A Small Tribute to Louis A. Hirsch September 09 2014

A Small Tribute to Louis A. Hirsch

It always amazes me that we seem to know more of the composers who lived more than three hundred years ago than the talents that scored one after another Broadway hit at the beginning of the twentieth century.

One of those talents was New Yorker Louis A. Hirsch. After studying piano in Berlin he returned in 1906 to New York to become one of America’s best and most famous theatre composers. You might know him from The Gay White Way, Miss Innocence or The Girl and the Wizard. His first major success was Vera Violetta (1911), which made Al Jolson a star.

During World War I, Hirsch contributed songs to four editions of the revues of Florenz (Flo) Ziegfeld. Ziegfeld was Broadway impresario who staged a series of theatrical revues known as The Ziegfeld Follies, including "Sweet Kentucky Lady" and "Hello Frisco!". Here at Salonmusic.org we are working an arrangement of the latter. Another well known song of Hirsch, The Tickle Toe, is available for string quartet.

Being one of the first to recognize the hazards of smoking, Hirsch refused to sit next to a cigar smoker at the Yankee game at the Polo Grounds and changed seats with his brother. An officious usher – the ones you find in Disney World nowadays - ordered him to switch back. Hirsch refused and was forcibly ejected from the stands.

Hirsch died far too young of pneumonia at the age of 36.

Lets not forget him and enjoy his music in our time...