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Finding The High Brow In The 'ThunderCats' 07:15
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You'd think that a man passionate about composers like Stravinsky, and the art of contemporary chamber music, would never admit to writing music for a show about humanoid cat creatures. But no. Not Bernard Hoffer, the man behind the score for the classic 80's cartoon, the ThunderCats.

Writing the themes for cartoons "gave me the opportunity to work with the finest musicians in the world," says composer Bernard Hoffer. (AP Photo/HO/Courtesy of Warner Home Video)
Writing the themes for cartoons "gave me the opportunity to work with the finest musicians in the world," says composer Bernard Hoffer. (AP Photo/HO/Courtesy of Warner Home Video)

In the Thundercats score, says Hoffer, you hear the highest of high brow music composition.

"This was real music. And it was a combination of classical music superimposed over rock," says Hoffman. "I loved it."

So, that's the ThunderCats. I thought they'd be beside the point. But at the Boston Musica Viva rehearsal, as Hoffer placed felt mutes and lead weights onto the strings of a grand piano — the entire ensemble plays an exquisitely timed pizzicato in one of his compositions — Hoffer said writing commercial jingles and cartoon themes is exactly the point:

"It gave me the opportunity to work with the finest musicians in the world. So that if I wrote something the next day, I would hear it played live. Every day almost. Or sometimes six or seven times a week. You can't pay for that kind of experience."

In other words, it brought his music alive. Which is exactly the driving mission of Boston Musica Viva.

"This has to stay alive," he says. "This has to keep moving forward."

And the "this" is the work of living composers.

Guests:

  • Bernard Hoffer, composer
  • Richard Pittman, music director, Boston Musica Viva

More:

This program aired on November 17, 2011.

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