Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

A Mysterious Death

Donald Macleod focuses on Moeran's final years, including marriage and failing health, which led to his fall into the river at Kenmare.

"Old Raspberry", commonly known as Jack Moeran, was a pioneer in the collecting of British folk music - as a composer he was greatly inspired by nature - and was involved in many tales of nudity, drunkenness and reckless driving that originated from his time living with Peter Warlock.

Jack Moeran in the second half of his life, met the cellist Peers Coetmore. Donald Macleod follows their relationship, which eventually blossomed into marriage, but was not a huge success. On the eve of his wedding, Jack confessed to a friend that he thought the marriage would be a disaster. This relationship did however inspire Moeran to compose a number of works for Peers, including a Prelude, Sonata and his Cello Concerto.

Moeran started to become aware of his failing health in the last few years of his life. He was desperately trying to work on his second symphony, back in the setting of Kenmare which he loved so much, but found that he could not concentrate for sustained periods of time. On one stormy night, he fell from the pier into the Kenmare river. Although some presumed he was drunk, or with his increasing mental instability maybe he took his life, the inquest in fact found that he'd had a stroke.

This programme includes an interview of Moeran from 1947, discussing his wish to complete his second symphony back in Kenmare - a task he was never to fulfil.

1 hour

Last on

Fri 3 Dec 2010 22:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Ernest John Moeran

    The White Mountain (1927)

    Performer: Una Hunt, pianist

    • ASV CDDCA1138.
  • Ernest John Moeran

    Prelude for cello and piano (1944)

    Performer: Peers Coetmore, cello, Eric Parkin, piano

    • Lyrita SRCD299.
  • Ernest John Moeran

    Overture for a Masque (1944)

    Performer: Ulster Orchestra, Vernon Handley, conductor

    • Chandos CHAN10169X.
  • Ernest John Moeran

    arr. Desmond Ratcliffe

    Performer: Irish Elegy Performer: City Chamber Choir of London, Stephen Jones, conductor

    • BMS 417CD.
  • Ernest John Moeran

    Cello Concerto (1945)

    Performer: Raphael Wallfisch, cello, Bournemouth Sinfonietta Performer: Norman Del Mar, conductor

    • Chandos CHAN8456.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.