The Dawn / Music in the Glen

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From the “Echoes of Erin 2008” Comhaltas Tour CD, piper James Mahon plays the reels, “The Dawn” and “Music in the Glen”.

This selection of reels tunes were recorded by Leo Rowsome in London on the 27th July 1947. This recording was the first recording of uilleann pipe music ever heard by the then young flute-player James Mahon. Over sixty years on in this recording James makes an attempt to recreate the sound of this his earliest and most formative pipering influence.

Leo Rowsome (1903 –1970) was born in Harold’s Cross in Dublin. His father’s William Rowsome was a maker and repairer of uilleann pipes. William died in in 1928 and Leo took over the family firm- his workshop being attached to his home. Leo continued to teach part-time piping at the College of Music in Dublin where he had started to teach in 1920 and a post he held for fifty years. Every pupil had a set of practice pipes and a manuscript book for tunes. In 1936 he published a btutor book with Waltons as the publisher. The Leo Rowsome Collection of Irish Music It containing a re-print of his original tutor plus 428 tunes transcribed from his manuscripts has also been published by Waltons. Leo Rowsome joined Seamus Ó Mathúna (fiddle) and Nelius Cronin (flute) in a performance on Radio Éireann in 1920 and this recording meant that he was offered work at concerts and festivals around the country. Leo had taught with the Dublin Pipers’ Club before it disbanded in 1924 and was instrumental reviving of the (Thomas Street) Pipers’ Club again in the late 1930s, and following on from this the founding of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Leo Rowsome died while judging the “Fiddler of Dooney” competition in Sligo in September 1970, his solo album “Rí na bPíobairí” (King of the Pipers) having been issued in 1966. The Dawn is usually played in the Key of A Major by fiddlers due to it’s full two-octave range but Leo succeeded in playing it in D major – reaching the third played it D Major – reaching the ‘third octave’ with apparent ease.

‘Music in the Glen’ is included in that milestone publication in Irish music commonly referred to amongst musicians as ‘The Book’ The Dance Music 1001of Ireland O’ Neill’s ( No. 462) It is actually notated in the Key of A Major, as it also was in the earlier 1903 O’ Neill’s Music of Ireland – Eighteen Hundred and Fifty Melodies where the fiddler from Limerick Junction, Co. Tipperary, Edward Cronin was has long been played in the Key of G Major. ‘Music in the Glen’ became very popular after it was played with ‘Kitty Gone a Milking’ on the 1959 recording by PJ Hayes, Paddy Canny, Peadar O’ Loughlin and Bridie Lafferty.

11 Oct, 2008
The Dawn/Music in the Glen
Created By
Recorded by Peter Staunton
Echoes of Erin 2008
Performers/Subjects Instruments
James Mahon Uilleann Pipes

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Keywords for This Entry

Concert Tour, Reel, Uilleann Pipes