Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sir John Andrew Stevenson - Last Rose of Summer

Image via the Wik
There are many twists and turns in a life.  Certainly Ireland's greatest composer, Turlough O'Carolan, the blind harpist who might never have learned to play but for the kindness of Mrs. MacDermot Roe saw these.  Likewise with Sir John Stevenson who did perhaps more than anyone to capture the great old Irish tunes.

Son of a carriage maker, orphaned young, he had a series of lucky events: taken in by a family of musical instrument makers, getting accepted into the choir at Christ Church College even though he was Irish (only English were supposed to be enrolled in those days), his musical talent was able to bloom.  Soon appointed choral vicar, he earned a Doctor of Music.

He was a composer of some renown in late 18th Century Dublin, and was knighted for his work in 1803.  However, he is best known today for his ten volume Irish Melodies (written with Thomas Moore), published between 1808 and 1834.  Stevenson foreshadowed the work of later composers like Ralph Vaughn Williams, making traditional tunes popular for the drawing room.  Stevenson's piano scores became an archive of the Emerald Isle's musical past.

1 comment:

Chickenmom said...

That was lovely - thank you!