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Franchomme, Shirley Temple and Love’s Young Dream
Auguste Franchomme was attracted, as many of us are today, to tunes from Scotland and Ireland; he published 3 compositions based on Scottish tunes* and one on an Irish air. Since I’m performing his Irish one this Sunday…
Franchomme’s Air Irlandais, Varié was one of a set of three themes with variations that Franchomme published in 1841 as his Op. 25. It is based on an Irish air that was popularized by the Irish poet Thomas Moore, who added lyrics to it and called it
Love’s Young Dream
Oh! the days are gone, when Beauty bright
My heart’s chain wove;
When my dream of life, from morn till night,
Was love, still love.
New hope may bloom,
And days may come,
Of milder calmer beam,
But there’s nothing half so sweet in life
As love’s young dream:
No, there’s nothing half so sweet in life
As love’s young dream.
Though the bard to purer fame may soar,
When wild youth’s past;
Though he win the wise, who frown’d before,
To smile at last;
He’ll never meet
A joy so sweet,
In all his noon of fame,
As when first he sung to woman’s ear
His soul-felt flame,
And, at every close, she blush’d to hear
The one loved name.
No, — that hallow’d form is ne’er forgot
Which first love traced;
Still it lingering haunts the greenest spot
On memory’s waste.
‘Twas odour fled
As soon as shed;
‘Twas morning’s winged dream;
‘Twas a light, tht ne’er can shine again
On life’s dull stream:
Oh! ’twas light that n’er can shine again
On life’s dull stream.
The history of Moore’s publication is a fascinating tangent—upon the request of the publishers James and William Power, the not-yet-famous Moore wrote lyrics to a series of Irish tunes (inspired by Beethoven’s and Haydn’s already popular settings of British folksongs). The tunes were already good, and they were published as piano-voice arrangements by composer Sir John Andrew Stevenson- other composers would rearrange them in later publications. Between 1808 and 1834, 10 volumes of Moore’s lyrics were published. We can thank Moore for popularizing not only this tune, but also The Last Rose of Summer, among others.
You can see the lyrics with the tune here: bit.ly/1tFa14a
And here’s a rendition by Shirley Temple!
It’s possible that Franchomme laid hands on one of Moore’s volumes, which became his most famous publications (and Moore DID live in Paris from 1819 or 20 until 1822). But it’s more likely that Franchomme learnt the air from his Irish composer–pianist friend John Osborne, with whom he was composing a collaborative composition at the same time he was writing the Air Irlandais–(their collaboration is Franchomme’s Op. 23, Duo Concertant on Anna Bolena, which will be included in the forthcoming Dover publication).
The Air Irlandais Varié is the piece Franchomme chose to perform for Queen Victoria’s historic visit to France in 1843. In an attempt to end two centuries of tension with France, the Queen accepted an invitation from King Louis-Philippe to a half official, half private visit at his summer residence, Chateau d’Eu, just outside of Paris. Monarchs from these countries hadn’t met since 1520, and the visit cemented an early version of the Entente Cordiale between the UK and France. The Queen was feted with a concert on September 5th featuring the Musique du Roi, the fine group of musicians King Louis-Philippe had assembled in 1832. Auguste Franchomme was the group’s solo cellist and a founding member. Berlioz attended this concert and his written account is how we know that Franchomme performed this piece. It was apparently well-received; Ireland had become part of the UK in 1801, but resistance to British rule had not yet reached a level as to be a thorn in the Queen’s side.
If you’d like to hear what Franchomme did with the tune, please come hear my performance of it this Sunday (Spoiler- it’s virtuosic). I’ll also be playing the Fibich Quintet with fabulous musicians, and there will also be some solo Chopin piano pieces and a movement from Grieg’s violin sonata. (More info in previous blog post)
Sunday, November 9, 3:00PM
Morris Jumel Mansion
65 Jumel Terrace, New York City (one block east of St. Nicholas Avenue btw 160th and 162nd Streets)
Tickets $35 ($30 members, $15 students, seniors) includes light refreshments
*The Scottish ones are his Op. 6 (recorded by Dieltiens, and also featuring a Russian theme), another set of variations from his Op. 25 publication, and his Caprice surs des Airs Ecossais.