I have long had a particular interest in recorder iconography, the representation of recorders and similar instruments in works of art through the ages. There is much to learn from this survey, which is freely available on this website (Lander 1996–2021), but there is also much to enjoy.
Recently, I stumbled across a delightfully silly collection of coloured postcards depicting anthropomorphic cats in all sorts of common situations, first published in Switzerland in the years leading up to the second world war. Amongst this extensive suite of images, two feature recorders. The images themselves were the creation of the Swiss painter, muralist, theatre set designer and children’s book illustrator Eugen Hartung (Wäldi, 1897 – Zürich, 1973). In addition to his cats, Eugen Hartung also painted postcards with mice, dogs and even hedgehogs in a similar style.
Cats Flute Lesson, coloured postcard (lithograph), Eugen Hartung (1897–1973).
Published by Verlag Max Künzli, Zürich, Nr. 4757.
In a classroom, a feline music teacher conducts his recorder band of eight cool cats, who are watched by a trio of appreciative mice. It crossed my mind that the composition the cats are playing might be by Aram Cataturian. And I think those rodents are in for a shock when the lesson is over.
Cats Music Practice, printed postcard (lithograph), Eugen Hartung (1897–1973).
Published by Verlag Max Künzli, Zürich, Nr. 4929.
A piano-playing mother cat conducts a quintet of three young cats and two kittens playing double bass, violin, guitar and two recorders. I wonder if the music they are playing is by Claude DePussy.
If you would like to learn more about Eugen Hartung and his cats and other beasts then the website maintained by Thomas Städeli (2019) will keep you amused for hours.
- Lander, Nicholas S. 1996–2021. Recorder Home Page: Iconography. Accessed 26 April 2021. https://www.recorderhomepage.net/recorder-iconography/
- Städeli, Thomas. 2019. “Eugen Hartung (1897–1973).” Collector’s Homepage, Autogramme & Autographen. Accessed 26 April 2021. http://cyranos.ch/hartun01.htm
Cite this article as: Lander, Nicholas S. 1996–2021. Recorder Home Page: Snippets: Cats Chorus. Last accessed 24 September 2021. https://www.recorderhomepage.net/snippets/cats-chorus/