[Byron Society home page] [Other works by Danny]

... from the Obituary pages of The Byronic Intelligencer, 27th October 2052.

by Octavius Sackebutt-Mute, Music Critic, The Byronic Intelligencer.

It is with deep sadness that The Byronic Intelligencer announces the passing of the greatest composer working around the turn of the millenium, Steven Donizetti Hoey. Mr. Hoey, 90, was found in the jacuzzi suite in the west wing of his Gothic style mansion in North Beverly Hills late last night by his butler, Bumblejowl, who had brought Mr. Hoey's favourite nightcap of a pink champagne cocktail. However, the last person to see the composer alive was a chambermaid in his household, a Ms. Volumnia Fruttock, who was found astride Mr. Hoey in a dishevelled state, caused by her having been engaged for some time in frantic efforts to revive him, as was witnessed by the presence of some black silken cords and leather straps, a rahther large bucket of ice and diverse electrical apparatus. Unfortunately, her valiant and persistent efforts were in vain, although it must be of some consolation to Mr. Hoey's many admirers that he reportedly died with a very large smile on his face.

Steven D. Hoey was born to Elmer and Louise Hoey in the small midwestern town of Pebbleton, Illinois on March 2nd 1962. From his first days, music resounded joyfully throughout the Hoey lean-to. Elmer was the Pebbleton Bellringer and famed in the locale for his enthusiastic campanology. Louise was first boulder in a local variety act, Raymond Raimundo's Amazing Rock Orchestra, and something of an authority in bowing technique as applied to granitic limestone. However, times were hard and impervious, and the early Hoeyan musical aptitude evinced itself solely in his rhythmically percussive playing of his brothers' kneecaps. Nevertheless, one night, when he was five, Steve crept downstairs and was discovered playing an intricate and sophisticated solo on his mother's finest lump of schistous tufa. Astonished, his parents auditioned him for the prestigious Illinois Academy for Musically Gifted Brats, where he won the sought-after Frank I. Luntz scholarship, reserved uniquely for those demonstrating an intense devotion to developing and perfecting their organ.

Steve spent many happy years at the Academy under the tutelage of Dr. Leonard Nimoy, with whose son he was to work closely some three decades later on the soundtrack of the film Star Trek 37: The Return of Nrrzzlaccrinnarzlpppyt. However, Steve was eventually forced to leave the Academy under a cloud, having been caught indulging in a little extra-curricular bellringing with Dr. Nimoy's daughter, T'Pau.

Steve's fame nevertheless preceded him and he relented finally to Harvard's begging letters for him to enrol there. Though he kept his musical hand in, playing regularly with the Harvard Aeolian Artistes, Steve was swept up in the spirit of the 1980s and majored in the Socio-psychopathology of Moneymaking. A Marshmallow Scholarship to Trinity College, Oxford kept him nominally on this track, but his irrepressible genius enabled him to carry off both the Jamie Blandford Prize for Debauchery and the Anthony Blanche Memorial Prize for Leading a Conspicuously Opulent Lifestyle of Aesthetic Excellence. It was at Oxford that he forged the many strong friendships that he would spend most of his subsequent life bitterly regretting.

However, these and the following years as a management consultant at Olive's Wild Man & Company (where he was widely tipped ultimately to attain the position of Senior Vampire) were, musically speaking, creatively fallow. Then, in those months in 1993/4 referred to by Hoey's biographers as The Turning Point, he bravely threw out his lot with Mammon and threw in his hand with Orpheus. Despite such early masterpieces as The Olive's Wild Man March and the lyrical tone poems On a Cross-Channel Ferry Gently Rocking and the Jack the Ripper Suite, Hoey found the going tough and left his adopted homeland for the land of his birth, where he felt his richly diverse but essentially American musical idiom might, financially speaking, be more readily appreciated.

Hoey's early years in America were spent nomadically criss-crossing the nation in a Chevy Suburban van visiting friends and seeking musical inspiration, which poured forth in such works as (to name but a few) The Vermont Violin Concerto, The Montana March, The Florida Fugue, The Topeka Toccata, The Seattle Scherzo, The Nebraska Nocturne, The Scarsdale Serenade and The Denver Dirge. However recognition was still far on the horizon; although, in a sojourn with the advertising magnate Amanda Whitworth in Newport, Rhode Island one summer, Hoey, inspired by time spent with local fishermen, wrote his first widely acknowledged masterpiece, the wholly original homage to Aaron Copeland, Billy the Squid.

The shiny, sea-salty freshness of this work made its mark and before very long commissions were rolling in from the Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston and Chattanooga Symphony Orchestras, and to these richly fruitful years belong such wonderful works as the seminal Concerto for Wood Block and Kazoo, the warmly lyrical Winter Duvet Symphony, the challenging Variations on a Theme by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the folk-inspired Woodchoppin Quartet, the avant-garde oratorio Kevin, the neo-Mahlerian Songs of the Millenium Falling, the moving Massed Bagpipe Lament for Captain Kirk and the monumental if bittersweet opera Brideshead Regurgitated.

It was at this time that Steve met his wife, Carrie-Out, the scion of a great Philadelphia shopping family, who featured as the soloist in his Triumphal Concerto for Detuned Glockenspiel and Electromagnetic Orchestra, written for the Millenium Festival in Boston in December 1999. Thus began a long and fruitful relationship, both artistically and biologically.

Although he was by now a trans-globally renowned classical composer, Hoey's career in film music took a little longer to establish itself. As early as 1997, he had worked in collaboration with an Oxford friend, G.G. Croakley, on a gesamtmusikwerk based on Croakley's reworking of the Greek myths, The Niebelungenlied, The Njal Saga, The Bhagavad-Gita and the Beowulf story, amalgamated into a 21 hour experience entitled The Myth of Myths. The result, shot with a hand-held video camera with mono sound, was however more of a myth than a hit, even if it later attained cult status in cinemas on the campuses of those American colleges with a rather drug-oriented ethos. Nevertheless, an early indication of greater things was the memorable Budget Burlesque, commissioned as a corporate theme by the car rental tycoon Ann Lehman. Commissions started to pour in as the potential of Hoey's popular touch was realised, perhaps most strikingly from Taliente Industries Inc., the Italian Financial Services and Foods Conglomerate, for which Steve wrote the lilting Pasta Passacaglia.

However, the big breakthrough into Hollywood came with Hoey's lyrical, sensitive score for the film Chompers, a revisionist and politically correct movie about the trials and tribulations of an ageing great white shark. More work for the great studio Henreyfilms Inc. brought him the first of his three Oscars for his music for the blockbuster Morticia Rides Again, a sexy grand guignol romp about a latter-day witch's escapades in the new millenium.

Steve's artistic and financial successes enabled him to found his own studio, Gruesome Productions, and he left behind a rich musical and cinematic legacy with such works as I married a seven-foot Transylvanian Vampire, I divorced a seven-foot Transylvanian Vampire, Nightmare in Rose & Crown Cottage, Rose & Crown and Guildenstern are Dead, Night of the Living Oxford Dons, A Swedish Werewolf in Dusseldorf and Smellraiser.

Active to the last, Hoey gathered around him a large circle of young creative artists and was famous for enthusiastically reciprocating the affection they showed him. He leaves behind a sadly depleted wine cellar, his wife Carrie-Out (nee Plotzky-Napalm) and six sons, Johann, Sebastian, Wolfgang, Guiseppe, Igor and Aaron. He will be sorely missed, especially by those with a weak throwing arm.