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On Monday 28 May 2018 (the day of Moore’s birth in 1779), Sarah McCleave will introduce the resources of project ERIN in a public talk, “Thomas Moore in the digital age: music, illustrations, stories”, as part of the ‘Meet the Music Series’ for Queen’s University Belfast. This will take place at 19:00 in the Old McMordie Hall, Music (University Square, Belfast). Sound files, image banks, OMEKA exhibitions, and the scope of the forthcoming catalogue will be introduced to those present. ALL are welcome; admission is free; no tickets or advance reservations are required.

ERIN was co-funded by the ‘Horizon 2020′ Framework of the European Commission.

An interesting indication of Thomas Moore’s reputation is discovered by consulting historical newspapers. The Belfast Newsletter, as the major source of news and reviews for the city of Belfast since 1828, offers a view of Moore’s profile in a neighbouring city to his birth-place of Dublin. It’s notable that coverage during Moore’s life was more often confined to short references in passing to him, but the final decades of the nineteenth century yielded a few detailed considerations, including a substantial article, “RECOLLECTIONS OF THE POET MOORE”, apparently written by one who had met the poet  in 1830 through an acquaintance struck with Moore’s sister Ellen:

…  I learned she was Miss Ellen Moore, a sister of the  famous Thomas; and great I remember was my gratification when I received one evening an invitation to drink tea with her. … Upon a certain evening I observed preparations being carried on for an entertainment of a more pretentious character; and I learned that Mr. Thomas Moore, having arrived that morning in Dublin, was expected to join our company. A large party was assembled to meet him. I must own to feeling great astonishment at his appearance, as, if his sister was small, he was smaller still-that is, for a man. He was what Charles Dickens would have called a “mite.” He came into the room on tiptoe, at a sort of run, with his head thrown back; and first he kissed his sister Ellen most affectionately, then he kissed nearly every other pretty girl he could get at. His manner was delightfully frank, genial, and winning. He was full of the gossip of the day, and looked like a well-to-do little gentleman who had no other occupation except amusing himself. …  In society it was almost impossible to get at him: for he was generally the centre of a perfect galaxy of petticoats. All the prettiest women seemed to fondle and caress him, and treat him much as they would a large wax doll; but when he sang, as he did on that particular evening, two of his famous melodies, the “Last Rose of Summer.” and “Oft in the stilly Night” there was a sensation, a flatter, and a tendency to hysterical emotion instantly perceptible …  I cannot attempt to describe either the singing or its electrical effect …

The writer continues by affirming Moore’s standing within Dublin high society at the time:

He was in prodigious request at that time, I remember, in Dublin. The Marchioness of Normandy used to send her carriage to fetch him out for airings in the Phoenix Park, and he was continually receiving invitations to dine with the Lord Lieutenant, or Lord Morpeth, then the Secretary. A covered car, which is a species of conveyance peculiar to Dublin, used to fetch him to these entertainments …

Moore’s reputation extended to his person, for according to this account

In all the relations of private life Mr. Moore’s conduct was unexceptionable ; a better husband, a kinder father never existed; and he allowed his only sister, at whose house I made his acquaintance, out of his own slender income, sufficient for her comfortable support. … –Belgravia

(Belfast Newsletter, 29 December 1874)

Moore was still a subject of academic interest in Belfast over forty years after his death. Reporting on the second of a series of four lectures on Ireland’s contribution  delivered by the Rev. C. E. Pike at the First Presbyterian Church, Holywood, the Belfast Newsletter (10 January 1898) recorded the following claim:

Moore is a lyrical poet, and he is one of the greatest of our lyrical poets. No one can read ” The Irish Peasant to his Mistress,” or that weird pathetic wail, ” 0, ye Dead,” without perceiving that though Moore uses English and purer English he has filled it with a passion which is not English; which is rather the transmitted feeling of a long-subjugated race, which has suffered in mute patience, and found consolation in dreams.

This affirmation of Moore’s Irishness – not universally perceived in the decades following his death -  is an interesting facet of his posthumous reputation.

All newspaper quotes sourced from https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/, 29 April 2018.

Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh inspired dozens of songs by composers in Europe and America, dating from 1817 into the later Victorian period. James Power (d. 1836), who held the copyright over Thomas Moore’s music, seems to have encouraged or accepted material suitable for the domestic music market from a number of professional and amateur musicians, the most intriguing of who is one Lady Flint. Her Five Songs and a Duet, issued by Power on or around 1818, sets six song lyrics from within Moore’s ‘Oriental Romance’, including:

  • ‘Bendemeer’s Stream’ (Zelica’s song to her beloved Azim in ‘The Veiled Prophet’);
  • a duet for soprano and tenor, ‘Oh fair as the Sea-flower’  (“Farewell to thee, Araby’s daughter”), which is the Peri’s farewell to the drowned Arabian princess Hinda of ‘The Fire-Worshippers’;
  • ‘Namouna’s song’ (“I know where the winged visions dwell”), sung by the benevolent sorceress in ‘The Light of the Harem’ as she casts a spell to bring sleep to the love-lorn Nourmahal;
  • (“From Cindara’s warbling fount I come”- rendered by one of Namouna’s charmed spirits to the sleeping Nourmahal – promises the odalisque that her lover will return to dote  at her feet;
  • “There’s a bliss beyond all that the Minstrel has told” and “Fly to the Desert, fly to me” are subsequently sung by a hidden Nourmahal to her estranged lover Selim, who is so utterly enchanted that the two are thoroughly reconciled.

COPAC records but one other published composition by Lady Flint: ‘C’est mon ami : rendez-le moi’, a ‘Romance’ that begins:”Ah! s’il est dans notre village” and was written by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian (1755-94). Indeed, as a figure she would remain utterly shadowy to us if it were not for the  raconteur Captain Rees Howell Gronow (1794-1865), an officer in the Welsh Grenadiers and man about town whose Reminiscences and and Recollections [about]  the camp, clubs, court and society, 1810-1860 tells us

Among those of the fashionable world in London who patronised music … no one was more conspicuous than Lady Flint; whose charming concerts, given generally on Sunday at her house in Birdcage Walk, delighted all who had musical tastes and enjoyed the honour of an invitation. (London: John Nimmo, 1900, vol. 2, p. 267)

Gronow continues with an anecdote about the disruptive effect of noisy tea-drinkers on the musicians at one such event, establishing that the repertory performed included  violin concerto by Beethoven. Lady Flint counted among those who would perform at her concerts some of the leading London musicians of the day- including the acclaimed pianist-composers Jan Ladislav Dussek and Johann Baptiste Cramer, the “celebrated” violinist Giovanni Battista Viotti, and the double-bassist Domenico Dragonetti. From this one small anecdote we catch a glimpse of a woman of taste and discernment whose exposure to the best music and musicians of her day surely inspired her own imaginative responses to Moore’s lyrics.

Project ERIN is pleased to make available a recording from Lady Flint’s Five Songs, including a performance by BMUS students (graduating class of 2017) of the duet, “Farewell to thee Araby’s Daughter”

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The performers are: Courtney Burns, soprano; Matthew Campbell, tenor; Poppy Wheeler, flute; Linzi Jones, violin; Jenny Garrett, piano.

 

In an earlier blog post, Tríona O’Hanlon announced the immediate airing of  the ERIN radio documentary “An oriental romance: Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh” on RTÉ Lyric. An icloud account for this recording is now available at:

Technician & Technical Assistant: Dr David Bird (QUB), Oisín Hughes (QUB)

Producer & Presenter: Claire Cunningham (Rockfinch Ltd.)

 

This documentary, which marked the 200th anniversary of the first edition, includes excerpts of rarely-heard music inspired by Thomas Moore’s ‘oriental romance’. Mezzo soprano Helen Aiken and pianist Aoife O’Sullivan perform works by Victorian composer John Francis Barnett, the American Moravian composer George Klemm, as well as from the work that launched Robert Schumann as a composer of substance – Das Paradies und die Peri (1843). The reception of the first Irish performance of this work is discussed by Anja Bunzel, a recent PhD candidate of NUI Maynooth. We hear the mezzo soprano Martha O’Brien rehearsing Mozart-student Thomas Attwood’s cantata “Her hands were clasp’d” with O’Sullivan and Sinéad Campbell-Wallace of the Dublin Institute of Technology. Martha later performs George Kiallmark’s “Farewell to thee Araby’s Daughter” from an original edition issued by Moore’s publisher James Power. BMUS students from Queen’s University of Belfast (flautists Poppy Wheeler and Ciara Jackson, accompanied by Jenny Garrett on piano)  perform an arrangement of Sir John Stevenson’s tender response to Moore’s “‘Twas his own voice”- a text that marks a pivotal moment in the story of the star-crossed lovers Hinda and Hafed. Further contributions on  Moore’s ‘oriental romance’ itself and its cultural context are provided by Drs Daniel Roberts,   Sarah McCleave, and Tríona O’Hanlon (Queen’s University Belfast), while librarians Síobhan Fitzpatrick (Royal Irish Academy) and Gerry Long (National Library of Ireland) discuss works by Moore in their collections; the Royal Irish Academy possesses a significant portion of Moore’s own library, which is available for consultation.

 

 

 

 

On Monday 28 May 2018 (the day of Moore’s birth in 1779), Sarah McCleave will introduce the resources of project ERIN in a public talk, “Thomas Moore in the digital age: music, illustrations, stories”, as part of the ‘Meet the Music Series’ for  Queen’s University Belfast. This will take place at 19:00 in the Old McMordie Hall, Music (University Square, Belfast). Sound files, image banks, and the catalogue will be introduced to those present. (The catalogue now has 500 of a projected circa 800 publications entered into it.) ALL are welcome and no tickets are required.

Peri with dead lovers.Jones and Warren

Peri with dead lovers.Jones and Warren

Image courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Queen’s University Belfast

Readers of the blog are reminded that the image banks (four collections) and associated narrative online exhibitions are already available  (http://omeka.qub.ac.uk/). NEWLY available are the texts and powerpoints from four presentations undertaken by Triona O’Hanlon and Sarah McCleave during May-June 2017: see the Queen’s University Belfast open access institutional repository, https://pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/sarah-mccleave ['Publications' 2017].

Future posts of the blog in 2018 will make available some  recordings of the Irish Melodies featuring young singers from the BMUS at Queen’s; we will also offer features on particular pieces which can be traced across project ERIN’s resources.

 

Project ERIN, through the OMEKA exhibition ‘Music to Moore’s Irish Melodies in Dublin and London’ (http://omeka.qub.ac.uk/exhibits/), documents the manner in which the Irish Melodies were reissued with new piano accompaniments once the copyright for the original series had expired. In all these publications Moore’s original poetry is preserved, although there is on occasion some editing of the rhythms of his melodies — which we might note were already carefully adapted by Moore from the normally instrumentally-orientated versions that were available to him. Our OMEKA exhibition ‘Moore’s Irish Melodies in Europe’ traces the publication of collected editions of Moore’s lyrics across space (Europe) and time (between 1808-1880). Most editions of the lyrics alone are in English, and faithfully preserve Moore’s poetry. The translations in Latin (Nicholas Torre) and Irish (John MacHale Archbishop of Tuam) retain the poetic form and style of Moore’s original, while Louise Swanton Belloc’s translation of these lyrics into French are rendered as prose paraphrases of the original.  Moore’s Irish Melodies also inspired purely instrumental arrangements of the tunes he had selected, where the tribute to Moore is indicated by preserving either his title or incipit- as was the case with George Schultz’s The favorite Irish melody Fly not yet, arranged as a rondo for the harp (London, c. 1815), or William Vincent Wallace’s pianoforte variations, Last Rose of Summer (London, 1846).

Given the strong association of the poet with the series, it may seem surprising that some of the responses to Moore’s Irish Melodies were in the way of songs preserving the tunes of the original but offering new lyrics. One such example was Music for the Million: consisting of the words and music with accompaniments for the piano-forte flute violin &c. of the most popular & standard songs … including …  new versions of the celebrated Irish Melodies by William Leman Rede, Esq. Issued in London by Berger of Holywell Street circa 1850, this volume included no fewer than 24 of ‘Moore’s’ Irish Melodies, with new lyrics by Rede himself or his sister, Mary Leman Rede. These often seemed to draw close inspiration from Moore’s original: for example, Moore’s  “Oh! Breathe not his name” (widely understood as an ode to the late Robert Emmett) inspired Rede’s “Oh! Come to the tomb”, which tells of a devoted friend in mourning. The Musical Bijou, an Album of Music, Poetry and Prose, was edited by F.H. Burney and issued annually by the London-based firm Goulding & D’Almaine between 1839 and 1845. Some volumes contain tributes to Moore’s Irish Melodies by offering fresh arrangements as solo songs or duets with entirely new lyrics — often written by one D. Ryan. Ryan (as did the siblings Rede), drew closely on the sentiments of Moore’s original lyrics – taking  ‘The Meeting of the Waters’, Moore’s tribute to friendship and its power to forge fond memories of a place – and rendering it as a duet with the title,‘The Home of Contentment’:

By the side of a fountain embosom’d in trees

Where the wild rose entices the kiss of the bees,

There lies with its blue smoke ascending above

My dear home of contentment, of Friendship and Love

My dear Home of contentment, of Friendship and Love.

D. Ryan, in The Musical  Bijou (1841), p. 36 (1st verse only)

 

 

 

On Saturday 17 June Dr Sarah McCleave and Dr Tríona O’Hanlon presented the plenary lecture at the 2017 SMI Conference, Queen’s University Belfast. The title of the lecture is Project ERIN and the Response of European Composers to Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh. The lecture provides a case study of Spontini’s Lalla Rookh, an overview of Project ERIN and its outputs. You may listen to the second part of the lecture, delivered by Dr Sarah McCleave, here.

 

On Saturday 17 June Dr Sarah McCleave and Dr Tríona O’Hanlon presented the plenary lecture at the 2017 SMI Conference, Queen’s University Belfast. The title of the lecture is Project ERIN and the Response of European Composers to Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh. The lecture provides a case study of Spontini’s Lalla Rookh, an overview of Project ERIN and its outputs. You may listen to the first part of the lecture, delivered by Dr Tríona O’Hanlon, here. The second part, delivered by Dr Sarah McCleave, will be uploaded in our next blog on 8 October.

 

 

The ERIN radio documentary “An oriental romance: Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh” will be broadcast on the Lyric Feature on Sunday 10 September at 6pm on RTÉ Lyric fm. The documentary outlines the story of Moore’s Lalla Rookh and focuses on the variety of musical works it inspired. The documentary, which was produced in collaboration with Dublin-based Rockfinch Ltd., has been in preparation since June 2016. Contributors to the programme include the following:

Spoken Contributors: Dr Daniel Roberts (QUB), Dr Sarah McCleave (QUB), Dr Tríona O’Hanlon (QUB), Siobhán Fitzpatrick (RIA Library), Gerry Long (National Library of Ireland), Aoife O’Sullivan (DIT), Martha O’Brien (DIT), Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (DIT), Helen Aiken (QUB), Anja Bunzel (NUIM)

Artistic Contributors: Dr Sarah McCleave (QUB), Dr Tríona O’Hanlon (QUB), Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (DIT)

Performers: Aoife O’ Sullivan (DIT), Martha O’Brien (DIT), Helen Aiken (QUB)

Technician & Technical Assistant: Dr David Bird (QUB), Oisín Hughes (QUB)

Producer & Narrator: Claire Cunningham (Rockfinch Ltd.)

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

 

Lalla Rookh with Feramorz in the Vale of Cashmere

Lalla Rookh and Feramorz in the Vale of Cashmere

Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Queen’s University Belfast

A collection of no fewer than forty-one sound files from three performance events, promoted by and supported by project ERIN, will be made available soon through our project website. The first was a Lalla Rookh bi-cententary concert performed (and also recorded) by year 3 students in the BMus of Queen’s University Belfast, which took place in the Harty Room on 11 May 2017. We re-told the story of Lalla Rookh through a selection of songs and pieces taken from larger works inspired by, or based on, Moore’s oriental romance. The selected recording is an arrangement of the ‘Slow March’ from Frederic Clay’s 1877 cantata Lalla Rookh, performed here by flautists Ciara Jackson and Poppy Wheeler, violinist Linzi Jones, and clarinettist Gerard Mullay. The recording engineer is Jason Jackson.

Further audio files from this concert feature the music of Félicien David, Robert Schumann, Thomas Attwood, Charles Villiers Stanford, and Sir John Stevenson, among others.

The second sound file is taken from the second concert to mark the bi-centenary of Lalla Rookh, at the Sonic Lab in SARC, Queen’s University Belfast, on 17 June 2017. Performers Helen Aiken (mezzo), Martha O’Brien (mezzo), and Aoife O’Sullivan (piano) performed music by Schumann, Stanford, John Francis Barnett and George Kiallmark, among others. Fiddle player Conor Caldwell provided a medley of his own arrangements and those of Tommy Potts to tunes associated with Thomas Moore. In the sample provided here, Helen Aiken and Aoife O’Sullivan (as recorded by David Bird) perform Danish composer George Gerson’s  “Tell me not of joys above”. The lyrics are derived from an episode near the end of  Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh: the princess and her beloved poet are estranged; he sings this touching song to her whilst hidden in a tree.

Over thirty additional tracks — many of music that is rarely heard — will be available on the project website soon. We will also offer some recordings of favorite Irish Melodies in distinct settings or editions.

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