Tag Archives: Thomas Moore

The ERIN catalogue: Thomas Moore in Europe

The Gibson-Massie Moore collection. Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Queen’s University Belfast

At www.erin.qub.ac.uk you will find the ‘Home’ tab and the ‘Search resources’ tab. These lead to the ‘simple search’ interface of the ERIN catalogue, a resource which documents editions of Moore’s Irish Melodies, his National Airs, and also music inspired by these series as well as music inspired by Lalla Rookh. The time frame is 1808-1880; European publications only are featured; it represents the collections of eight European libraries: McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast; the British Library; the National Library of Ireland; the Royal Irish Academy;  the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin; the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich; and the Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig. These were chosen to represent four nations where he was particularly popular (Ireland, Great Britain, France, and Germany). Further considerations were either the size of their collection on Moore, or the uniqueness of their holdings.

The catalogue currently holds nearly 1000 records within. Although all libraries are represented, there are additional entries to come for the British Library (circa 125 records, mainly instrumental arrangements), Queen’s University Belfast (circa 125 of records, further Irish Melodies), and Leipzig (circa 30 records). Further blogs will report as these final stages of the catalogue are completed.

Brief guide to the catalogue: The Home and ‘Search the resources’ tabs lead to the simple search interface of the catalogue. The user enters a keyword of interest to them, examples including: the name of a composer, performer, artist, engraver, publisher, or bookseller from the 19th century; a musical instrument, or a European city. ‘Select relation’ enables the user to filter results to ‘Irish Melodies’, ‘National Airs’, or ‘Lalla Rookh’. The results can be sorted by title, or by date. They are displayed in two formats: as a list with basic information; to see the details of a particular source, click on its title.

The advanced search option enables the user to access search terms that represent the actual contents of the database as well as its indexing terms. The user can achieve more specialised searches here. The fields include: free keyword, relation (Irish Melodies, Lalla Rookh, National Airs), place of publication, agent role (eg, author, composer, dedicatee, illustrator, publisher, etc.), language, type (kind of score: the musical forces or instruments required), as well as a date filter. The get the best result when searching for a range of dates enter your earliest date of interest in the from field, and then sort by date. It is not necessary to put data into all the fields when searching. Choose Relation combined with one or two other fields to gain the best results. The advanced search enables the user to access index terms that will produce results in the database; these terms can sometimes work most effectively in the simple search.

Introducing Project ERIN: Thomas Moore in Europe

ERIN documents two of Thomas Moore’s song series – the Irish Melodies (1808-1834) and National Airs (1818-1827) – as well as music inspired by his ‘oriental romance’ Lalla Rookh (1817). ERIN enables the user to track the production and dissemination of these pieces in Europe from their respective dates of creation through to 1880.

All of ERIN’s resources are now available at www.erin.qub.ac.uk. This website unites the previously available blog and OMEKA resources (images) with some new features, including podcasts, and a catalogue.

ERIN’s home page directs the user to its resources, and also to a user’s Survey that will help us to plan further projects on Thomas Moore. The ‘Irish Melodies’ tab leads to an introductory page, at the bottom of which are links to two collections of images dedicated to this series, which enable the user to discover different editions of the texts, illustrations inspired by the Irish Melodies, and also editions of the music. The reader can also access two digital exhibitions on the Irish Melodies. Likewise, the ‘National Airs’ tab leads to some introductory text, with a link to a collection of images documenting Moore’s series alongside some similar collections of European national songs, with another link to a digital exhibition. The ‘Lalla Rookh’ tab leads to a collection of images and a digital exhibition that document musical works and illustrations inspired by Moore’s Lalla Rookh. The Podcasts tab leads to recordings that document rarely heard music inspired by Lalla Rookh, and some of Moore’s Irish Melodies in rarely heard arrangements. The Blog tab leads to ‘Thomas Moore in Europe’, a resource with over 50 short essays that can be browsed, or searched through its index. Topics include: concert music, domestic music, exhibitions, illustrated editions, Irish music, European libraries, pantomime, publishers, songs, and theatre music. One blog provides details of our radio documentary, “An oriental romance: Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh”.

The catalogue: the ‘Home’ tab and the ‘Search resources’ tab leads to the ‘simple search’ interface of the ERIN catalogue, a resource which documents editions of Moore’s Irish Melodies, his National Airs, and also music inspired by these series as well as music inspired by Lalla Rookh. The time frame is 1808-1880; European publications only are featured; it represents the collections of eight European libraries in Ireland, the UK, France, and Germany. The introduction to this resource will be continued in the next blog.

Lalla Rookh as drawn by Kenny Jones. Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Queen’s University Belfast.

 

‘Discovering Thomas Moore’ exhibition and launch of ERIN website

On this, the 240th- anniversary of Moore’s birth, we are pleased to announce a forthcoming exhibition, ‘Discovering Thomas Moore: Ireland in nineteenth-century Europe’, which will be held at the Royal Irish Academy for six months from 17th June 2019. This exhibition is a co-operative venture between the Royal Irish Academy and Special Collections and Archives at Queen’s University Belfast. ERIN’s on-line resource – including the previously inaccessible database-catalogue – will be launched at this exhibition, with computer terminals as part of the display. In autumn 2019 a series of lectures at the Royal Irish Academy will complement the exhibition. For further information see: https://www.ria.ie/discovering-thomas-moore-ireland-nineteenth-century-europe-0

Peri descending to fallen hero. Lithograph by Henry Warren, inspired by Thomas Moore’s ‘Paradise and the Peri’. Published by Day & Son, 1860. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Queen’s University Belfast.

Thomas Moore’s most popular songs: Bendemeer’s stream

There’s a bower of roses by Bendemeer’s stream,

And the nightingale sings round it all day long;

In the time of my childhood ’twas like a sweet dream,

To sit in the roses and hear the bird’s song.

That bower and its music I never forget,

But oft when alone in the bloom of the year,

I think–is the nightingale singing there yet?

Are the roses still bright by the calm Bendemeer?

No, the roses soon wither’d that hung o’er the wave,

But some blossoms were gather’d while freshly they shone,

And a dew was distill’d from their flowers, that gave

All the fragrance of summer, when summer was gone.

Thus memory draws from delight, ere it dies,

An essence that breathes of it many a year;

Thus bright to my soul, as ’twas then to my eyes,

Is that bower on the banks of the calm Bendemeer.

Zelica sings to Azim, drawn by John Tenniel

‘Bendemeer’s Stream’, from ‘The Veiled Prophet’ in Lalla Rookh (1817), is a nostalgic lyric sung by the concubine Zelica to fulfil the prophet’s demands that she seduce her former lover Azim. This individual lyric was set by more composers than any other from Lalla Rookh, with James Power of London publishing settings by Lord Burghersh, William Hawes, and Lady Flint shortly after Moore’s poem came out. A later setting, by Edward Bunnett, was published in 1865. American settings (as ‘Bower of roses’) include J. Wilson (New York, 1817), as well as R.W. Wyatt and S. Wetherbee (Boston, 1820). The song also appears in Charles Villiers Stanford’s opera, The Veiled Prophet (Hannover, 1881; London, 1893 as Il profeta valeto). Project ERIN has recorded a special arrangement of the Stanford (with piano and obbligato clarinet), which will be made available on the project website early in 2019.

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

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].

The Reputation of Thomas Moore in the Belfast Newsletter

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.

Lady Flint and Lalla Rookh

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.

 

Resources for Thomas Moore in the Digital Age: Music, Illustrations, and Stories

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.

 

SMI 2017 Plenary Lecture

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.

 

Tune in to the Lyric Feature

 

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.