The Music of E. J. Moeran

ISBN: 978-0-907689-18-8
Release Date: 1986-03-15
Composer: E. J. Moeran
Author: Geoffrey Self
Series: Composer Studies

Preface by Vernon Handley

Extant: 288

Composition: Demy octavo ~ Illustrated ~ Bibliography ~ Personalia ~ Index

E. J. Moeran (1894-1950) is one of the outstanding British composers of his generation, his music championed by Sir Adrian Boult, Vernon Handley, Norman Del Mar and others. His work covers a considerable variety of forms, from the widely admired Symphony in G minor to exquisite songs amd piano miniatures. In this first-ever full-length study of his music, Geoffrey Self examines Moeran’s output chronologically, from his early piano and chamber music and tone-poems to the late masterpieces of the Cello Concerto and Cello Sonata.

Moeran’s life and career were far from easy. A grievous shrapnel wound in World War I left him with a tendency towards alcoholism, exascerbated by a rioutous four-year sojourn with Peter Warlock which inhibited his ability to compose. Freed of the weight of Warlock’s personality, Moeran went on to complete his Symphony, two concertos, and much else of enduring value and importance. He spent his last years in the Ireland he loved, attempting in vain to complete his Second Symphony.

Geoffrey Self traces the influences that helped shape Moeran’s musical personality and his development into one of the major voices of his day. As Vernon Handley says in his Preface, ‘Geoffrey Self … is a model researcher … this … deeply exciting book … should hold our attention as completely as Moeran’s music has held his authors.’

3 reviews for The Music of E. J. Moeran

  1. :

    ‘This is a good book. [The author moves] with ease in and out of considerations of style and influence, form and thematic structure, culture and period, losing neither a sense of direction nor narrative freshness.’

    —Stephen Banfield, The Musical Times

  2. :

    ‘It is particularly welcome […], to have such a book as this about a composer who is little known, yet written in a way that does not irritate or antagonise the reader by a too-effusive or gushing enthusiasm for its subject that can all-too-easily arouse a suspicion of incredulity or disbelief.

    Geoffrey Self’s book […] is thoroughly researched and most lucidly presented. […]

    a splendid, and essential book for any musician at all concerned with a proper awareness of the English music in the present century.’

    —Arthur Butterworth, MusicWeb International

  3. :

    ‘If you have any interest in tuneful music of the English School of the first half of the 20th Century, Moeran is a composer worth exploring and this volume will serve and a fine guide book to that exploration.’

    —Karl Miller, Classical Net

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