Thomas Moore Commemorative Festival
Irish poet and songwriter celebrated in travelling tour and exhibition. Click Play Audio for a podcast from a recent performance of My Gentle Harp
Perhaps best remembered as the compiler of the far-reaching and extraordinarily ambitious Irish Melodies, Thomas Moore (1779-1852), the Bard of Erin, is one of Ireland's most celebrated authors and songwriters.
Published in ten volumes between 1808 and 1834, the Irish Melodies were worldwide hits, reaching people of all classes across Europe, American and Russia. The 124 songs that make up this remarkable collection, based on Irish airs collected by Edward Bunting and others, speak of love and loss, of friendship, and love of country.
2008 marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Moore's Irish Melodies (Volume I). To celebrate and commemorate this vital contribution to Irish cultural heritage, the Thomas Moore Commemorative Festival has planned a diary of events taking place across Ireland, which includes an itinerary of concert performances for voice and piano entitled My Gentle Harp.
The recitals will be performed by some of Ireland's finest young singers, drawn from among the prize winners at the DIT Thomas Moore Festival, held at the National Concert Hall in January 2008. Competition winners are joined by one of Ireland's leading pianists, Una Hunt, who will also outline Moore's far-reaching influence and play music inspired by the Irish Melodies.
At a recent visit to the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, Hunt and her young singers performed such Moore classics as 'The Minstrel Boy', 'The Meeting of the Waters', 'Believe Me if all Those Endearing Young Charms' and, of course, 'The Last Rose of Summer'.
In association with the Thomas Moore Commemorative Concert Tour, an exhibition on Moore will travel throughout Ireland in 2008-9. The exhibition features the travelling element of My Gentle Harp: Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies 1808 - 2008, a multimedia exhibition featuring interviews and performances which took place through the summer months at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.
The travelling exhibition consists of panels outlining the story of Moore's life and literary works, as well as his world-famous songs. Visual and audio elements of the exhibition are provided by the documentary film One Faithful Harp, made by Hummingbird Productions for RTÉ, and the listening programme A Century of Moore's Irish Melodies in Recorded Sound, presented and produced by Una Hunt.
My Gentle Harp: Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies 1808 - 2008 runs in the Linen Hall Library until November 26. The Thomas Moore Commemorative Concert Tour will be visiting the University of Ulster, Derry, Clotworthy Arts Centre, and Marketplace Theatre in November and December.