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The Londonderry Air

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (03/17/21)
Composer: Irish traditional melody, arr. Dicks, Ernest A.
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Ernest Alfred Dicks (1865-1948) was an organist in Cheltenham, and also to the Royal Masonic Lodge. He published several collections, including these fine set of "Hymn Tune Voluntaries - Twelve Pieces for Organ in Various Styles founded on Favourite Psalm and Hymn Tunes," published by Bayley & Ferguson in 1923.

The "Londonderry Air" is an Irish air that originated in County Londonderry, Ireland. It is popular among the American Irish diaspora and is well known throughout the world. The tune is played as the victory sporting anthem of Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games. The song "Danny Boy" uses the tune, with a set of lyrics written in the early 20th century.

The title of the air came from the name of County Londonderry, and was collected by Jane Ross of Limavady in the county.

Over the last 10 years or so, I've usually done something on March 17th to commemorate/celebrate St. Patrick's Day. During these years, I think I've done almost all of the "classic settings" of this beloved melody, with the exception of this fine version by Ernest A. Dicks.

It was published by Bayley & Ferguson in 1927, and is a lush, highly expressive version, which is certainly on par with many of the other more well-known versions.

Dicks uses the "traditional" way of setting this tune, namely use of the "grand arch" style, enhanced by the essential grand crescendo and decrescendo, which must be seamless in deliver, and artistically effect in outcome.

I found this setting to be somewhat "different," particularly in the harmonic usage.

I don't know if it's my "favorite" setting, but I do like it very much, and hope you will as well.

The score, courtesy of Dr. John Henderson, is attached below, as well as a photo with autograph of Ernest Dicks.

In case you are looking for more music to enhance your St. Patrick's Day, I've given the links in the First Comment, for some of my other uploads which commemorate the day. :-)

Síocháin do Chách! (Peace to All!)
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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