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The Little Red Lark (An Old Irish Air)

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Uploaded by: jerrymartin (06/22/21)
Composer: Clokey, Joseph Waddell
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: St Mary-le-Bow, London
Software: Hauptwerk VI
Genre: Romantic
I was introduced to this delightful piece by our own agnus_dei and finally decided to take it out for a spin. What a delight: do check out his recording, and more details and the score there.

For my interpretation I chose a distant listening perspective on St. Mary-Le-Bow, extended, to really let the colors wash together (and I hit the final statement of the tune with all the strings and tremulant mush I could find - if I'm honest, this piece is rather moving to me!). In my younger years I played a lot of traditional Irish fiddle (before I discovered the pipe organ!) and played a few of these slow airs (but never this one!)

"The Little Red Lark" appears in "Irish Songs and Ballads" and is attributed to Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931). The lyrics are included below, however this beautiful melody is now more commonly heard as a "slow air" - in traditional Irish music, it is common for the more lyrical instruments (flute, fiddle and uillean pipes) to take a break from the usual ceili dance music to revisit traditional melodies. I have heard this tune, with its Irish/Gaelic title "An Fuiseógín Dearg" - for comparison here are two links: the first to Seamus McGuire on fiddle, the second to Willie Clancy, one of Ireland's most famous Uillean Pipers.

Clokey arranged this as an "Encore transcription," - and I could really see this captivating an American audience at the end of an organ recital! The piece was composed in Claremont, California on Sept. 10, 1933, and published by J. Fischer & Bro. in 1934.

Clokey (August 28, 1890, New Albany, Indiana – September 14, 1960, Covina, California) was a student of Edgar Stillman Kelley. He served as dean of the School of Fine Arts at his alma mater, Miami University 1939-46 and had previously been professor of organ at Miami University (1916–1923) and Pomona College.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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