As part of his college studies, my son was asked to research German influence on Irish society by an individual and I prepared some notes on a former professor of music at UCC, Aloys Fleischmann. Although born of German musical parents in Bavaria, Aloys Fleischmann was raised in Ireland as his father, also Aloys was one of a band of 50 or so church musicians brought to Ireland to invigorate Catholic liturgical music in Ireland. I met Prof. Fleischmann when I played with the Cork Symphony Orchestra
from 1988 to 1990 and these are my personal memories of this remarkable musician.
I was working in the Regional Hospital and each September I would
receive a call from the Professor to say rehearsals were starting and the
orchestra would assemble in a school hall somewhere on the outskirts
of Cork. I was alway surprised and impressed that he undertook this
task himself ina most cheerful manner and he obviously was involved in every aspect of running
this ensemble , and not merely waving the baton.
On arrival, Professor would greet me warmly, partly because he
mistook me for a viola player with a similar name and as always, this
instrument was in short supply . This had a strong influence on my
subsequent acquisition of a viola but sadly not soon enough for the
Cork Symphony Orchestra to benefit from the extension of my string
playing skills, but to my benefit and I remain grateful to him for
the encouragement in this direction. Professor would don a short brown
jacket like a shop keeper might wear and rehearse the orchestra. He
was always gracious and quite formal in his manner of addressing the
orchestra, which in an age of increasing informality, I liked. He was an unusual combination of highbrow and ordinary chap.
At the close of the rehearsal, two more burly members were required to push start his
battered car to get him on the road home. In my memory this was a more
frequent occurrence than perhaps it actually was .
To mark Professor Fleischmann's centenary in 2010, Michael Murphy of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick gave a lecture titled , Virtuosity,
Vehemence, Vigour which I think this is a good summary of this remarkable character.
It was followed by a performance of his work by Voices of Limerick and a convivial reception in the staff room. It was a lovely occasion attended by three of his
daughters and former associates of his at UCC .
My guest was Anne Considine who was a student of Fleischmann's mother, Tilly. herself a concert pianist
I often wonder what the Irish musical landscape would be like without
the influence of these European maestros like de Regge in Clare,
Fleischmann senior in Cork and Bewerunge in Kildare. Much poorer, I
have no doubt.