Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950)

Episodes

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01Moeran's Ghost20101129

Donald Macleod focuses on Moeran's early years, including his first piano music.

"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music.

Greatly influenced by the music of Delius and Vaughan Williams, much of Moeran's output is inspired by nature, and was championed by the leading artists of the day.

He was a great friend to Peter Warlock - both enjoyed travelling together to rural public inns to record the singing of the local inhabitants.

Moeran and Warlock lived together for a period at Eynsford in Kent, where many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving originated.

Moeran's life, although spanning a short period of just over fifty years, is an interesting one.

Tutored at the Royal College of Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and John Ireland, his studies were interrupted by the First World War when Jack was posted to the Western Front.

Due to an exploding shell, he sustained a head injury which affected him for the rest of his life.

Alcohol also affected Moeran, although it was sometimes questionable as to whether it was the drink or his head injury which was making him stagger.

A love interest for Moeran, cellist Peers Coetmore, entered into the composer's life relatively late.

Moeran composed a number of works for her including a sonata and concerto, but although Jack certainly gained much inspiration from their relationship, the marriage itself was not a success.

Coetmore confessed to one friend that it was like being married to an uncle.

Moeran in the second part of his life spent much time at Kenmare in Ireland.

The rural landscape there provided him with the solitude and inspiration he craved.

It was at Kenmare on one stormy night, that Moeran fell off the pier into the mouth of Kenmare River.

His body was pulled out the next day.

Some speculated suicide, or drunkenness, but the inquest found that he'd had a stroke which had caused him to fall.

Throughout the week there will be archive recordings each day of E.J.Moeran in interview from 1947, discussing his life and music.

In the first programme exploring the life and music of E.

J.

Moeran, Donald Macleod looks at the composer's early years, including his tuition at the Royal College of Music, his earliest piano music from 1919, and his involvement in the First World War.

During the programme there is archive footage of Moeran in interview from 1947, discussing his early musical career.

02At Ease With The Locals20101130

Donald Macleod disusses Moeran's collecting of British folk music.

"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music - as a composer he was greatly inspired by nature - and was involved in many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving that originated from his time living with Peter Warlock.

Donald Macleod follows Moeran's return from the Western Front in World War One, where he suffered a head injury from a shell explosion.

He continued his education at The Royal College of Music under the tutelage of John Ireland, and dedicated his first orchestral Rhapsody to his teacher.

Also at this time Moeran took a great interest in folk music, and started to travel around counties such as Norfolk and Suffolk, recording local inhabitants singing their songs.

One folk singer he encountered was Harry Cox, singing The Shooting of his Dear, which Moeran later arranged for voice and piano.

Moeran was very keen that the original words of folksongs were preserved, despite any coyness on the part of his audience.

The grim and lurid tale of Mrs Dyer the Baby Farmer was certainly a subject he had no hesitation in setting for soloist, choir and piano.

Extracts of Moeran in interview from 1947 are included in the programme, where Jack discusses his interest in folk music, and the songs he heard and collected.

03Old Raspberry Goes Off The Rails20101201

Donald Macleod explores Moeran's time living with Peter Warlock at Eynsford.

"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music - as a composer he was greatly inspired by nature - and was involved in many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving that originated from his time living with Peter Warlock.

Jack Moeran lived at Eynsford for a period with Peter Warlock, and many other highly eccentric characters such as Hal the Maori housekeeper, whose mother was supposedly a cannibal.

Originating from Eynsford were many scandalous stories, including drunkenness and debauchery.

It was with the help of Warlock in the nearby Five Bells pub, that Moeran composed the rousing drinking song Maltworms.

Donald Macleod surveys the other attendees of the shenanigans at Eynsford, including Arnold Bax, Constant Lambert, William Walton, Elizabeth Poston, and Augustus John.

This programme includes an interview with Moeran from 1947, discussing his view of modern music.

04Jack Reclaims His Irish Heritage20101202

Donald Macleod focuses on Moeran's reappraisal of his music after Peter Warlock's death.

"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music - as a composer he was greatly inspired by nature - and was involved in many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving that originated from his time living with Peter Warlock.

Many friends were convinced that Peter Warlock had led the thoroughly decent Jack Moeran astray.

However, with Moeran leaving Eynsford and Warlock later taking his own life, Jack began to compose again and reappraise his work.

At last, after many years, he finished his first symphony, which was premiered by the conductor Leslie Heward.

Moeran also started to take a much greater interest in Ireland, in particular Kenmare in County Kerry, where the local inhabitants were very fond of Jack, even feeling that he'd make a good Mayor.

It was the surroundings of this Irish landscape and culture that greatly inspired his Violin Concerto, which often exhibits lyrical Irish folksong tendencies.

During this programme there is an extract of Moeran in interview from 1947, where he discusses his love for Ireland.

05 LASTA Mysterious Death20101203

Donald Macleod focuses on Moeran's final years, including marriage and failing health.

"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music - as a composer he was greatly inspired by nature - and was involved in many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving that originated from his time living with Peter Warlock.

Jack Moeran in the second half of his life, met the cellist Peers Coetmore.

Donald Macleod follows their relationship, which eventually blossomed into marriage, but was not a huge success.

On the eve of his wedding, Jack confessed to a friend that he thought the marriage would be a disaster.

This relationship did however inspire Moeran to compose a number of works for Peers, including a Prelude, Sonata and his Cello Concerto.

Moeran started to become aware of his failing health in the last few years of his life.

He was desperately trying to work on his second symphony, back in the setting of Kenmare which he loved so much, but found that he could not concentrate for sustained periods of time.

On one stormy night, he fell from the pier into the Kenmare river.

Although some presumed he was drunk, or with his increasing mental instability maybe he took his life, the inquest in fact found that he'd had a stroke.

This programme includes an interview of Moeran from 1947, discussing his wish to complete his second symphony back in Kenmare - a task he was never to fulfil.