yates, of clarinet maestro Bunty and Horst
Kitzinfangel has reminded me of another of Horst's great passions:
photography. In the late 1930s Horst had set sail for the USA with
one of the early Leica 35mm cameras and two rolls of colour film,
only recently commercially available . Hoping to enlarge on the work
of Milt Hinton he determined, on arrival in New York, to test his
apparatus by photographing musicians in action.
I am glad that Mr. Muskett has revived the H. K. debate as I know a little about the Staten Island sessions. The reason for the session over running was that Horst, tiring of his obsession with colour had started to venture into what he called culinary compositions. Unfortunately by this time the musicians had had enough of Horst's fantasies and the only tunes performed were, "Pie Liner", "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", "Clarinet Marmalade" and "Eggcentric Rag".
By this time Horst was getting a reputation as a bit of a nutter and the boat ride back to Manhattan was conducted in stony silence. On arriving back at the Pier Horst bought a hot dog and announced that he was going to transpose the object into a symphony. Obtaining some condiments and looking at his surroundings he said he would call the work " A Salt on Battery " At which point the musicians slunk away.
Hello Fred, Cruciverbalists may be pleased to learn that the ghost of Horst Kitzinfangel has completed the prize cryptic crossword (with a 'T' theme) in last Saturday's Guardian (24 March). Harmoniously".
Did it really take the Ghost of Horst Kitzinfangel three days to do the T crossword? (26/03/12). I'm surprised. I think I did it in less than an hour; but I didn't have a gig on Saturday!
Hello Fred, Of course it didn't take Horst's ghost three days to complete the Guardian's T themed crossword, but he solves the Sudoku, Killer and Futoshiki first. The delay is entirely the fault of his amanuensis (and your present scribe) who is nowhere near as nimble in thought or deed and was also attending over the weekend in question to musical matters and entertaining family visitors. Harmoniously
Hi Fred, Your recent 'Page of the week' reminded me of a strange occurrence that happened some months ago. Needing to replace ageing double glazing, I contacted some local firms. All were busy and couldn't fit me in until well into 2017. Wanting it done yesterday, I contracted a' one man operation 'who duly arrived next day. To say he was strange is an understatement, dressed in a faded' zoot' suit and sporting an overlarge fedora he certainly cut a bizarre figure. I also noticed that whilst talking to me he was constantly playing with something under his coat, something producing a peculiar ringing sound. Not wishing to explore things further! we discussed terms and arranged a date to start which he duly did. His work was impeccable and finished ahead of schedule and I was more than pleased with the results, so much so that I gave him a worthwhile bonus. He accepted gratefully and shambled off with a 'thanks guv, I'll send you a Xmas card' Weeks after he had gone however, I noticed that in certain lights, barely perceptible were various type faces etched into the glass! Yes I should have complained but they were rather beautifully done so I have left them (they make an interesting talking point) and forgot the matter.
Two weeks ago I received an unsigned Xmas card
with this enigmatic message written on it - GLAZIERS THINK FONT. Being a
crossword and anagram addict and prompted by Page of the Week, I looked at the
message again. Surely my workman couldn't have been ......... or could it? -
Worryingly yours - Jeff Roberts
Jeff Roberts’ glazier is
surely the grandson of our Horst, being the son of Kenny (Kenton) referred to by
the Blessed Moe Green. Further research suggests that the partner (name unknown)
in Horst’s liaison was also musical, as the following limerick hints: “There was
a young lady from Kenton, Who had a straight arm and a bent ‘un. So the bagpipes
she learned, And good money was earned, At the music hall stages she went on”.
Kenny appears to have fathered two offspring – young Horst and Gerda, a girl of
iron constitution. Wishing to throw light on the work of their forebears (no
Goldilocks) they both took up the Glass Harmonica, with result that Horst
(junior) could combine business with pleasure. I’m surprised that Jeff wasn’t a
quicker tumbler to Horst’s real identity, but maybe his frosted appearance
blurred the perception. With glazier Horst using a nom-de-plume, perhaps the
font mention is also a reference to his baptismal name. Gerda, incidentally,
performed at the end of the variety era and then at working men’s clubs using
the stage name of Crystal Stuart.
Many thanks to John Musket for clearing up the
enigma surrounding my glazier. On one of the days Young Horst did bring with him
a veritable Brunhilda of a woman to help complete the heavy jobs. Chatting in
the tea breaks, it seems she had once been married to a Fred Loins , Estate
Manager to the Marquis of Bath, thus making her one of the Loins of Longleat. It
also meant one could tell her to Gerda Loins without embarrassment!
- John Muskett has been digging back into Horst's past.
Belatedly I have come across
information on triangulist Horst Kitzinfangel’s early life - influences and
first instrument. His father was a wheel tapper for the Austrian Railways, and
young Horst often accompanied Dad to work on school-free Saturdays. In the early
days wheels were wooden and the percussive sound produced by tapping did not
strike a chord with young Horst, or he might have become a xylophonist.
(Incidentally when, much later, he lived in Chiswick, he was friendly with the
grandson of the artist Johann Zoffany, a resident of nearby Strand-on-The-Green.
In his honour Horst wrote a ditty “Zoffany the Xylophonist” which, which after
several pints of Fuller’s London Pride, he would perform on Saturday nights at
The Dove in Hammersmith.)
11/05/21 - Lovely to catch up on dear old Horst's travels from John Muskett but how many of us realize that Horst had a big part to play in our everyday safety?
It came about thus:-Horst had given up playing jazz and was working with The Three Degrees on their Japanese tour but was sacked one night for over improvising on his solos. However, in the audience that very night was Mei Ting, conductor of the Tokyo Philarmonic Orchestra who was so impressed by Horst that he invited him to play the triangle solo in a forthcoming concert of Franz List's piano concerto No 1 in E flat major.
Horst was overjoyed but the concert wasn't for several months and Horst was broke so he secured a job with the Tokyo Highways Department as a general handyman. Here fate steps in, for whilst repairing a broken window, he took a quick break to practise and eager to keep his instrument in tip-top condition he coated it in oil to preserve the shine and tone. Absent mindedly he placed it on top of a sheaf of traffic signs that were there, inadvertently enclosing them in a black triangle shape. Mortified he reported the error to the departmental head expecting immediate dismissal but it seems that teams had been working for weeks to find some way of effective presentation for warning signs and the black triangle was the solution.
The rest they say is history and to all you anagramatical experts
don't forget 'glaziers think font
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