Program 96
"Classically Irish"

MUSIC: clip from Victor Herbert Irish Rhapsody, performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava) conducted by Keith Brion [Naxos 8.559027, track 2]  [under the following] 

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

For the next hour we’ll be exploring classical music inspired by Ireland.  I call this program “Classically Irish.”

MUSIC: fades out

We’ll have works by Irish composers Hamilton Harty and Victor Herbert later on, but we’ll also bring you music by English composer Frank Bridge and American composer Leroy Anderson. This proves that you don’t have to be Irish to write Irish music any more than you have to be Jewish to love bagels.
We’ll start with the Leroy Anderson’s Irish Suite.

Leroy Anderson lived from 1908 until 1975. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His parents were Swedish immigrants who had come to the United States as children. When Leroy was one year old they moved to 12 Chatham Street and Cambridge would continue to be the center of his world for the next three decades.

Anderson moved to New York City in 1936, but he often returned to his parents home and it was in this house that he arranged many Broadway show tunes for Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he composed his Irish Suite in eleven days.

Anderson’s suite is in five movements, each one based on a different Irish folk song. I’ll name the songs as we go along. The first is The Irish Washerwoman. The composer conducts his own orchestra in this digitally remastered MCA Classics compact disc.

MUSIC: Anderson: The Irish Washerwoman from The Irish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 20]  [2:36]

The Minstrel Boy.

MUSIC: Anderson: The Minstrel Boy from The Irish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 21]  [3:49]

The Rakes of Mallow.

MUSIC: Anderson: The Rakes of Mallow from The Irish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 22]  [3:03]

The Wearing of the  Green.

MUSIC: Anderson: The Wearing of the Green from The Irish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 23]  [3:04]

The Last Rose of Summer.

MUSIC: Anderson: The Last Rose of Summer from The Irish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 24]  [3:23]

The Girl I Left Behind Me.

MUSIC: Anderson: The Girl I Left Behind Me from The Irish Suite performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 25]  [3:04]

Leroy Anderson’s Irish Suite. The composer conducted his own orchestra on a digitally remastered MCA Classics compact disc.

We are listening to “Classically Irish” music on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Victor Herbert is considered an American composer, and he is included in Naxos compact discs’ American Classics collection. But he was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1859 and didn’t come to the U.S. until he was 27 years old.

He was a multi-talented musician, the Leonard Bernstein of his day. He came to the U.S. to play principal cello at the Metropolitan Opera. He became conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and a candidate to conduct the New York Philharmonic.  He was an opera and film score composer, a presenter of pops concerts with his own orchestra, a fabulously successful bandmaster, and a leading composer of Broadway musicals. He wrote nearly 50 in all, including Babes in Toyland, Naughty Marietta and The Red Mill. For a time he was also America’s premier solo cellist.

Herbert wrote his Irish Rhapsody in 1892 for the Gaelic Society of America, and it was first heard at their meeting in New York with Herbert conducting. As you’ll hear in a moment, it is a collection of symphonically interwoven Irish songs and dances. It is performed in this Naxos compact disc recording by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava, conducted by Keith Brion.

MUSIC: Victor Herbert: Irish Rhapsody, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava) conducted by Keith Brion [Naxos 8.559027, track 2]  [16:00]

Victor Herbert’s Irish Rhapsody performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava, conducted by Keith Brion.

You are listening to “Classically Irish” on Compact Discoveries.  I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional break not included in the optional 58:00 or 59:00 minute total timing of the program]

Next we turn to the British composer, Frank Bridge, and his An Irish Melody: Londonderry Air.  Bridge lived from 1879 until 1941. Before World War One he wrote in a conservative, romantic style. His post-war works, however, showed the influence of the 12-tone composers, Schoenberg and his pupil Alban Berg. Personally, I wish that that had never happened, because I love Bridge’s early works and can’t stand his others.

His Irish Melody, popularly known in England as the Londonderry Air, comes from this early period. It was written in 1908 and is for string quartet. The well-known melody only emerges gradually, appearing towards the end of the work, although there are hints of it earlier. In this Naxos recording, the music is played by the Maggini Quartet which, despite its Italian name, is an English group. The name comes from an early 17th Century violin maker.

MUSIC: Frank Bridge: An Irish Melody: Londonderry Air performed by the Maggini Quartet [Naxos 8.553718, track 10]  [7:41]

The Maggini Quartet performed An Irish Melody: Londonderry Air by Frank Bridge.

From Frank Bridge we turn to Sir Hamilton Harty, a 100 percent kosher Irish composer who lived from 1879 until 1941, and our final work on this Compact Discoveries hour devoted to “Classically Irish” music.  It is a brief, rhapsodic fantasy called In Ireland.  It was originally composed for flute and piano in 1918, with the arrangement for flute, harp and orchestra made in 1935.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have called Harty 100 percent Irish after all, because he did move to London. On the other hand he also wrote a half-hour long Irish Symphony, which we don’t have time for right now, but which shares the same Naxos CD release with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Proinssías Ó Duinn [Pro-NISH-us O’Doon]. As I am zero percent Irish, I hope I didn’t totally ruin the pronunciation of the conductor’s name.

MUSIC: Harty: In Ireland performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Proinssías Ó Duinn [Naxos 8.554732, track 2] [8:09]

In Ireland by Hamilton Harty performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Proinssías Ó Duinn [Pro-NISH-us O’Doon].

MUSIC: clip from Danny Boy, performed by the Celtic Tenors from their album Remember Me [Telarc CD-80667, track 6]  [under the following]

You have been listening to “Classically Irish” music for the last hour on Compact Discoveries. This is Fred Flaxman hoping that you have enjoyed our selections and that you’ll let me hear from you. You can reach me in care of the Compact Discoveries website at www.compactdiscoveries.com. You can also use the website to view complete scripts for these programs, including information on every recording used. And you can stream this and other Compact Discoveries programs on demand at the Public Radio Exchange website, www.prx.org.

Compact Discoveries
is distributed via the Public Radio Exchange and is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc. Production of this program is made possible in part by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: can fade out at 58:00, but finishes at 59:00 with end of song

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