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Mozart, Stevenson, and the rest-Avison seems to be the only one whose name and tune have clung to the poet's words; and we have the man and the melody sent to us, as it were, by the lyrist himself. The tune is now rarely sung except at church festivals and village entertainments, but the life and clamor of the scene at the Red Sea are in it, and it is something more than a mere musical curiosity. Its style, however, is antiquated with its timbrel beat and its canorous harmony and “coda fortis”-and modern choirs have little use in religious service for the sonata written for viols and horns.
It was Moore's splendid hymn that gave it vogue in England and Ireland, and sent it across the sea to find itself in the house of its friends with the psalmody of Billings and Swan. Moore was the man of all men to take a fancy to it and make language to its string-and-trumpet concert. He was a musician himself, and equally able to adapt a tune and to create one. As a festival performance, replete with patriotic noise, let Avison's old “Sound the Timbrel” live.
Charles Avison was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1710. He studied in Italy, wrote works on music, and composed sonatas and concertos for stringed orchestras. For many years he was organist of St. Nicholas' Kirk in his native town.
The tune to “Sound the Loud Timbrel” is a chorus from one of his longer compositions. He died in 1770.
"THE HARPTHAT ONCE THROUGH TARA'S HALLS."
This is the only one of Moore's patriotic "Irish Melodies” that lives wherever sweet tones are loved and poetic feeling finds answering hearts. The exquisite sadness of its music and its text is strangely captivating, and its untold story beckons from its lines.
Tara was the ancient home of the Irish kings. King Dermid, who had apostatized from the faith of St. Patrick and his followers, in A.D., 554, violated the Ch.istian right of sanctuary by taking an escaped prisoner from the altar of refuge in Temple Ruadar: (Tipperary) and putting him to death. The pation priest and his clergy marched to Tara and sok mnly pronounced a curse upon the King. Not long afterwards Dermid was assassinated, and superstition shunned the place "as a castle under ban.” The last human resident of “Tara's Hall” was the King's bard, who lingered there, forsaken and ostracized, till he starved to death. Years later one daring visitor found his skeleton and his broken harp.
Moore utilized this story of tragic pathos as a figure in his song for "fallen Erin" lamenting her lost royalty—under a curse that had lasted thirteen hundred years.
The harp that once through Tara's halls
The soul of music shed,
As if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days,
So glory's thrill is o'er,
Now feel that pulse no more. No one can read the words without “thinking." the tune. It is supposed that Moore composed them both.
THE MARSEILLAISE HYMN.
Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
Hark! harkl what millions bid you risel The “Marseillaise Hymn" so long supposed to be the musical as well as verbal composition of Roget de Lisle, an army engineer, was proved to be only his words set to an air in the “Credo” of a German mass, which was the work of one Holzman in 1726. De Lisle was known to be a poet and musician as well as a soldier, and, as he is said to have played or sung at times in the churches and convents, it is probable that he found and copied the manuscript of Holzman's melody. His haste to rush his fiery “Hymn” before the public in the fever of the Revolution allowed him no time to make his own music, and he adapted the German's notes to his words and launched the song in the streets of Strasburg. It was first sung in Paris by a band of chanters from Marseilles, and, like the trumpets blown around Jericho, it shattered the walls of the French monarchy to their foundations.
The “Marseillaise Hymn" is mentioned here for its patriotic birth and associations. An attempt to
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Was the really notable part of this old-time “Ode," the favorite of village assemblies, and the inevitable practice-piece for amateur violinists. The author of the crude symphony was Deacon Janaziah (or Jazariah) Summer, of Taunton, Mass., who prepared it-music and probably words—for the semi-centennial of Simeon Dagget's Academy in 1708. The “Ode” was subsequently published in Philadelphia, and also in Albany. It was a song of the people, and sang itself through the country for fifty or sixty years, always culminating in the swift crescendo chorus and repeat
The British yoke and Gallic chain
And shout “Long live America!” The average patriot did not mind it if “ Columbi-ay” and “Ameri-kay” were not exactly classic orthoëpy.
This was written (1798) by Judge Joseph Hopkinson, born, in Philadelphia, 1770, and died there, 1843. He wrote it for a friend in that city who was a theatre singer, and wanted a song for Independence Day. The music (to which it is still sung) was “The President's March,” by a composer named Fyles, near the end of the 18th century.
There is nothing hymn-like in the words, which are largely a glorification of Gen. Washington, but the tune, a concerted piece better for band than voices, has the drum-and-anvil chorus quality suitable for vociferous mass singing—and a zealous Salvation Army corps on field nights could even fir a processional song to it with gospel words.
Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
And slavery clank her galling chains:
New England's God forever reigns.