Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Celebrating 200 years of Irish melodies

The historic, patriotic, and romantic music of Ireland is being brought to life at the Thomas Moore Festival on Monday, March 15 at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Known as the “Bard of Erin,” Thomas Moore is best remembered as the writer and performer of “Moore's Irish Melodies” which, it was said, would “outlive Ireland.”

Thomas Moore was born on the corner of Aungier Street in Dublin on May 28, 1779. His father hailed from an Irish speaking Gaeltacht in Co. Kerry and his mother from Co. Wexford. He was educated at Trinity College which at the end of the 18th century, had begun to allow entry to Catholic students.

It was as a poet, translator, balladeer and singer that Moore found fame. His work soon became immensely popular and he is thought of as the most enduring representative of Ireland’s musical culture. His 124 songs, the “Irish Melodies,” commonly called “Moore's Melodies,” were published in 1846 and 1852. The collection was based on the finest Irish airs collected from traveling harpers, whose traditions died out in Ireland during Moore’s lifetime.

Moore brought Irish music to every corner of the globe with songs such as “The Last Rose of Summer,” and “Believe Me if all Those Endearing Young Charms.” Moore’s legacy is a lofty one - he is known as the pioneer of Irish music’s global popularity for two hundred years and he is counted among Ireland's national treasures.

Founded in 2008 to mark the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies, the award-winning Thomas Moore Festival continues to celebrate Moore's vital contribution to Irish culture and heritage, simultaneously promoting exciting young Irish vocal talents.

Since its inception, the festival has held a national competition for young singers in Ireland. What began as a one time event, gained remarkable momentum and prompted organizers to initiate a concert touring program of more than 40 performances to date which have been viewed by over 70, 000 people in Ireland.

Now, the festival is set for its American debut. Following a performance at Westmoreland UCC in Washington D.C. on Saturday, March 13, the gifted troupe, including Dean Powers and Rachel Kelly, will give a recital at Carnegie Hall on March 15 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are priced at just $25.00 and can be purchased at Carnegie Hall’s Box Office – www.carnegiehall.org or by calling 212-247-7800.

The group has also produced a box set recording of all the Irish Melodies extending to over eight hours of music – the only offering that features all of Moore’s Melodies in one set. The collection is available online at www.thomasmoorefestival.com.

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