Walker Art Gallery – Artwork of the Month – August, 2006
‘Loophonium’, by Fritz Spiegl
About the artwork
The perfect Surrealist work of art was once described as the marriage of an umbrella and a bicycle on a dissecting table. This is the marriage of a euphonium and a lavatory. Why were these two inventions joined together? It was done for a concert of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on April Fools’ Day 1960, at which the instrument was played. The man who did it was the orchestra’s principal flautist Fritz Spiegl.
Fritz was born at Zurndorf in Austria in 1926. His family were Jewish, and after Hitler marched into Austria in 1938, Fritz was fortunately sent to England. He arrived at the age of 13 knowing no English, but he learned fast. He was also good at making things – while he was still at school, one of his designs was published in a model-making magazine – for an aeroplane that carried another aeroplane on its back. So when he left school he went to technical college. After college his first job was as a graphic designer working for an advertising agency. At this point he met a young lady who played the flute, and this got him started on the instrument. He took to it like a duck to water, and got a place at the Royal College of Music. While still studying at the college, he was appointed Principal Flute of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 1948.
Free gallery talks Tuesday 4 and Thursday 24 July, 1-1.30pm.