"Irish Suite" for Orchestra by Leroy Anderson:   Complete reference: recordings, audio files, published music, performances, official website

April 4, 2019

Composition:  "Irish Suite" for Orchestra
Composer:  Leroy Anderson
Completed:  June 6, 1947 "Eire Suite" (original title)
Instrumentation:  Symphony Orchestra
Structure: (1947)  Four movements:  1. The Irish Washerwoman;  2. The Minstrel Boy;  3. The Last Rose of Summer,  4. The Rakes of Mallow
First Performed:  June 6, 1947, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts; Arthur Fiedler, conductor;
Structure:  (1949)  Six Movements:  1. The Irish Washerwoman;  2. The Minstrel Boy;  3. The Last Rose of Summer,  4. The Rakes of Mallow  5. The Wearing of the Green  6. The Girl I Left Behind Me
First Performed:  5. The Wearing of the Green; June , May 3, 1949, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts; Arthur Fiedler, conductor;
6. The Girl I Left Behind Me June 14, 1949, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts; Arthur Fiedler, conductor;
First Recording: June 17, 1949, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts; Arthur Fiedler, conductor; Alfred Krips, violin soloist;
Length of first recording: 18:40


History

"Eire Suite"

The Eire Society of Boston, Massachusetts commissioned Leroy Anderson to create an orchestral suite of traditional Irish folk music to be performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Anderson completed four movements in just 11 days while staying with his parents in his boyhood home on Chatham Street in Cambridge.  Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra in the premiere on June 6, 1947 of the original four movements which Anderson had set in the following order: "The Irish Washerwoman", "The Minstrel Boy", "The Last Rose of Summer", and "The Rakes of Mallow".  Anderson dedicated his "Eire Suite" to Arthur Fiedler.

"Irish Suite"

Anderson completed two additional movements for his "Eire Suite" two years later in 1949. "The Wearing of the Green" was first performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra on May 3, 1949.  "The Girl I Left Behind Me" received its premiere on June 14, 1949.  Anderson renamed the work "Irish Suite" and changed the order of the movements as follows:

1. The Irish Washerwoman
2. The Minstrel Boy
3. The Rakes of Mallow
4. The Wearing of the Green
5. The Last Rose of Summer
6. The Girl I Left Behind Me.

Recording Sessions:  1949,  1952,  1966

For the June 17, 1949 analog monaural recording, Arthur Fiedler conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Alfred Krips was the violin soloist in "The Last Rose of Summer".

Leroy Anderson recorded his "Irish Suite" on October 29 and 30, 1952 at Pythian Temple, West 70th St., NY with a studio orchestra.  Oscar Shumsky was the violin soloist in "The Last Rose of Summer",
Anderson's recording was issued on 10-inch 78 rpm records and 7-inch 45 rpm records.  Leroy Anderson never re-recorded it in stereo as he had done with most of his music.  The only other works that were recorded in monaural and not stereo were The Bluebells of Scotland and Turn Ye to Me, two movements of the Scottish Suite.  Mr. Anderson arranged The Girl I Left Behind Me for band in 1953.

The Boston Pops rerecorded "Irish Suite" in analog stereo sound on June 22, 1966 in concert.  The violin soloist in "The Last Rose of Summer" was Alfred Krips.

Arrangement for Band

Anderson arranged his "Irish Suite" for Concert band.  For his band arrangement Anderson used only four movements:

1. The Irish Washerwoman
2. The Minstrel Boy
3. The Rakes of Mallow
6. The Girl I Left Behind Me

Composer quote:  "There is one troublesome point, namely in "The Girl I Left Behind Me". According to the information I have, it was originally an English song called "Brighton Camp"; the tune found its way to Ireland and there acquired the words "The Girl I Left Behind Me".  Since it is Irish by adoption, it was included in the present Suite.

In "The Minstrel Boy" the words of the poem by Thomas Moore - "The minstrel boy to the war has gone" - are conveyed by distant trumpets, drums, and cannon.  It is a slow march over a basso ostinato.

"The Rakes of Mallow" also describes the text, which tells of the carousing and rioting of the young bloods of Mallow.  The music grows faster and faster and noisier and noisier.  Here you might want to quote some of the words, which can be found in collections of Irish folk music.

"The Wearing of the Green" is a pizzicato ostinato: the strings do not use their bows at all in the piece.  The tune, treated as a scherzo, alternates between strings, woodwind, and brass.

"The Last Rose of Summer" features a solo violin, played by Alfred Krips, and is scored for strings and harp, reinforced only by horns and trombones.  The story of the song's use in [the opera] "Martha" [by Flatow] suggests itself here.

"The Girl I Left Behind Me" has a contrapuntal effect near the end, where the piccolo and flutes play the first part of the tune against the second part played in augmentation by the horns.

"Irish Suite" was first performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler conductor, on June 6, 1947 in Symphony Hall, Boston." 1  

Published Music

"Irish Suite" (1947 and 1949)

Orchestra with Full Score (medium-advanced) -  The entire suite is now available for sale as a whole from Alfred Music.  There are 6 Movements: 2+1, 2, 2, 2 - 4, 3, 3, 1- perc: timp/snare/bass/cymbals, strings.  The single movement, "The Girl I Left Behind Me", is available for purchase with a Piano Conductor Score from Kalmus Music (Spring 2007).

Recordings:  Fiedler,  Anderson, Wayland,  Hayman,  Slatkin2

"Irish Suite"

1949
Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler, conductor
June 17, 1949
Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
RCA Victor DM 1348, 10-1516, 10-1517, 10-1518; [1949].
3 discs: 78 rpm; 10 in.; analog.
RCA Victor Red Seal WDM 1348; [1949].
3 discs: 45 rpm 7-inch red vinyl;
Naxos: 8120649: 1 compact disc;

1952
Studio orchestra; Leroy Anderson, conductor
October 29 and 30, 1952
Pythian Temple, New York, New York
Decca 16045, 16046, 16047; 10-inch 78 rpm records;
Decca 9-374; box of 3 7-inch 45 rpm records;
MCA Classics 29815.2; Compact disc;
ASV / Living Era 5481; 1 compact disc;

1956
Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra Frederick Fennell, conductor
October 25, 1956
Eastman Theatre, Rochester, New York
12-inch 33 rpm record
Mercury MG50130 (monaural); Mercury SR90009 (stereo)
Mercury 434376; 1 compact disc;

1966
Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler, conductor
June 22, 1966 (recorded in concert)
Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
RCA LSC2946; (1966). 1 disc
RCA Victor 60746-2-RG; (1991). 1 compact disc.
RCA Victor 09026-61237-2; [1992]. 1 compact disc

1988
Rochester Pops Orchestra, Newton Wayland, conductor
"Classical Jukebox: More of the Favorites of Leroy Anderson"
Pro Arte Digital CDD 414; [1988]. 1 compact disc.

1990
Studio orchestra, Richard Hayman, conductor
"Irish Rhapsody"
Naxos International 90018; [1990]. 1 compact disc.
Naxos 990018; [1994]. 1 compact disc.

2008
BBC Concert Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, conductor
"Leroy Anderson: Orchestral Music Vol 4"
"Irish Suite" and only recording of "Scottish Suite"
Naxos 06-36943-93812-6; [2008]. 1 compact disc.

Leroy Anderson: Orchestral Music Vol 4

Leonard Slatkin conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra in 18 Leroy Anderson works including Irish Suite, the only recording of Scottish Suite, A Christmas Festival, and vocal recordings of Blue Tango, Belle of the Ball and Forgotten Dreams with Kim Criswell, soprano.



Notes

1.  Letter from Leroy Anderson to the copywriter for the album notes of the Decca recording of "Irish Suite".  Leroy Anderson Archives, Leroy Anderson Foundation, Woodbury, Connecticut.

2.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Recordings, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004

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