Melrose Music

Melrose Music MM publishes music and recordings: Early and Contemporary
including a large number of works by Irish composers.

About our composers and editors

Rodney Baldwin
Turlough Ó Carolan (1670-1738)
Charles Thomas Carter (c.1735 - 1808)

Philip Cogan (c.1748-1833)
Thomas Augustine Geary (1773-1801)
Douglas Gunn
Daniel Roseingrave (c.1650-1727)

Ralph Roseingrave (c.1695-1747)
Thomas Roseingrave (c.1690-1766)

Lodovico da Viadana (c.1560-1627)
Garrett Colley Wellesley (1735-1781) Earl of Mornington
Jacob Willems (1601-1645)
Richard Woodward (1743-1777)

 

Rodney Baldwin
Rodney Baldwin was born in Oxford in England but has been living in Ireland for many years. He studied with Peter Sweeney in Dublin, with John O'Sullivan at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and with Jos. van Immerseele in Antwerp. He was a member of the Douglas Gunn Ensemble for a number of years from 1989, and with them gave many concerts all over Ireland. He was harpsichordist for their CD O'Carolan's Feast.

Rodney has played Harpsichord with the R.T.E. Symphony and Concert Orchestras and with several Irish chamber orchestras. He directed the early music group Hortus Musicus for some years and with them gave many notable performances. He has performed in Ireland and the U.K.and has recorded for R.T.E. He teaches at the North Dublin School of Music and is Organist and Choirmaster of St. Andrew's Church, Malahide and with this choir has performed in many Cathedrals in Britain and Ireland.

Rodney is currently editing our series: 17th Century Sacred Music. He recently discovered the Flemish composer Jacob Willems (1601-1645) whose music dominates the series at the moment. More works by Willems are scheduled to appear in this series during 2005.

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Turlough Ó Carolan (1670-1738)
Turlough Ó Carolan was born in 1670 in Co. Meath. His father subsequently transferred to Alderford in Co. Roscommon, where he worked in some capacity or other for the faamily of Mac Dermott Roe. Mrs. Mac Dermott Roe seems to have taken a liking to the young Carolan and, when at the age of eighteen he was blinded by smallpox, she arranged for him to learn the harp from a harper of the Mac Dermott Roe family. She supported him until at the age of twenty one he set off on his career of itinerant harper. The harpers, most of whom like Carolan were blind, travelled the countryside on horseback guided by a helper. Everywhere they went they were received as honoured guests and were very hospitably treated in all the great and indeed not so great, houses. Carolan, although he was said to have been a somewhat indifferent harper having come to the instrument at too late an age, had an enormous reputation as a composer, and would therefore have been considered a cut above his fellow harpers.

In musical terms Carolan is unusual, if not unique, in the three elements of influence which affect his music. These are (i) the music of the Irish harping tradition, whose roots descend to the depths of antiquity and which was to die out by the end of the eighteenth century, (ii) the traditional dance music and songs and, very importantly, (iii) the music of the great Italian composer of his day, Arcangelo Corelli. These three disparate strands coalesce in his music, producing a phenomenon unique in the history of Irish music. He fails to fall comfortably into any convenient musicological category and is therefore an enigmatic and most interesting musical figure. But this is no more a barrier to his success now than it has been at any time since his own day; and his music is perhaps more popular and more widely played today than ever before.

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Charles Thomas Carter (c.1735-1808)
A considerable degree of confusion exists about the biographical details of this composer. There were several musicians and composers with the Carter surname in Dublin during the 2nd half of the 18th century, in particular two composers: Thomas Carter and Charles Thomas Carter. The confusion is intensified by the fact that the latter was, it seems, known also as Thomas or Tom and that both men ended up in London! There are some anthems by T. Carter in the choir library of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

Charles Thomas Carter was born in Dublin c.1735. He was a boy chorister in Christ Church Cathedral. He became organist of St. Werburgh's Church in Dublin around 1751 and moved to London in the early 1770s. In London he established a name as a composer: a huge amount of music by Thomas Carter or Charles Thomas Carter was published in London at the end of the eighteenth century including chamber music, vocal music, and music for solo harpsichord, piano, and organ. John O'Keefe writing in his Recollections said of Carter that “any music he had never seen before, placed before him, upside down, he could play it off on the harpsichord ”!

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Philip Cogan (c.1748-1833)
Philip Cogan was, arguably, the most important and it seems the most prolific composer working in Dublin at the close of the 18th century. He was born in Cork in 1748 and became a boy chorister in St. Fin Barre's Cathedral there under William Smith. Later he became an adult member of that choir before deciding to go to Dublin in 1772 (at the age of 24). He was appointed as a stipendiary in the choir of Christ Church Cathedral on his arrival in Dublin. It seems he didn’t stay long in the post soon resigning to become organist of John's Church in 1778. Two years, later on 14th November 1780 he was appointed Organist of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Besides being a notable performer on Pianoforte, Harpsichord and Organ, and a busy teacher, Philip Cogan also managed to be a prolific composer. His published output runs to two piano concertos, something like twenty piano sonatas, five sonatas for Violin and Piano, some separate piano pieces (variations, rondos and the like) and a number of songs, including one for voice, two violins and figured bass. Most of his works are extant but some of the piano sonatas seem to have been lost. Besides these published works, there is some church music in the manuscript music library of Christ Church Cathedral. Cogan died in 1833 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

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Thomas Augustine Geary (1773-1801)
T
homas Augustine Geary, also known as Timothy Geary, was born in Dublin in 1773. He graduated Mus. Bac. at Trinity College Dublin in 1792. His brief career was cut short when he drowned while bathing at Dalkey near Dublin in 1801. In his 27 years he established a considerable name for himself as a composer of great promise. His output includes piano music and vocal music. His songs were promoted by a well known tenor of the time John Spray (d.1827), one of the Vicars Choral at the two Dublin Cathedrals: Christ Church and St. Patrick’s. Spray was reputed to have been an exceptional tenor of remarkable quality.

Geary's early death deprived Ireland of a very promising composer as had Richard Woodward's death twenty four years earlier.

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Douglas Gunn
Douglas Gunn was born in Dublin in 1935 and is very well known from his countless concerts, Radio broadcasts, Television appearances, recordings, compositions, editions and arrangements.

His musical career began as a choirboy at St. Patrick's Cathedral Dublin and the Chapel of Trinity College Dublin under Dr. George Hewson, and he studied with private teachers. After some years as Lay Vicar Choral and Choir Librarian at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin, he joined Radio Telefis Eireann working in Cork and Dublin. Throughout his career he has directed and conducted many vocal and instrumental ensembles most notably The Locrian Consort, The Patrician Consort, the R.T.E. Singers, the Irish Pro Musica Chorale, the Cork Schola Cantorum, Musick's Monument and of course The Douglas Gunn Ensemble. He was on the staff of the Cork School of Music from 1974 to 1987, teaching Recorder and Baroque Chamber Music. He also taught at the Dublin Early Music Centre for nine years.

Douglas Gunn is an authority on Irish Music of the 17th and 18th centuries. His compositions, editions and arrangements are published by J. and W. Chester, Ossian Publications, Poddle Press, and Melrose Music MM. and are frequently performed and broadcast.

As a composer most of Douglas Gunn's output has been Choral music. He has also done material for solo voice with various instruments, and some chamber music, including music for recorder of course! Recently he has produced some music for solo piano . Commissions have been received from the following: University College Cork Choral Society; Madrigal 75 (Choir); Cork Municipal School of Music; Westport Arts Festival; Cork Ivy Day Committee; The Cork Schola Cantorum; Binneas Chamber Choir (Limerick); Stephen Lalor (Dublin); Anthony Byrne (Schull) and NUI Galway Choral Socoety

He was one of the founders of East Cork Early Music which runs the East Cork Early Music Festival every September and is now a member of its committee.

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Daniel Roseingrave (c.1650-1727)
Daniel Roseingrave was Organist and Lay Vicar Choral at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin from 1698 until his death in 1727. He had moved to Dublin as organist of both Cathedrals. after holding similar appointments at three English Cathedrals: Gloucester, 1679, Winchester, 1682 and Salisbury, 1692. He had been a boy chorister in the English Chapel Royal under Captain Cook, and is said to have studied under Henry Purcell and John Blow. He certainly seems to have been influenced by the latter's music. He was a somewhat volatile character, having cut off the ear of one of his colleagues with his sword in Christ Church during a service! Not surprisingly this caused the authorities there to ban the wearing of swords during services. Daniel was also in trouble at St. Patrick's for fighting with another of his colleagues at a tavern. He had previously been in difficulty at Gloucester for violent behavior. On the strength of his surviving music one would wish that more had come down to us.

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Ralph Roseingrave (c1695-1747)
Ralph Roseingrave was Organist and Lay Vicar Choral at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin from 1727 until his death in 1747. His father, Daniel, had moved to Dublin in 1698 as organist of both Cathedrals. Ralph succeeded his father as Organist of both Cathedrals, officially on Daniel's death in 1727, but in fact probably some years before that. He, his wife, Sarah and their children lived on Peter Street, near to St. Patrick’s. She died at the end of April 1746 and was buried at St. Patrick’s on May Day that year. Ralph survived her by only a year and a half. He was buried in the same grave on 7th December 1747.

There are at least 12 anthems and two Services, in C major and in F major, by Ralph Roseingrave in the choir Library of Christ Church Cathedral. Four of these anthems are published by Melrose Music MM.

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Thomas Roseingrave (c1690-1766)
Thomas Roseingrave was born around 1690 in Winchester where his father Daniel, was the Cathedral Organist at the time. Daniel’s other son, Ralph, was born around 1695 and the family moved to Dublin in 1698 on Daniel's appointment as organist of the two Cathedrals there. Thomas appears to have been the most prolific of the three and certainly had the highest public profile. On the strength of a grant from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, he went to Italy at the age of nineteen where he met, befriended and studied with Domenico Scarlatti. He settled in London around 1717, quickly establishing himself as a performer, composer and teacher. In 1725 he was appointed organist of the new church of St. George’s Hanover Square. Not long afterwards he began to show signs of mental instability (which he may well have inherited from his father). He returned to Ireland some time before 1753, for in that year Mrs. Delany writes "Mr. Roseingrave (...who was sent away from St. George's on account of mad fits) is now in Ireland, and at times can play very well on the harpsichord." Thomas Roseingrave died in Dublin in 1766.

Roseingrave’s keyboard music was severely criticised by Sir John Hawkins who observed that "His style both of playing and composing, was harsh and disgusting"! Charles Burney was also critical: "The harmony in the voluntaries which Roseingrave published is rendered intolerably harsh and ungrateful by a licentious and extravagant modulation...." The style of the Flute sonatas is a little more conservative than that of his the keyboard music, nevertheless the harmony and melody can at times be somewhat unorthodox and his penchant for syncopated rhythms is indulged freely. Burney’s and Hawkins’ misguided criticisms need hardly trouble us today as we appreciate the music of this highly individualistic and idiosyncratic composer.

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Lodovico da Viadana (c.1560-1627)
Lodovico da Viadana was born c1560 in Viadana, near Parma, and according to a late eighteenth century document was a member of the Grossi family. He took the name Viadana upon entering the order of the Minor Observants some time before 1588. He was Maestro di Capella at Mantua cathedral from 1593 until 1597 during which time he published four volumes of church music, including the Missarum liber primus. He held the position of Maestro di Capella successively at the convent of S. Luca, Cremona, in 1602, the cathedral of Concordia near Venice from 1608 to 1609 and of Faro cathedral from 1610 to 1612. He was appointed Diffinitor of his order for the province of Bologna in 1614 and remained in this office until 1617. In 1623 he was ordered to leave Viadana and to settle in Busetto. He died at the convent of S. Andrea, Gualtieri in 1627.

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Garrett Colley Wellesley (1735-1781) Earl of Mornington
Garrett Colley Wellesley was born at Dangan Castle, County Meath, Ireland in 1735. He was the son of the first Baron Mornington and became the second Baron Mornington on his father’s death, becoming in due course The Earl of Mornington. He was a godson of Mrs. Delany’s and as a child was extremely precocious - and not just as a musician. Mrs. Delany writing in a letter on 15th August 1748:

He was thirteen last month, he is a very good scholar and whatever study he undertakes he masters it most surprisingly. He began with the fiddle last year, he now plays every thing at sight; he understands fortification, building of ships and has more knowledge than I ever met with in one so young. *

He also played the organ and harpsichord. He was self taught as a composer and when he approached Francesco Geminiani and Thomas Roseingrave for lessons they told him that he already knew all that they could teach him. He became the first professor of music at Dublin University in 1764. Among his pupils there was Richard Woodward, some of whose music is also published by Melrose Music MM.

A point of non musical interest is that one of Mornington’s sons was the first Duke of Wellington.

 

*Quoted in Letters from Georgian Ireland: The correspondence of Mary Delany 1731- 68 Edited by Angélique Day, Friars Bush Press, Belfast 1991. See also Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville (Mrs. Delany) vols i - vi, by Lady Llanover, London 1861 - 62.

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Jacob Willems (1601-1645)

Not much is known about the life of Jacob Willems beyond the bare facts as given in the following Chronology:

Chronology of Jacob Willems

2-11-1601: Born to Jan Willems and Catharina Mathie
22-9-1623: Ordained as subdeacon in Malines
23-9-1623: Ordained as deacon in Malines
20 -2-1624: Proposed as Succentor of St. Donatian's Cathedral
2-3-1624: Ordained as deacon in Brussels at Archbishop's palace
29-3-1624: Installed
11-6-1630: Appointed Chaplain of the Chapel of St. Basil (Holy Blood)
2-2-1631 Testament written12-3-1632 Appointed as Director of Music of St. Donatian's
16-6-1634 Offered manuscripts including eight-part Magnificats to the Cathedral
?-2-1637 Paid £73 + 8sc. to the publisher Magdalena Phalese
3-8-1643 Resigned as Director of Music
31-8-1643 Acting Director of Music and presented a new chorister to the Cathedral
29-10-1643 Offered gifts of his music (published and manuscripts) to the Cathedral
26-9-1645 Died
27-9-1645 Buried

We wish to thank Fr. Kurt Priem, Diocesan Archivist of Bruges and M. Alfons Dewitte for their help in compiling the above chronology.

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Richard Woodward (1743-1777)
Richard Woodward was born in Dublin in 1743, the son of one of the Lay Vicars Choral of Christ Church and St. Patrick's Cathedrals whose name was also Richard. Richard (senior) outlived his son by 18 years. Richard (Junior) was presumably brought up in the Choir School and Choir of Christ Church Cathedral under George Walsh his predecessor as organist there. On Walsh's death in 1765, Woodward (at the age of 22) was appointed organist of Christ Church. He was made a Lay Vicar Choral there at the same time He was also made Master of the choristers at both Cathedrals or as his memorial at Christ Church Cathedral has it: "Preceptor to the Children of the two Choirs, Dublin." . In 1770 he was appointed as a Lay Vicar Choral at St. Patrick’s. In 1771 at the age of 28, Woodward received the degree of Mus.D. from Dublin University; this was during the Earl of Mornington's tenure as Professor of Music there.

Woodward's Op. 3, "Cathedral Music", is his most important publication and contains much fine music; including anthems and a Service in B flat

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and browse through our Lists:

Modern Instrumental Music
Modern Choral Music
Modern Vocal Music
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17th Century Sacred Music
Instrumental Music from 18th Century Ireland
Choral Music from 18th Century Ireland
Vocal Music from 18th Century Ireland
Music for Christmas
Music featuring Recorders
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or by Post to: Melrose Music MM, 7 The Willows,
Castlemartyr, County Cork, Ireland.