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Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi

Stower 02 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 09 - 09:20 AM
Fred McCormick 02 Nov 09 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Murphy 02 Nov 09 - 09:39 AM
Stower 02 Nov 09 - 09:45 AM
Fred McCormick 02 Nov 09 - 09:52 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 02 Nov 09 - 12:17 PM
Ross Campbell 02 Nov 09 - 01:11 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Nov 09 - 02:12 PM
ThreeSheds 02 Nov 09 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,NFG 16 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,oldtimer 17 Feb 12 - 04:31 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 17 Feb 12 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 18 Feb 12 - 08:39 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Feb 12 - 08:47 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 14 - 02:41 AM
Mr Red 21 Oct 14 - 04:20 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Oct 14 - 05:50 AM
Steve Shaw 21 Oct 14 - 08:39 PM
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Subject: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Stower
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM

Turlough O'Carolan's tune, known as Mrs. Poer (or Power) in the earliest source, but called Carolan's Concerto everywhere else, has a story attached to it that many Mudcatters will be aware of and that I have a question about, answerable only by those aware of both Carolan and Vivaldi or those with a personal library better than mine. (I reproduce the story below for anyone who won't know what this thread is about, otherwise). You can hear it played beautifully here and here.

The story is as follows and is a little confused. It concerns a contest of musical skill between Carolan and an Italian musician, possibly Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762), one of the leading Italian virtuoso violinist-composers of his time. One source (Charles O'Conor) states that Carolan never met Geminiani; another (Goldsmith) states an unnamed Italian musician in the story; others imply that it was Geminiani. The truth is impossible to state. However, the event is said to have taken place at Castle Bourke, Lord Mayo's residence, where Carolan was a frequent visitor; and Geminiani was resident in Dublin for the five years prior to Carolan's death, so it is entirely possible that they met.

Either Geminiani challenged Carolan or Carolan challenged Geminiani to a trial of skill. Either Geminiani played an Italian piece of music with some parts deliberately mangled to test Carolan, who rectified the errors and had the corrected piece sent to Geminiani ? or ? Geminiani played Vivaldi's 5th Concerto on his violin and Carolan played the whole piece after him without missing a note, though he hadn't heard it before. He then instantly composed a piece in the same manner ? Carolan's Concerto.

Some years ago on TV I saw a wonderful series on Irish music which played the first few bars of the Vivaldi piece followed by the first few bars of the Carolan piece - almost identical. So the question is: Vivaldi's 5th Concerto? For which instrument? RV number? Which movement? My search had drawn a blank. I cannot find it referenced more precisely in any book or any website.

I know this is a long shot. But can any Midcatters help, please?


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 09:20 AM

Murphy


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 09:35 AM

this is a long shot but about ten years ago I heard Micheál Ó Sullibhean lecturing on the subject of Irish harpers. He raised the question of the Gemianini/Carolan meeting and played a few bars on the piano of one of Vivalidi's concertos, caliming that was the source of Carolan's Concerto. He identified the piece, but for the life of me I can't remember which one it was. I think I recall though that the motif which Carolan appears to have used came from the very opening.

It's quite possible that Ó Sullibhean might have published something on that subject. In which case, if you can track down his CV, it will be in there.

Also Donal O'Sullivan once wrote a biography of Carolan, which might identify the Vivaldi piece in question.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: GUEST,Murphy
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 09:39 AM

The only reference I can find to Vivaldis fifth is Flute Concerto RV434. Can't find much similarity between the two. You tube has a ten minute extract from RV434. Possibly later in the concerto there may be something.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Stower
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 09:45 AM

Thanks, Fred and Murphy. The TV programme I mentioned was also Micheál Ó Sullibhean demonstrating the Vivaldi/Carolan link, and I can't find anything on the net under his name that answers my question. Was the programme called 'River(s) of Sound'? I have searched You Tube for ages, listening to anything that mentions Vivaldi, concerto and 4, but nothing.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 09:52 AM

Stower. "Was the programme called 'River(s) of Sound'?"

That wat it, in the singular.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 12:17 PM

According the Donal O'Sullivan (Carolan - the life and times of an Irish harper, vol1, pp146), quoting Goldsmith - the musician in question played over on his fiddle the fifth concerto of Vivaldi. I assume this was the 5th Violin Concerto, RV253 La tempesta di mare. You can hear samples here: Naxos: Vivaldi Violin Concertos Op.8, 5-8 and 10-12, and you might hear a little similarity in the start of the 1st movement.

O'Sullivan also dismisses the story that he composed the concerto spontaneously after hearing the Vivaldi: "Presumably, the piece played by Carolan immediately after the test-piece is the one known as 'Carolan's Concerto'; but the title of this tune in Lee's 1780 Collection (the earliest we have) is not 'Carolan's Concerto' but 'Mrs. Poer'. Hence it is reasonably certain that 'Carolan's Concerto' was composed in honour of Mrs. Elizabeth Power, the wife of David Power, who lived at Coorheen, on the shore of Loughrea, County Galway. If so, it is unlikely that Carolan would have composed it extempore, as alleged, in the hall of Castle Bourke".


Mick


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 01:11 PM

Simon Chadwick's Early Gaelic Harp Emporium describes the original edition of Donal O'Sullivan's "Carolan - The Life and Times of an Irish Harper". He also has for sale the Celtic Music (yes, that Dave Bulmer - he wasn't all bad) reprint and the most recent resetting by Ossian publications, (still in print), also some other Carolan-related material.

The latter has additional tunes, recent attributions, and notes in an appendix by Bonnie Shaljean, who may be able to shed more light.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 02:12 PM

My appendix in the latest edition mainly concerns material from the subsequently-discovered MacLean-Clephane manuscript, among other things, so it has some nice music that's not in the first one. But the only mention of Carolan's Concerto (I have no reason to dispute Dr. O'Sullivan's findings, cited above) in this new section is the inclusion of the modern version of this piece as it is now played and heard, for the sake of completeness (and also not to disappoint any musician who looks for it in this book). The earlier one is pretty similar in the "A" music but differs somewhat in the "B" music.

Donal O'Sullivan's biography has never been surpassed for scholarship, and is still the definitive source. (He is no relation to Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, BTW.) I believe you can get the updated modern edition from Simon Chadwick - it's published now by Music Sales Ltd. in London and IS still in print.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 02:46 PM

Just drifting the thread a little.
Shortly after 9.00am on BBC Radio3 they played a piece that I was sure was a reinterpretation of a Carolan tune but wasn't! Its worthwhile doing a Listen Again to this
ROLF LISLEVAND
Passacaglia cantata / Corrente / Corrente
Rolf Lislevand (archlute, baroque guitar, theorboe)
Arianna Savall (triple harp, voice)
Pedro Estevan (percussion)
Bjørn Kjellemyr (colascione, double-bass)
Guido Morini (organ, clavichord)
Marco Ambrosini (nyckelharpa)
Thor-Harald Johnsen (chitarra battente)
ECM NEW SERIES 1922 476 3049, T.12-14


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: GUEST,NFG
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM

I always thought it was the concerton in A Op. 3 No 6 RV356. They sound very similar to my ear.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: GUEST,oldtimer
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 04:31 PM

It was Jeminianni ok


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 05:32 PM

Donal Sullivan's Carolan - The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper, tells us that it is by no means certain that Carolan ever met Germiniani, At least one source says they never met, Goldsmith's story of Carolan faultlessly imitating a piece gives only an unnamed Italian Master, Bunting repeats Goldsmith's story replacing the unnamed source with Germiniani but quoting a reference in The Monthly Review which doesn't exist, nor is it any other place in The Monthly Review.

In the story as given by Goldsmith the unnamed master is said to have played over on his fiddle the fifth concerto of Vivaldi. In my earlier post I suggested the 5th violin concerto of Op8 (RV253), simply because of the mention of the fiddle. But it could easily have been some other concerto of Vivaldi's (Murphy's post above mentions the 5th flute (recorder) concerto RV434); there may be others but I don't intent to go looking for all the possibilities. According to the story Carolan merely (!) played it faultlessly after the master had played it through.

Italian music was in vogue in Ireland at the time and Carolan was meant to have been influenced by the music of Vivaldi, Corelli and Germiniani (who spent a lot of time in Dublin). But he was not a trained composer in the same way they were: In stating that Carolan was an imitator of Corelli reference is made merely to the form and melodic idiom of certain of his piecesl for Carolan's blindness and his lack of formal education prevent us from regarding him as a composer in the accepted sense of that term and preclude any closed comparison than that described. (O'Sullivan)

Of Carolan's Concerto / Mrs. Poer, the quote I gave earlier from O'Sullivan's book suggest that it was not an extempore piece, but more likely composed at leisure. Any similarity to works by the Italian composers mentioned is likely to be in the matter of general style or particular idioms.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 08:39 AM

Back in 1973 I saw Alistair Anderson at the Taverner's club at Blackpool and he told the story of the musical duel and illustrated it by playing two pieces. I know the second piece was Carolan's concerto but I can't for the life of me remember the name of the Italian piece. May be worth contacting him for details.
He has a website
http://www.alistairanderson.com/


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 08:47 AM

I've been telling the kids it was Handel who contested with Carolan when I play it in schools, due to faulty memory. Thanks! Hopefully I'll be able to give the correct information now. Handel's a lot easier to remember than Germiniani though. It makes for a good story.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 14 - 02:41 AM

Somewhere I read the statement that Carolan visited Venice to meet Vivaldi, did so, and Vivaldi's music changed from that point onward. Does anyone have evidence for this meeting and influence?


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Mr Red
Date: 21 Oct 14 - 04:20 AM

I never heard a story of O'Carolan travelling outside Ireland in fact re the story I have heard that it was Germiniani who was in Ireland. BBC radio many years ago. The story included mutual admiration.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Oct 14 - 05:50 AM

No, Guest, that's a myth. Whoever sparked that rumour probably mixed up Vivaldi with Geminiani - both he and Carolan were frequent visitors at Lord Mayo's home, which was something of a cultural centre. Incidentally, that story about Carolan's Concerto having been written in rivalry to Geminiani is also apocryphal, fun though it is. In fact it was composed for Fanny Power's mother.


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Subject: RE: Carolan's Concerto and Vivaldi
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Oct 14 - 08:39 PM

No scholarship from me here, though I've played this piece for many years. Melodically it's quite a bit more complex in some regards than many other Carolan tunes, and, in my view, very nicely constructed - my instincts (and only my instincts!) tell me that he must have spent a fair amount of time on it, so I agree with Mick Pearce above that it was more probably composed at leisure.


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