Author Topic: EJ Moeran  (Read 65856 times)

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Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #600 on: July 19, 2021, 12:29:20 PM »
May I ask (and I'm sure that Jeffrey and others here would also be interested too), what were Moeran's own words that as you said "suggest that he was not particularly concerned about the outcome of the war"?

PD
Perhaps I worded what I wrote badly. My meaning was that there is nothing in any of Moeran's letters or other writings that indicate any concern that the outcome of the war would be anything other than favourable. In fact, he wrote very little about the war, other than to mention commissions such as the ENSA overture and the Fanfare for Red Army Day as "war work", and in both these cases, he did the work firstly because he was paid, and secondly working for ENSA precluded him from being called up to do anything else. The main impression one gets from the letters Moeran wrote during the war is that he regarded it mostly as a nuisance, in that it prevented him from continuing uninterrupted the working life that he had created for himself during the few years immediately preceding September 1939.

My own feeling is that Self's assertion about patriotism was misplaced. The fact that Moeran had probably been either a member of, or closely associated with the IRA, suggests strongly that his attitude to the British establishment was not quite as wholesome as has hitherto been assumed. Moeran's main interest, at least until he met Peers Coetmore, was Moeran. Things that got in his way, such as the war, possible interest from MI5 in his movements, uncomplimentary attention from critics, were simply ignored.

... and for any more, you will have to read the book ....

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #601 on: July 19, 2021, 01:16:25 PM »
I find it difficult to believe that Moeran was 'not particularly concerned about the outcome of the war'. That implies that he'd have been happy or at least indifferent if the Nazis won. In view of his service in World War One and his composition of 'Overture for a Masque' as a patriotic morale booster for ENSA, not to mention a 'Fanfare for the Red Army' ('...I am going to make it really snappy and exciting for the troops to listen to' - cable to Peers, 5th January 1944, quoted in Self's book) I find this most unlikely.
Self also states that 'Moeran's experience in the previous war had been horrific; yet there is no evidence that these experiences had soured his patriotism' (p. 158).

I did not mean that Moeran did not care which side was victorious. His interest or otherwise in the war and its outcome is not possible to determine from his letters, and the fact that he never really mentioned it in letters to his closest companion is some evidence at least of his indifference. Self’s comment is based on an assumption that Moeran had patriotism that could be soured, and I contend that this was not the case. Moeran’s WW1 experiences certainly affected him, but not in the way Self asserted.

The real Moeran really was very different from what most people have hitherto believed.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 01:20:47 PM by HotFXMan »

Online vandermolen

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #602 on: July 19, 2021, 07:55:54 PM »
I did not mean that Moeran did not care which side was victorious. His interest or otherwise in the war and its outcome is not possible to determine from his letters, and the fact that he never really mentioned it in letters to his closest companion is some evidence at least of his indifference. Self’s comment is based on an assumption that Moeran had patriotism that could be soured, and I contend that this was not the case. Moeran’s WW1 experiences certainly affected him, but not in the way Self asserted.

The real Moeran really was very different from what most people have hitherto believed.
Thanks for the explanation. I thought that was probably what you meant. I also did wonder, in view of Moeran's love of Ireland if he supported Irish nationalism. I'm not sure, however, that the lack of specific reference to the Second World War in Moeran's letters, by itself, indicates disinterest in its outcome. I'll look forward to, sooner or later (hopefully sooner!) reading what you have to say about this in your book.

I found this interesting, if rather sad, article about Moeran online:
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-1.1172507
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 10:47:35 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #603 on: July 20, 2021, 02:09:17 AM »
I did not mean that Moeran did not care which side was victorious. His interest or otherwise in the war and its outcome is not possible to determine from his letters, and the fact that he never really mentioned it in letters to his closest companion is some evidence at least of his indifference. Self’s comment is based on an assumption that Moeran had patriotism that could be soured, and I contend that this was not the case. Moeran’s WW1 experiences certainly affected him, but not in the way Self asserted.

The real Moeran really was very different from what most people have hitherto believed.

I do not mean to be presumptuous but because Moeran didn't mention it I do not see as a sign of indifference. I have personal experience of someone close to me who lived a pretty normal life but from a lowly position found himself at Sandhurst and with a commission. He went on to be in charge of a prisoner-of-war camp in north Africa during WW2. With the end of war he returned to normal life out of the army. Not a shrinking violet by any means, but he never at any time recounted the story of his exploits in army life although it was the pinnacle of everything he achieved in his life. 
For those of us lucky enough not to experience horror of war it is difficult, if not impossible, to read the mind of those who have.     
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #604 on: July 20, 2021, 02:28:58 AM »
Perhaps I worded what I wrote badly. My meaning was that there is nothing in any of Moeran's letters or other writings that indicate any concern that the outcome of the war would be anything other than favourable. In fact, he wrote very little about the war, other than to mention commissions such as the ENSA overture and the Fanfare for Red Army Day as "war work", and in both these cases, he did the work firstly because he was paid, and secondly working for ENSA precluded him from being called up to do anything else. The main impression one gets from the letters Moeran wrote during the war is that he regarded it mostly as a nuisance, in that it prevented him from continuing uninterrupted the working life that he had created for himself during the few years immediately preceding September 1939.

My own feeling is that Self's assertion about patriotism was misplaced. The fact that Moeran had probably been either a member of, or closely associated with the IRA, suggests strongly that his attitude to the British establishment was not quite as wholesome as has hitherto been assumed. Moeran's main interest, at least until he met Peers Coetmore, was Moeran. Things that got in his way, such as the war, possible interest from MI5 in his movements, uncomplimentary attention from critics, were simply ignored.

... and for any more, you will have to read the book ....
Thank you for the information and your thoughts on what he wrote (or didn't) on the war and his attitudes towards work and life (in a nutshell).  I'll try again in a few months to borrow a copy of your book through my library.

Best wishes,

PD

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #605 on: July 20, 2021, 02:30:40 AM »
Thanks for the explanation. I thought that was probably what you meant. I also did wonder, in view of Moeran's love of Ireland if he supported Irish nationalism. I'm not sure, however, that the lack of specific reference to the Second World War in Moeran's letters, by itself, indicates disinterest in its outcome. I'll look forward to, sooner or later (hopefully sooner!) reading what you have to say about this in your book.

I found this interesting, if rather sad, article about Moeran online:
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-1.1172507
Thanks for that link Jeffrey; very interesting article!

PD

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #606 on: July 20, 2021, 02:41:32 AM »
I do not mean to be presumptuous but because Moeran didn't mention it I do not see as a sign of indifference. I have personal experience of someone close to me who lived a pretty normal life but from a lowly position found himself at Sandhurst and with a commission. He went on to be in charge of a prisoner-of-war camp in north Africa during WW2. With the end of war he returned to normal life out of the army. Not a shrinking violet by any means, but he never at any time recounted the story of his exploits in army life although it was the pinnacle of everything he achieved in his life. 
For those of us lucky enough not to experience horror of war it is difficult, if not impossible, to read the mind of those who have.     
You are not being presumptuous at all. Everybody is entitled to express an opinion, and all opinions potentially have a value in the full understanding of a historical person. Trying to get inside Moeran's head is something that I have been doing for the past sixteen years. I now believe that I have assembled a credible and supportable personality as it changed through the composer's life. Obviously, it is open to question, correction, debunking etc. as and when further evidence emerges or better interpretation is asserted for the evidence that presently exists. Hitherto, Moeran's life, character, behaviour and personality have been assumed largely on the basis of what people would have liked him to have been and what they feel accords best with a mistaken understanding of his life and an understandable regard for his musical creation. But this cannot be used to counter hard evidence.

However, I am attempting to summarise the conclusions of a 160,000 word book into a few sentences. You really need to read the book in order to have a basis for grasping the reality of Moeran. And, most importantly, you must cast aside ALL preconceptions based on anything that you may have read up to now. Moeran really was NOT that person, and I can only explain why not through the text of my book.

Offline Oates

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #607 on: July 20, 2021, 03:08:06 AM »
It is high time that we are presented with a different perspective on Moeran.

I was never convinced by how he has been represented in at least two dramatic characterisations: the feature film Peter Warlock: Some Little Joy (2005) in which Moeran is played by Richard Dempsey, and the BBC radio play Moeran's Last Symphony (2010) (Moeran played by Tim McKinnery). Both of these struggled to give the man any real substance. In the former, he is played as a lesser talent to Warlock and simply tagging along and dabbling with composition.

Offline Irons

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #608 on: July 20, 2021, 07:03:04 AM »
You are not being presumptuous at all. Everybody is entitled to express an opinion, and all opinions potentially have a value in the full understanding of a historical person. Trying to get inside Moeran's head is something that I have been doing for the past sixteen years. I now believe that I have assembled a credible and supportable personality as it changed through the composer's life. Obviously, it is open to question, correction, debunking etc. as and when further evidence emerges or better interpretation is asserted for the evidence that presently exists. Hitherto, Moeran's life, character, behaviour and personality have been assumed largely on the basis of what people would have liked him to have been and what they feel accords best with a mistaken understanding of his life and an understandable regard for his musical creation. But this cannot be used to counter hard evidence.

However, I am attempting to summarise the conclusions of a 160,000 word book into a few sentences. You really need to read the book in order to have a basis for grasping the reality of Moeran. And, most importantly, you must cast aside ALL preconceptions based on anything that you may have read up to now. Moeran really was NOT that person, and I can only explain why not through the text of my book.

Perfectly understood, and I would love to read your book. I doubt if Moeran knew what was going on in his own head so I do not envy your task of the past sixteen years. For me there are few composers who led a more interesting and eventful life.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #609 on: July 20, 2021, 07:58:12 AM »
"Moeran's main interest, at least until he met Peers Coetmore, was Moeran"

That struck me as a very interesting quote and made me think that much the same could be said of Bax (insert Harriet Cohen/Mary Gleave depending on decade etc!).  Compositionally Moeran and Bax are very different yet they are often cast together and - I assume this is true - had a personal friendship.  Were they perhaps kindred spirits in other ways....?

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #610 on: July 22, 2021, 02:57:56 AM »
"Ernest John Moeran: His Life and Music" has received its first review. https://www.britishmusicsociety.co.uk/2021/07/ernest-john-moeran-his-life-and-music/ for those interested.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #611 on: July 22, 2021, 03:25:26 AM »
"Ernest John Moeran: His Life and Music" has received its first review. https://www.britishmusicsociety.co.uk/2021/07/ernest-john-moeran-his-life-and-music/ for those interested.
Thank you for that link!  :)

PD

Online vandermolen

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #612 on: July 22, 2021, 03:39:40 AM »
"Ernest John Moeran: His Life and Music" has received its first review. https://www.britishmusicsociety.co.uk/2021/07/ernest-john-moeran-his-life-and-music/ for those interested.
Congratulations on the excellent review - interesting about the details of the late marriage to Peers Coetmore.
I don't agree at all, however, with the reviewer's comparison of Moeran's Sinfonietta with the music of Richard Rodney Bennett; I considerer the Sinfonietta to be far superior to anything written by RRB. My favourite work by RRB, by far, was his fine soundtrack to 'Nicholas and Alexandra' which has, frustratingly, never been released on CD.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 06:16:38 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #613 on: July 22, 2021, 05:28:13 AM »
Good review. Anyone interested in British music would now certainly be curious!
 ('Philip Helestine', 'vice-vera'... no proofreader there, evidently.)
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #614 on: July 22, 2021, 07:12:58 AM »
Good review. Anyone interested in British music would now certainly be curious!
 ('Philip Helestine', 'vice-vera'... no proofreader there, evidently.)

Surely you've heard of the ignorant Greek art critic Philip Helestine? And the less said about "Vice Vera" the better ...

Online vandermolen

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #615 on: July 22, 2021, 08:04:50 AM »
Surely you've heard of the ignorant Greek art critic Philip Helestine? And the less said about "Vice Vera" the better ...
I'm curious, as is your reviewer, about your view on the reconstructed Moeran's 2nd Symphony. I rather enjoyed but I know that others here didn't. I won't be offended if you ignore the question.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline J

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #616 on: July 22, 2021, 08:14:58 AM »
"Moeran was almost certainly bi-sexual."

Is this the reviewer restating your well-evidenced conclusion, - or a tangent of his own?

I remember no treatment at all of this topic (possibly a minor one) in the thesis study.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 08:19:27 AM by J »

Offline Iota

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #617 on: July 22, 2021, 08:31:04 AM »
Surely you've heard of the ignorant Greek art critic Philip Helestine? And the less said about "Vice Vera" the better ...

 :laugh:

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #618 on: July 22, 2021, 08:32:53 AM »
Surely you've heard of the ignorant Greek art critic Philip Helestine? And the less said about "Vice Vera" the better ...
Ah, that explains it!
 :D
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #619 on: July 22, 2021, 10:53:29 AM »
Good review. Anyone interested in British music would now certainly be curious!
 ('Philip Helestine', 'vice-vera'... no proofreader there, evidently.)

I've just reached the section dealing with Moeran's War and injury.  As I read it, it was a neck injury not the head injury the reviewer mentions and certainly not an injury as severe (ie requiring a plate in the skull) that was previously received wisdom.  Maxwell cites at length from various medical boards Moeran attended when he was being assessed for a return to active duty.  Perhaps the reviewer slightly skimmed things....?