Monthly Archives: August 2017

A taster of ERIN’s collection of sound files

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.

The future of Project ERIN

ERIN completes its funded stage today, 31 August 2017. We are grateful to the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, co-funded by the European Union, for the opportunity to work on such interesting material, and to make it available to the public.

The website for project ERIN will be launched during autumn 2017. It will serve as an ‘open access’ gateway to the following resources, some of which are already available through sites hosted by Queen’s University Belfast:

– four collections published on the OMEKA platform

– four exhibits published on the OMEKA platform

– a collection of forty-one sound files, taken from two concerts to mark the bicentenary of Lalla Rookh as well as a selection of Irish Melodies

– a catalogue of over 800 published sources of Moore’s music, drawn from no fewer than eight European repositories

– the project blog, ‘Thomas Moore in Europe’

The blog will continue to appear at least once a month to serve these functions:

1. To advise our readers regarding the publication of outputs such as the radio documentary on Lalla Rookh
2. To make available certain outputs, such as our lecture for the SMI Plenary conference in June 2017.
3. To report on progress regarding on-going outputs such as the catalogue or a planned anthology of essays, “Thomas Moore and the Global Marketplace”
4. To highlight particular items in the collections or the catalogue

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

Irish Melodies [music and illustrations].London London, [1880].Frontispiece

Launching ERIN’S Collections and Exhibitions

We are pleased to launch four collections and four exhibitions on the OMEKA platform, as hosted by Special Collections & Archives, Queen’s University Belfast at the following link: http://omeka.qub.ac.uk

The collections, comprising a total of over 200 items largely drawn from the Moore Collection at Queen’s, are as follows:

Music to Moore’s Irish Melodies

Moore’s Irish Melodies: Texts and Illustrations
Moore’s National Airs in Europe
Lalla Rookh in 19th-century Europe

The exhibits are as follows:
Music to Moore’s Irish Melodies in Dublin and London
Moore’s Irish Melodies in Europe
The dissemination of Moore’s National Airs in Europe
The tales and travels of Lalla Rookh

 

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

Lalla Rookh

Lalla Rookh drawn by Kenny Meadows, engraved by J. Hollis

 

 

The response of illustrators and engravers to Thomas Moore

 

All of Thomas Moore’s works featured in project ERIN – the Irish Melodies, the National Airs, and Lalla Rookh – were conceived to feature contributions from illustrators and engravers at an early stage. With regards to the two song series, each number thereof would sport one or two plates designed by illustrators such as as Thomas Stothard RA (“Row gently here” from the National Airs; “Lesbia hath a beaming eye” from the Irish Melodies), or William Henry Brooke (“As vanquish’d Erin”, and “Oh, ye dead!,” both from the Irish Melodies). The title pages, too each had their own illustration. These designs were executed as engravings (“a printmaking technique that involves making incisions into a metal plate which retain the ink and form the printed image” –tate.org.uk) by such as Charles Heath (1785-1848) or Henry Melville (1792-1870). While the images featured in the Irish Melodies or National Airs – whether produced by James Power in London or William Power in Dublin – were ostensibly the same (i.e. drawn by the same illustrator), the fact that the brothers employed distinct engravers is evident when copies of their works are compared. One of the most famous illustrated volume associated with Thomas Moore is the 1846 edition of the Irish Melodies as illustrated by his fellow Irishman Daniel Maclise RA (1806-1870); Maclise’s work is distinct from earlier illustrated editions in presenting one or two illustrations (or at the very least a decorative border) to each of the Melodies. The popularity of this edition (which was reissued by Longmans as late as 1876) brought Moore’s work to a new generation towards the end of his life and beyond.

Lalla Rookh has a particularly strong association with illustrators. Queen Victoria’s drawing master Richard Westall RA (1765-1836) seems to have been commissioned by the Longman firm to design Illustrations of Lalla Rookh an oriental romance—since this volume came out in the same year as Moore’s ‘oriental romance’. Charles Heath (1785-1848), also associated with illustrations for the Irish Melodies, was the engraver. More famous perhaps was the edition of Lalla Rookh with sixty-nine illustrations designed by John Tenniel (1820-1914), issued several times by Longmans between 1861 and 1880. This  edition already had a rival issued by George Routledge in 1860 that featured the illustrations of numerous artists, including George Housman Thomas (1824-1868), Kenny Meadows (1790-1874), and Edward Henry Corbould (1815-1905). Routledge promoted an illustrated edition of Moore’s Lalla Rookh until at least 1891. Some of these artists, as well as the engraver Charles Heath, were previously involved in an illustrated version of Lalla Rookh brought out by Longmans in 1838.

Much of the illustrative activity associated with Moore’s work took place in the Anglo-Irish orbit, and involved some fairly high profile artists. Project ERIN is able to document a few continental works with engraved illustrations, including Lalla Rookh : ein morganländisches Gedicht, translated by Johann Ludwig Witthaus and published by Schumann of Zwickau in 1822. This work, presumably intended for those with a modest book budget, has but two illustrations, both engraved by one J. Thaeter. We only have the surnames for the two illustrators – Rensch designed a frontispiece of Lalla Rookh, while Baumann designed an image depicting Aliris holding a faint Lalla Rookh after his identity as her beloved Feramorz is revealed. Even more obscure are the identities of the designer and engraver of the frontispiece to volume one of The Works of Thomas Moore, as issued in Paris by Arthus Bertrand in 1820. Depicting the prophet Mokanna unveiing himself to Zelica, this is designed by “Ch” and engraved by “Dx” (see below).

Mokanna unveils himself to Zelica.Paris,Arthus Bertrand, 1820d

Although lithography — “a printing process that uses a flat stone or metal plate on which the image areas are worked using a greasy substance so that the ink will adhere to them” (tate.org.uk) – was discovered in 1798 (britannica.com), the first known example of this technique being used to illustrate Moore is the 1860 illustrated edition of Paradise and the Peri issued by the London-based firm Day & Son. lllustrator Owen Jones (1809-1874) and illuminator Henry Warren (1794-1879) offer a luxuriously colourful response to this particular tale of Moore’s, a sample of which is produced below.

Peri with dead lovers.Jones and Warren

Images courtesy of Special Collections, Queen’s University Belfast

We conclude this blog by announcing that two electronic collections that will be available through project ERIN’s dedicated website by the end of this month are here given a ‘soft launch’ through their home site in omeka.qub.ac.uk.
Collection number 17, ‘Moore’s Irish Melodies” Texts and Illustrations”, includes numerous still images that document the efforts of the artists mentioned above, as well as others active in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow in the Victorian era. See also ‘Lalla Rookh in 19th-century Europe’ (collection 15) for 71 images associated with that work. (A third collection, related to the National Airs, is still under development.) All of these collections will be interpreted through OMEKA exhibitions that will become available through the project ERIN website by the end of August 2017.