Classical Jazz '05

Irish Music


i1Beethoven arranged a set of Irish songs during his lifetime.  Here are the Movements/Sections 12 songs:
The Elfin Fairies
Oh harp of Erin
The Farewell Song
The pulse of an Irishman
Oh! who, my dear Dermot
Put round the bright wine
From Garyone, my happy home
Save me from the grave and wise
Oh! would I were but that sweet linnet (duet)
The hero may perish (duet)
The Soldier in a Foreign Land (duet)
He promised me at parting (duet)

The folk songs in this collection were written to please the growing taste of the middle and upper middle classes for folk-like songs, for music that would be both easy for amateurs to perform and pleasing for their audiences. Text and music were often blended with no sense at all of ethnomusicological authenticity—for example, "The British Light Dragoons" uses an Irish folk melody to celebrate a victory of the English over the French—but the intent was to entertain rather than to educate or preserve the materials. Beethoven, like many other composers, collected, harmonized, and arranged folk music in this way, working after 1810 for the British publisher George Thomson. 

This particular collection has no real correspondence any of those Thomson published (the songs were regrouped in the first complete printed edition of Beethoven's music). This doesn't really matter to a listener, though, for the planned collections were designed to include music to suit any mood, and this set fills the bill reasonably well. There is melancholy yearning for an absent love ("No riches from his scanty store"), a declaration of eternal constancy ("The kiss, dear maid, thy lip has left"), merry celebration ("Paddy O'Rafferty"). Given the pictures of manners among the upper middle classes that authors such as Jane Austen have given us, it's hard to avoid imagining that these and similar songs might have played some part in courtships, with a hopeful young lady or gentleman suggesting singing a romantic duet with the object of his or her affections, or focusing a meaningful eye on the beloved while singing a declaration of love. 

Some of these songs are slightly more demanding of the performers than those in other collections. "'Tis but in vain," for example, demands some breath-control technique on the part of the singer, and the rhythms of "When far from the home" demand careful attention if all the participants are to keep together.

The Andante favori was written between 1803 and 1804, and published in 1805. It was originally intended to be the second of the three movements of Beethoven's "Waldstein" piano sonata, Opus 53. The following extract from  Thayer's Beethoven biography explains the change 

Reis reports (Notizen, p.101) that a friend of Beethoven's said to him that the sonata was too long, for which he was terribly taken to task by the composer. But after quiet reflection Beethoven was convinced of the correctness of the criticism. The andante ... was therefore excluded and in its place supplied the interesting Introduction to the rondo which it now has. A year after the publication of the sonata, the andante also appeared separately.

Many listeners today would agree that Beethoven's decision was a good one--the slow introduction that replaced the andante tightened the sonata and made it more dramatic, while the Andante favori stands well as a work on its own.

The reason for the title was given by Beethoven's pupil Czerny, quoted in Thayer: "Because of its popularity (for Beethoven played it frequently in society) he gave it the title Andante favori ("favored Andante").



Amy Beach "Gaelic" Symphony Op 32 III The Gaelic Symphony, premiered in Boston I2on Oct. 30, 1896 with the Boston Symphony, was the first large orchestral work composed by a woman to be performed by an America orchestra. While Beach wrote a number of other orchestral works, this is her only symphony. The piece has been compared to Antonin Dvorák's "New World" Symphony in its use of original folk tunes. Rather than drawing on any indigenous American influences, as Dvorák heartily encouraged, Beach based her four-movement symphony on Irish melodies. She also borrowed from her own song Dark is the Night for the first and fourth movements. This symphony is deeply immersed in the sound world of Brahms and Schumann: emotional, autumnal, and passionate with attention to formal structure and thematic development. However, Beach seems more concerned with orchestration, exploring a richer palette in terms of instrumental color than her esteemed predecessors. Her style is also reminiscent of some of the British composers of this period, such as Hubert Parry and Charles Stanford. The Allegro con fuoco adheres to the typical first movement sonata-allegro form. The second movement begins with a beguiling siciliana followed by an almost Mendelssohnian trio section, providing perfect contrast, with imaginative writing for oboe and English horn. For the lovely third movement, Beach utilizes two Irish folk songs and prominently features solo violin. The final movement, Allegro di molto, displays an intensity and power similar to Dvorák, while the more subtle moments bring Brahms back to mind. The Gaelic Symphony and the Mass in E flat endure as two of Amy Beach's most significant works.


In the Faery Hills - Arnold Bax

I3The Garden of Fand

Symphony No.1 in E flat

The son of cultured and well-to-do English parents, Arnold Bax was born in Streatham but spent much of his childhood in Hampstead, where the family later settled, taught at home by a private tutor and strongly influenced by the cultured and comfortable environment in which he found himself. His early interest in music persuaded his father, a barrister, to allow him to enter the Royal Academy of Music in London at the age of seventeen. There he became a piano pupil of Tobias Matthay, while studying composition under the Wagnerian Frederick Corde

The tone-poem In the Faery Hills was written in 1909, later forming the centre of a trilogy of tone-poems under the general title Eire. It is dedicated to the composer Balfour-Gardiner, an important figure in the musical life of London among younger composers, to whom he was able to give practical encouragement, particularly in a series of concerts of music by English composers that he organized in 1912 and 1913, and is scored for a characteristically large orchestra. The instrumentation includes piccolo, bass clarinet, two harps and a varied percussion section, with glockenspiel and celesta, in addition to the usual instruments of the full symphony orchestra. The work was first performed in 1910 at a Promenade Concert, when it was conducted by Henry Wood, who had requested its composition. The poem by Yeats, to which In the Faery Hills owes its inspiration, allows Oisin or Usheen, replying to St Patrick, to describe his wandering:

And Niamh blew there merry notes

Out of a little silver trump

And then an answering whispering flew

Over the bare and woody land

The clarinet opens with this faery summons, in the tone-poem, followed by the gradual gathering of the Lillie People. At the heart of the work Oisin sings:

But when I sang of human joy

A sorrow wrapped each merry face.

A boy comes forward and seizes the harp.

And caught the silver harp away,

And, weeping over the white strings, hurled

It down in a leaf-hid, hollow place.

Now they dance away with him, laughing as they go. The picture evoked is a Celtic one, but not without a touch of the other pagan world earlier suggested by Mallarme and Debussy in L 'apres-midi d'un faune, of which there are perceptible echoes. The work starts with a characteristic faery motif, that is to be re-echoed, and a suggestion of the Celtic twilight in a secondary motif from the flute. The faery world wakens into an Allegro vivace jig. The dance ends and the trumpet repeats the opening motif, as the bard begins his tale, represented at first by two violas, followed by the bassoon, with a harp accompaniment and faery interpolations. The narrative continues, until the faery dance is heard again, first from a bassoon. The harp seems to sink in the water, as the jig resumes. The music slows and the horn-call sounds again, re-echoing. A solo viola, followed by a single flute, leads the dance to its end.


Symphony 32

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) was an IrishI4 composer, music teacher, and conductor. Born to a well-off and highly musical family in Dublin, Stanford was educated at the University of Cambridge before studying music in Leipzig and Berlin. He was instrumental in raising the status of the Cambridge University Musical Society, attracting international stars to perform with it. While still an undergraduate, Stanford was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1882, aged 29, he was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. From 1887 he was also the professor of music at Cambridge. As a teacher, Stanford was sceptical about modernism, and based his instruction chiefly on classical principles as exemplified in the music of Brahms. Among his pupils were rising composers whose fame went on to surpass his own, such as Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. As a conductor, Stanford held posts with the Bach Choir and the Leeds triennial music festival. Stanford composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies, but his best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition. He was a dedicated composer of opera, but none of his nine completed operas has endured in the general repertory. Some critics regarded Stanford, together with Hubert Parry and Alexander Mackenzie, as responsible for a renaissance in music from the British Isles. However, after his conspicuous success as a composer in the last two decades of the 19th century, his music was eclipsed in the 20th century by that of Edward Elgar as well as former pupils.



Mozart Concerto

I5The Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, K. 299 is a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for flute, harp, and orchestra. It is one of only two true double concertos that he wrote, as well as the only piece of music that Mozart wrote that contains the harp.[1] The piece is one of the most popular such concerti in the repertoire, as well as often being found on recordings dedicated otherwise to either one of its featured instruments.

Mozart wrote the concerto in April of 1778, during his six-month sojourn in Paris. It was commissioned by Adrien-Louis Bonnieres de Souastres, Duc de Guines (1735-1806), a flutist, for his use and for that of his older daughter, a harpist, who was taking composition lessons from the composer. The daughter was named Marie-Louise-Philippine. She was born in 1759 and died in 1796. Mozart stated in a letter to his father that he thought the duke played the flute "extremely well," and that Marie played the harp "magnifique." As a composition student, however, Mozart found Marie thoroughly inept. The duke (until 1776, the Comte de Guines), an aristocrat Mozart came to despise, never ended up paying the composer for this work. And it is not at all certain whether the Duc de Guines and his daughter Marie ever actually played this concerto.[2][3]
In the classical period, the harp was still in development, and was not considered a standard orchestral instrument. It was regarded more as a plucked piano.[4] Therefore, harp and flute was considered an extremely unusual combination. Currently, there is much more repertoire for a flute and harp duo, especially without orchestra. Much of this repertoire was written by composers in the nineteenth century. Mozart's opinion of the harp, however, was perhaps dubious at best, for he never wrote another piece that employed it.
Mozart quite likely composed this work with the duke's and his daughter's musical abilities in mind. He probably composed the majority of this concerto at the home of Joseph Legros (1739-1793), the director of the Concert Spirituel. Monsieur Legros had kindly given Mozart the use of his keyboard in his home so that Mozart could compose. The piece is essentially in the form of a Sinfonia Concertante, which was extremely popular in Paris at the time.[1] Today, the concerto is often played in chamber ensembles, because it is technically challenging for both instrumentalists. It is also often played in orchestras to display the talents of harpists.
The harp part appears to be more like an adaptation of a piano piece than an original harp part; this is especially evident in the patterns of five and ten notes throughout all three movements which would not fall under the fingers as easily for a harpist, as the fifth fingers are typically not used, though they were considered part of early harp technique[citation needed]. There are no full, rich glissandi, and although there is counterpoint in the harp part, it does not typically include lush chords. Mozart did not include any cadenzas of his own, as is normal for his compositions.[5] Alfred Einstein claims that Mozart's cadenzas for this work were lost. A few popular cadenzas are often performed, such as those by Carl Reinecke, but many flutists and harpists have chosen to write their own cadenzas. André Previn has also written cadenzas for this piece. The original manuscript of the Concerto for Flute and Harp still exists. And, since 1948, it has been housed in the Jagiellonian University Library in Krakow.



John Field (26 July 1782 [?], baptized 5 September 1782 – 23 January 1837) was an I6Irish pianist, composer, and teacher. He was born in Dublin into a musical family, and received his early education there. The Fields soon moved to London, where Field studied under Muzio Clementi. Under his tutelage, Field quickly became a famous and sought-after concert pianist; together, master and pupil visited Paris, Vienna, and St. Petersburg. The Russian capital impressed Field so much that he eventually decided to stay behind when Clementi left, and from about 1804 was particularly active in Russia. Field was very highly regarded by his contemporaries and his playing and compositions influenced many major composers, including Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt. He is best known today for originating the piano nocturne, a form later made famous by Chopin, as well as for his substantial contribution, through concerts and teaching, to the development of the Russian piano school.

Nocturne 9 - E Major

Nocturne 5 - BbMajor




Kirkpatrick Fanfare - Andrew Boysen Jr.

Commissioned for the opening of the Kirkpatrick Library at Central Missouri State University, this energetic work, originally for concert band, is now rescored by the composer for Full Orchestra. Kirkpatrick Fanfare has an Irish flair, including strains of Danny Boy. The driving rhythms and power of this dramatic work will be an exciting addition to any concert.







Molly on the Shore is a composition of Percy Aldridge Grainger. It is an arrangement ofI8Q two contrasting Irish reels, "Temple Hill" and "Molly on the Shore" that present the melodies in a variety of textures and orchestrations, giving each section of the band long stretches of thematic and countermelodic material.[1] "Molly on the Shore" was written in 1907 by Grainger as a birthday gift for his mother. Originally composed for string quartet or string orchestra, this piece was arranged in 1920 for wind band by the composer, as well as for orchestra.[1] Fritz Kreisler set it for violin and piano, but Grainger was thoroughly unimpressed, saying that [It] was a thousand times worse than I had fore-weened ((expected)), & I had not fore-weened anything good. In a letter to Frederick Fennell (who would later go on to create the definitive full score edition of Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy), Grainger says that "in setting Molly on the Shore, I strove to imbue the accompanying parts that made up the harmonic texture with a melodic character not too unlike that of the underlying reel tune. Melody seems to me to provide music with initiative, wheras {sic} rhythm appears to me to exert an enslaving influence. For that reason I have tried to avoid regular rhythmic domination in my music - always excepting irregular rhythms, such as those of Gregorian Chant, which seem to me to make for freedom. Equally with melody, I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts".[1] "Molly on the Shore" mostly features the woodwind section of the band, especially the clarinets and saxophones. The opening 1st clarinet solo is a common audition excerpt.



I9Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) was a blind Gaelic harper, composer, and singer whose great fame is due to his gift for melodic composition. He was the last great Irish harper-composer and is considered by many to be Ireland's most celebrated composer. Turlough O'Carolan,[1] (Irish: Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin; Irish pronunciation: [telx o carulan]) (1670 – 25 March 1738) was a blind early Irish harper, composer and singer whose great fame is due to his gift for melodic composition. He was the last great Irish harper-composer and is considered by many to be Ireland's national composer. Harpers in the old Irish tradition were still living as late as 1792, as ten, including Arthur O'Neill, Patrick Quin and Donnchadh Ó Hámsaigh, showed up at the Belfast Harp Festival, but there is no proof of any of these being composers. Ó Hámsaigh did play some of Carolan's music but disliked it for being too modern. Some of O'Carolan's own compositions show influence from the style of continental classical music, whereas others such as Carolan's Farewell to Music reflect a much older style of "Gaelic Harping".



Victor August Herbert (February 1, 1859 – May 26, 1924) was an Irish-born, German-I10raised American composer, cellist and conductor. Although Herbert enjoyed important careers as a cello soloist and conductor, he is best known for composing many successful operettas that premiered on Broadway from the 1890s to World War I. He was also prominent among the tin pan alley composers and was later a founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). A prolific composer, Herbert produced two operas, a cantata, 43 operettas, incidental music to 10 plays, 31 compositions for orchestra, nine band compositions, nine cello compositions, five violin compositions with piano or orchestra, 22 piano compositions and numerous songs, choral compositions and orchestrations of works by other composers, among other music.








Fiddle Music:

One | Two

Irish Tune for Wind Band

The Muppets sing Danny Boy

Printable version

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