DOMINION 6TH JULY 1812 P 11
IRISH FOLK SONGS.
Everybody that Ireland has a music of its own, and it is very sweet and beautiful music, too. Many people, however, imagine that the Tom Moore ballads comprise the great musical literature of that country. This is not the case, as the Countess de Cisneros will show in the music she is to sing at her concerts.
As soon as her present tour of Australasia was decided upon, Madame de Cisneros commenced her search for Irish music. She know that Ireland once possessed a race of troubadours—wandering birds who in Gaelic sang the legends of the country to tho music of the harp, Ireland’s national emblem.
“In America,” said the great mezzo-contralto, describing her search, “one can get the most-up-to-date information about everything. I set to work to hunt New York for some of those old harpers’ melodies. I approached several big music publishers. But they all gazed at me sadly, and told me they had never heard of anything of the kind. I was not discouraged. I kept on seeking, and in the end I found a publisher who said that he had somewhere in his library a book of songs just the sort I described. It was Dr. G. Petrie’s, collected early Irish music. I found that Dr. Petrie had taken many of his songs from the work of Mr. Edward Bunting, another enthusiast in Irish folk music. After much disappointment I obtained a copy of Edward Bunting’s work, and I found the two veritable storehouses of the exquisite music of old Ireland. I have been through them all. All are beautiful, but I have selected those which I consider to be the gems of the collections for inclusion in my Australasian programmes.”
In each of her concert programmes Madame do Cisneros will include a series of these delightful old melodies. the first of these is “Farewell, My Gentle Harp.” This song was first put into written form in I650. A well-known harper-Rory’ Dall M’Cahon-sang it in Dublin that year. A note was taken of it by a musician present, who recognised its value, and this note afterwards came into the possession of Mr. Edward Bunting in the course of his researches.
The date of the second number, “The Foggy Dew,” is unknown. Some harper composed it in the dim past. He taught it to others, and it was handed down, a traditional- folk song, from harper to harper, until Harper M’Garvay sang it in Dublin, and it was taken down about tho year 1700. “My Thousand Times Beloved” found its way into written form in similar fashion about the year 1798.
The last of, the four Irish songs of the first programme is called “A Golden Cradle Holds Thee.” Who composed it, and when, nobody knows. Mr. Bunting heard an old Irishwoman sing it away, in the wilds of Galway. He took down the music and tho Gaelic words. It relates a pretty, legend about the fairy fort of Farsoe. A young girl, whose infant brother had died a week before, was said to have wandered into the fort, there to find her brother in a rich cradle; placed; there by fairy hands. The song, with its exquisite music, is the lullaby she sings as she rocks tho golden cradle.