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Two books and a CD now available, see below for special offers.

Thomas Moore was not only a renowned poet of his day, esteemed equally with Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Sir Walter Scott, but he was also a charismatic singer. High society flocked to the fashionable salons of Regency London to hear him sing and to be moved to tears by the tenderness, warmth and emotion he could impart in performance. Barrow boys in the street would whistle his Irish Melodies. His lyrics were known all over the western world, together with the traditional Irish tunes which he adapted and made famous with his lyrics.

In the 1820s the French writer Stendhal stated in his Life of Rossini that there were only two British singers worth hearing, one of whom was Thomas Moore. Composers such as Berlioz and Schumann were inspired by his works, Dickens refers in many of his novels to Moore's songs. Though his posthumous fame has dwindled, songs such as The Last Rose of Summer, The Minstrel Boy, Believe me if all those Endearing Young Charms, The Meeting of the Waters, are still sung today.

Moore occasionally accompanied himself on the guitar when a piano was not immediately to hand. In his journals and letters there are wide-ranging references to guitar playing - he was a particular connoisseur of attractive young ladies singing songs to the guitar. At least one of these ladies was also a pupil of Fernando Sor, and another was a Spanish exile singing the boleros of her home country.

Most of his songs were published with piano accompaniments, but a few were issued during his lifetime arranged with guitar accompaniments. Taking this as a basis, the two books of songs now issued by Corda Music have taken the original piano accompaniments and arranged them for guitar in a stylistically appropriate manner. Like the originals, they do not require a virtuoso technique from the accompanist, just a good sense of musicianship when working with a singer. They do however preserve the essence of the original, and are hopefully somewhere near to what Tom Moore himself would have played on occasions such as that witnessed by the German pianist Moscheles, who recorded in his diary how he admired the poet singing some of the Irish Melodies to his own guitar accompaniment. The range of the songs is mostly for medium voice.

CMP 170 . . . . . The Guitar Songs of Tom Moore, Book 1 . . . £7.50

The Introduction (12,000 words long) examines Moore's lifelong flirtation with the guitar (and with many attractive females playing the instrument). The ten songs are:

The Minstrel Boy . . . . . . . (The Moreen)

The Meeting of the Waters . . . . . . . (The Old Head of Denis)

By that lake . . . . . . . (The Brown Irish Girl)

Come Tell me says Rosa . . . . . . . (Stevenson / Moore)

Dear Harp of my Country . . . . . . . (New Langolee)

The Dream of Home . . . . . . . (Moore, arr. for guitar by C.M.Sola)

Erin! the Tear and the Smile . . . . . . . (Aileen Aroon)

Fill the Bumper Fair . . . . . . . (Bob and Joan)

Oft in the Stilly Night . . . . . . . (Scotch Air)

The Time I've lost in Wooing . . . . . . . (Pease upon a Trencher)

(The name of the original Irish Air or the composer is given in brackets)

CMP 171 . . . . . The Guitar Songs of Tom Moore, Book 2 . . . £6.00

Introduction, with an overview of the history of Moore's Irish Melodies and the singer's own attitude to performance.

The Harp that once . . . . . . . (Molly my treasure)

'Tis the last Rose of Summer . . . . . . . (The Groves of Blarney)

Believe me if all those endearing young charms . . . (My Lodging is on the cold ground)

The Young Rose . . . . . . . (original melody by Mozart)

We may roam through this world . . . . . . . (Garryowen)

Fly not yet, 'tis just the hour . . . . . . . (Planxty Kelly)

Tho' dark are our sorrows . . . . . . . (St Patrick's Day)

When Time who steals our years away . . . . . . . (T. Moore) She is far from the land . . . . . . . (Open the door softly)

(The name of the original Irish Air or the composer is given in brackets)

CCD 021 . . Endearing Young Charms - The Guitar Songs of Tom Moore . . . £5.00

This Compact Disc CCD 021 contains a fascinating view into the musical world of Tom Moore. There are 18 songs, 4 Irish dances (played on violin and guitar) which are mentioned in the poet's Journal or printed as extra pieces in the first editions of the Irish Melodies, and a delightful set of variations by Thomas Chipp (1817) on The Last Rose of Summer, originally for harp but here arranged for fortepiano and guitar.

The perfomers are:

Michael Sanderson (Tenor and Violin), Ian Gammie (early classical guitars) and Katherine May (fortepiano).

The disc contains:

1. The meeting of the waters

2. Come tell me, says Rosa

3. Believe me, if all those endearing young charms

4. By that lake

5. Tis the last rose of summer

6. When Time, who steals our years away

7 - 8. Young Catherine / Paddy O'Rafferty (Violin & Guitar)

9. The time I've lost in wooing

10. The young Rose

11. The harp that once through Tara's halls

12. We may roam through this world

13. The minstrel boy

14. Fill the bumper fair

15. The dream of home

16. Fly not yet

17. She is far from the land

18 - 19. The Fairy Queen / The wind that shakes the barley (Violin & Guitar)

20. Erin! the tear and the smile

21. Tho' dark are our sorrows

22 - 28. Variations on The Last Rose of Summer: (Fortepiano & Guitar)

Introduction & Air (Theme) - Andante Espressivo - Simplice - Bolero - Adagio Espressivo - Andante - Con Moto, Con animato (Finale).

29. Dear Harp of my country

The publisher offers special discounts if you buy the books and CD together. Please quote the appropriate catalogue number when ordering:

CMP 170-D . . The Guitar Songs of Tom Moore, Book 1 plus CCD 021 . . . £10.00

CMP 171-D . . The Guitar Songs of Tom Moore, Book 2 plus CCD 021 . . . £ 9.00

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Last updated: 10th September 2010