A radio programme-maker asks: Do you recall ‘Hiawatha’ at the Albert Hall, or elsewhere?

Native American dream catcherAndrew Green writes:
Can you help?   In this, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s centenary legacy year (2012), I’ll be fulfilling a long-held ambition to make a radio programme focusing on the famous Albert Hall ‘Hiawatha’ performances of the 1920s and 30s – the high-point in Coleridge-Taylor’s recognition as a composer of real worth.

My task now is to find as many people as I can with memories of these occasions – first-hand if at all possible, but second-hand will still be interesting (“My father used to tell me about going to the Albert Hall performances in great detail……” – the sort of stories Richard Gordon-Smith recalls here).
Can anyone help me to find these stories?

Equally, I’m keen to run to ground artefacts that will help bring the story alive. Is any of the scenery still around…..maybe a wigwam….maybe costumes, not least as worn by those famous so-named ‘Indian braves’!!!  And of course photos and newspaper cuttings can help as well.

Are there any memories out there of the performances which were taken outside London….in Scarborough and Sheffield, or wherever?

And a very long shot – who knows anything of productions outside the UK – in Australia, for example?

Anyone who’s been involved in concert performances of this music may have interesting things to say.

Lastly, I’m expecting to set the Albert Hall performances in the context of the huge general public interest in Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha well before and long after the Albert Hall productions:
Who remembers being made to recite or act out the verse when at school? Who knows of other music inspired by the poetry?

There must be many stories to be told. I look forward to hearing them! Thank you.
Andrew Green

Contact Andrew by email

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1 Response to A radio programme-maker asks: Do you recall ‘Hiawatha’ at the Albert Hall, or elsewhere?

  1. NT Bogdanov’s adaptation of Hiawatha delights both children & adults in the Olivier

    Hi, this is a quote from the National Theatre London website listing its best loved shows. In 1980 I took my much younger brother Lawrence to the show and remember dancing around a wigwam – ie not much! My mother wrote to thank me in a letter saying how vividly impressed with the show Lawrence had been. (I still have the letter somewhere.) Lawrence was 9 years old at the time. It would be nice to see the show revived or an accurate DVD produced. I may just get to the Thelma production in the Fairfield Halls later this week, out of curiousity.

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