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Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, arrangements of Irish airs were popularly performed in Victorian drawing rooms and concert venues in both London and Dublin, the most notable publications being Thomas Moore’s collections of Irish Melodies with harmonisations by John Stephenson. Performances of Irish ballads remained popular with English audiences but the publication of Stanford’s song collection An Irish Idyll in Six Miniatures in 1901 by Boosey and Hawkes in London marks a shift to a different type of Irish song. This was a move away from the typical ‘Irish ballad,’ towards original art song settings of Irish poetry. Can this collection be said in any way to have contributed to or inspired a distinctive tradition of Irish art song? This thesis examines the original Irish song collections that Stanford composed between 1901 and his death in 1924 alongside similar works by his most prominent Irish contemporary in England, Hamilton Harty. It contrasts these with the emerging group of composers in early twentieth-century Ireland, such as Ina Boyle and John Larchet, placing them within the broader context of song composition in Ireland. As well as highlighting key songs, the thesis will consider the social, political and economic factors which affected both their reception and their afterlife in England and Ireland. Finally, the thesis will evaluate which songs would be particularly suitable for revival on the concert platform today.
Scott, D. (2018) Examining the Irish Art Song: Original Song Settings of Irish Texts by Irish Composers, 1900-1930.. Masters thesis, DIT, 2018.