Sunday, October 21, 2012

To Sing The Words Of Dead Poets...

 We were handed the music tonight for next month's concert. Two pieces caught my attention.


George Fredrick Handel (1685-1759)

 Even though I've never sung the song, the melody of Shout The Glad Tidings made sense...that's what musical genius can do for the performer. According to (reference: HERE), Handel was born 26 days before Johann Sebastian Bach in 1685, four years before England entered the Nine Years War. Handel wrote his most famous score, the Messiah, in 1741 and it was first performed in Dublin in 1742. He was buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abby.

Stanley Dickson (1885-1956)

Stanley, with P. J. O'Reilly, wrote Thanks Be To God in 1925. Stanley Dickson is really Mary Hannah Brahe, who went by May. Born in Australia in 1885 she wrote over 400 songs in 18 years. Information about May can be found at the Australian Dictionary of Biography (reference: HERE). She sounds like an amazing woman who had an amazing life.

P. J. O'Reilly (?)

Look up George F. Handel on-line and the entries seem endless. But what of O'Reilly? In my casual internet search, I found several references to songs he wrote, but what of the writer? He even lacks a Wikipedia page (I hear a cringe from all you serious researchers out there. Yeah, I hear you...). But in the end, does it really matter that he lacks a Wikipedia page? Handel is world-famous and has been for centuries. I don't know much about May Brahe, but I can only imagine that in her native country, and in music circles, many know of her works, and tonight I, along with a couple of dozen singers sing the words of P. J. O'Reilly. I'm not sure if he's dead or not, but the words he wrote back in 1925 still survive today.

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