Ernest John Moeran
"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music. Greatly influenced by the music of Delius and Vaughan Williams, much of Moeran's output is inspired by nature, and was championed by the leading artists of the day. He was a great friend to Peter Warlock - both enjoyed travelling together to rural public inns to record the singing of the local inhabitants. Moeran and Warlock lived together for a period at Eynsford in Kent, where many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving originated.
Moeran's life, although spanning a short period of just over fifty years, is an interesting one. Tutored at the Royal College of Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and John Ireland, his studies were interrupted by the First World War when Jack was posted to the Western Front. Due to an exploding shell, he sustained a head injury which affected him for the rest of his life. Alcohol also affected Moeran, although it was sometimes questionable as to whether it was the drink or his head injury which was making him stagger.
A love interest for Moeran, cellist Peers Coetmore, entered into the composer's life relatively late. Moeran composed a number of works for her including a sonata and concerto, but although Jack certainly gained much inspiration from their relationship, the marriage itself was not a success. Coetmore confessed to one friend that it was like being married to an uncle.
Moeran in the second part of his life spent much time at Kenmare in Ireland. The rural landscape there provided him with the solitude and inspiration he craved. It was at Kenmare on one stormy night, that Moeran fell off the pier into the mouth of Kenmare River. His body was pulled out the next day. Some speculated suicide, or drunkenness, but the inquest found that he'd had a stroke which had caused him to fall.
Available since: Wed 21 May 2014
- Ernest John Moeran
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Donald Macleod explores the work of 'Jack' Moeran, known for his collecting of folk music
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