Tag Archives: Irish Melodies

Three arrangements of Moore’s Last Rose of Summer

“The Irish Melodies are perhaps the purest national tribute ever bequeathed by a poet to his country” (Novello). While Moore’s achievements were recognised in the years following his death,  the efforts of the two composers who provided the original “symphonies and accompaniments” were either derided as too complex (John Stevenson), or ignored (Henry Bishop). And so in 1859, as the copyright to Moore’s Irish Melodies expired, the prominent publishing firm Novello released Moore’s Irish Melodies with new Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Pianoforte by M. W. Balfe. At that time, the well established theatre composer Michael William Balfe was producing works for the Pyne-Harrison Opera Company of London’s Lyceum theatre. The Irish-born Balfe was a logical choice to arrange these melodies — not least given his success as an opera singer before he took up composition and theatre management.  In an unsigned preface to Balfe’s edition, the publisher claimed to be responding to a change in public taste “for the simple and natural” by issuing fresh arrangements of  Irish Melodies from numbers one through seven. We can appreciate this simplicity in Balfe’s approach to Moore’s ‘Last Rose of Summer’ (Irish Melodies, fifth number), which he sets with  single staccato quavers for the left hand punctuating a gentle triplet figure for the right hand of the piano part.

[Audio example to be inserted]

Mezzo soprano Laoise Carney with pianist Brian Connor.

At the same time as Novello was releasing a new version of Moore’s Irish Melodies, so too did the London-based publishers Cramer, Beale and Chappell. Sustaining an earlier interest in the original Irish Melodies (Cramer, Addison and Beale obtained the rights to James Power’s plates for Moore’s Irish Melodies circa 1840), this firm  commissioned the London-based composer George Alexander Macfarren (1813-1887) to arrange Moore’s Irish melodies  with new symphonies & accompaniments – also restricting the selection to songs from the first seven numbers. Macfarren’s arrangements were further promoted by Cramer through a wide selection of individual songs published into the 1870s; the London-based firm J. Macdowell seems to have taken over this enterprise around 1880. Macfarren’s arrangement of the ‘Last Rose of Summer’ favours a relentless semiquaver figure in the left hand of the piano part, against a purely melodic right hand. His harmonic learning is hinted at in the occasional introduction of a passing modulation.

Mezzo soprano Laoise Carney with pianist Brian Connor.
 

Granville Ransome Bantock (1868-1946) was another figure who was attracted to Moore’s Irish Melodies. An early recipient of the Macfarren scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, Bantock demonstrated an interest in Moore while a student there in the early 1890s with his ambitious choral-orchestral setting of The Fireworshippers (see this blog for 30 June 2017). Later in his career, he would arrange some of Moore’s Melodies for voice and piano, including the ‘Song of Fionnuala’ as a song in four parts (1910). Of the three settings considered here, Bantock’s  ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ is  most successful in evoking the sound of the Irish harp through the use of arpeggiated (rather than rhythmically articulated) chords across both hands in the piano accompaniment.

[Audio example to be inserted]

Mezzo soprano Laoise Carney with pianist Brian Connor.

Reference

Novello. Preface, Moore’s Irish Melodies with new Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Pianoforte by M. W. Balfe. London, [1859].

New lyrics to the Irish Melodies

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)

 

 

 

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.

Thomas Moore in Paris

This month of national natal days suggests a couple of blog posts about Moore’s reactions — both as a person and as an artist– to other nations in which he lived. He had a strong connection with France,  having lived there for the best part of four years (January 1819-November 1822), during which time Moore recorded his  impressions in his Journal. Upon arriving in Paris he secured “a little fairy suite of apartments” on the fashionable Rue Chanterine, venturing to the boulevard theatres the very next day, where he was “much amused”. Common Sense and Genius. StothardOf Spontini’s Olympie at the Paris Opera Moore declared “Nothing can be more poetically imagined than the scenery and ballet of this opera.” After hearing Rossini’s music at a ball,  Moore described it as “delicious”, the socialite in him appreciating “the ease with which all  Rossini’s lively songs and choruses may be turned into quadrilles and waltzes”. He quickly made the acquaintance of the fashionable novelist Madame de Souza-Bothello, discussing her current romance (novel) whilst it was in progress. With the arrival of wife Bessy and his brood of children, the family moved to a cottage with a garden on the Champs Elysees. Moore swiftly became part of Madame de Flahault’s social circle, singing at intimate gatherings attended by other ex-pats. By May 1820 Moore had a wide social circle that he entertained at home, al fresco with champagne under the trees when the weather permitted.  In the summer of 1820 he joined with the rest of Paris in watching various adventurers travel by hot-air balloon, including the ill-fated Mademoislle Garnerin (who was eventually lost on one such voyage).  Moore reported a new-found appreciation for “the charms of inanimate nature” on a walk from St. Cloud to Ville d’Avray (this appreciation of natural scenery certainly comes across in some of the Irish Melodies). Although he  was underwhelmed by a ball given by the Gardes du Corps at the Chateau of the Tuileries (“not so fine as a I expected”), Moore expressed complete delight with his family’s summer residence in La Butte, declaring “as far as tranquility, fine scenery, and sweet sunshine go, I could not wish to pass a more delightful summer.” He met Princesse Tallyrand at a dinner in May 1821, taking pleasure in her evident engagement with a French prose translation of his Lalla Rookh, as well as her kindness in praising the beauty of his wife; Moore’s uxoriousness was legendary, and he cheerfully reported in his Journal that an acquaintance declared “every one speaks of your conjual attention, and I assure you all Paris is disgusted with it.” The Journal records Moore’s personal impressions rather than his political views, but he tells with sympathy an  anecdote he learned of a French Royalist he met, whose young lady was arrested (and subsequently imprisoned for six months) merely for wearing a tricolore ribbon to a masked ball. Initially admiring of Napoleon (“this thunder-storm of a fellow”), Moore described his exile to St Helena as “unsportsmanlike”.  Moore was inspired by his Parisian period to write the epistolary satire, The Fudge Family in Paris, which, as Ronan Kelly notes in his Bard of Erin, has “an autobiographical ring” to certain of its details. Moore also featured no fewer than ten French Melodies in his six-volume series of National Airs (1818-1827).  Moore’s presence (through publications of his work) in Paris will be charted further through other outcomes of this project.

Common Sense and Genius.PowerAre you aware of the past-times and impressions of other visitors to Paris during the 1810s and ’20s? If so, tell us about it on the blog!

Images reproduced courtesy of Special Collections, the McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast.

The Irish Melodies in Europe: 1808-1880

Although Moore himself was adverse to the separation of music and text for his Irish Melodies, by 1817 J.P. Reynolds – an enterprising publisher in Salem, New York— had issued Irish Melodies, Sacred Melodies, and other Poems. This appeared to open the way for a spate of similar publications across Europe, led by Moore’s Parisian agents the Galignanis, who issued various compilations of his poetic works in 1819, 1820, 1823, and 1829. This firm and Baudry’s European Library—also based in Paris—appeared to be addressing an English-language market. Moore’s four titles with Baudry (1821, 1841, 1843, and 1847) made him—along with Walter Scott and Washington Irvine—their fifth most represented author. The 1820s was the most intense decade for English-language publications of the Irish Melodies, which—in combination with the poems for the National Airs—were issued in Brussels (1822), Pisa (1823), and Jersey (1828).

(Jersey and Paris) Title pages

Title-pages for the Jersey (1828) and Paris (1841) editions

of Moore’s Poetry

 

By 1825 we also have an actual translation of Moore’s poetry, Louise Swanton Belloc’s Les amours des anges et les Mélodies irlandaises. It is interesting to note that Belloc, whose father was Irish, also translated selected works of Moore’s Irish contemporaries Oliver Goldsmith and Maria Edgeworth as well as Moore’s own Memoirs of Lord Byron for various Parisian publishers. By 1835 we have the first Swedish translation of the Irish Melodies; by 1839 the first German. Leipzig (1839, 1843, and 1874), Berlin (1841) and Hamburg (1875) each published Moore’s Irish Melodies in translation. Added to the polyglot profile of Moore’s Irish Melodies were a new French translation by Henri Jousselin (1869), a Spanish translation issued in New York (1875), and an Italian translation issued in Pisa (1880). By a strange quirk of market forces, the first Latin translation of the Irish Melodies (1835) preceded the first in Irish (1842) by some seven years. If we add to this the some seventy editions of the Irish Melodies issued by Moore’s London-based publisher Longmans, and the over 100 editions issued in Dublin, we can appreciate that Moore’s response to the native tunes of his own country held a universal appeal.

(Latin) The Harp that once(Irish) The Harp that once

“The Harp that once in Tara’s Halls” in Latin and Irish

 

Are you aware of editions of the Irish Melodies at locations or in languages not mentioned here? If so, we would welcome a comment on the blog.

Images reproduced courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast.

THE IRISH MELODIES: SONGS THAT STILL SPEAK

The Minstrel Boy from Irish Melodies Number 5

The Minstrel Boy from Irish Melodies Number 5

Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies are his best-known works. These 124 Irish tunes, arranged for voice and piano with newly-minted lyrics by Moore, were published in ten numbers between 1808 and 1834. The Gibson-Massie Moore collection evidences their popularity as domestic entertainment in the Romantic era with the multiple distinct imprints of each number (thirty for Number one alone) and in the multi-national circulation of Moore’s lyrics (a topic for a future blog post). The series gained a renewed popularity in the Victorian period through the 1846 edition illustrated by Irish artist Daniel Maclise.

 

Indeed, the most iconic of Moore’s Melodies have become thoroughly ingrained in our modern culture. Foremost amongst these is The Minstrel Boy from Number five. This is often associated specifically with the cause of Irish political freedom–for example as featured in ‘Reflecting the Rising’, the RTÉ centenary concert to mark the 1916 Easter Rising–but which in brass band arrangement has also become a regular feature during the annual Remembrance Sunday service held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London in November to honour all who have suffered or died in war. The Minstrel Boy, with its celebration of freedom and homage to brave personal sacrifice, has also been adopted by film-makers to mark or commemorate actions as diverse as those of the ‘1st United States Voluntary Calvary’ in the Spanish-American War of 1898 (Rough Riders, 1997), the American Invasion of Normandy in World War II (Saving Private Ryan, 1998), and a failed US Army mission in Somalia during the early 1990s (Black Hawk Down, 2001). It is Moore’s poignant lyrics that have given the tune, ‘The Moreen’, this particular resonance:

 

“The Minstrel-Boy to the war is gone,

In the ranks of death you’ll find him;

His father’s sword he had girded on,

And his wild harp slung behind him.

‘Land of song!’ said the warrior-bard,

‘Tho’ all the world betrays thee,

One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,

One faithful harp shall praise thee!’

 

The Minstrel fell! – but the foeman’s chain

Could not bring his proud soul under;

The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,

For he tore its chords asunder;

And said, ‘No chains shall sully thee,

‘Thou soul of love and bravery!

‘Thy songs were made for the pure and free

‘They shall never sound in slavery.’”

 

Are you aware of any arrangements or recordings of Moore’s The Minstrel Boy? If so, we would be delighted to learn of these through the comments page of this blog.

 

Images Courtesy of Special Collections, The McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast

WELCOME

20 January 2016

Image Blog Post 1

ERIN, a Horizon 2020 funded research project hosted by Queen’s University Belfast, was launched on 1 September 2015.  The aim of this research project is to map Europe’s response to Thomas Moore by examining the dissemination and reception of the Irish Melodies, National Airs and the music associated with Lalla Rookh.  This blog is a platform for sharing our work and will allow interested readers to track the progress of our research project while also providing a forum for discussion.  We expect to make some exciting discoveries along the way and will be posting content twice a month.

Irish poet-songwriter Thomas Moore (1779-1852) is a significant nineteenth-century figure, renowned for his articulation of national identity through the creation and exchange of poetry and song.  Early printed sources for the Irish Melodies, National Airs and Lalla Rookh are extant in libraries throughout Europe.  Our research begins with the Gibson-Massie-Moore Collection housed in Special Collections at the McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast.  The Gibson-Massie-Moore collection is the largest collection of Moore’s published works in the world; it contains over 1,000 volumes of printed music, texts and volumes of illustrations.  We will keep you posted as we develop the various outputs of this project.

Image Courtesy of ContentDM Thomas Moore Music Project

http://cdm15979.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15979coll12