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Irish Rhapsody
TRADITIONAL arr. Leroy ANDERSON (1908-1975)
Irish Suite: The Irish Washerwoman [3:25]; The Minstrel Boy [3:35];, The Rakes of Mallow [3:06]; The Wearing of the Green [3:58]; The Last Rose of Summer [3:39]; The Girl I Left behind Me [3:27]
Victor HERBERT (1859-1924)
Irish Rhapsody [14:36]; Eileen: The Irish Have a Great Day Tonight [1:47];
George M. COHAN (1878-1942)
An Old Fashioned Sing-Along Medley [4:48];
Shamus O'CONNOR Macnamara's Band (arr. Richard HAYMAN) [3:53];
Richard HAYMAN My Darling Irish Rose [2:52]; arr. Richard HAYMAN Irish Tune from Country Derry [4:45]; Sing-Along Medley [4:29]
Richard Hayman and His Orchestra
rec. April, June 1989, Germany(?)
NAXOS 8.555016 [58:17]


Richard Hayman's virtuoso players and their bright and breezy way with light music classics have enlivened other Naxos releases. This time they turn their attention to the music of Eire.

It is notable that much of this material is seen through Irish-American eyes - a result of the homesickness felt by so many in the wake of the great Irish diaspora? In fact more than one well-known, well-loved 'Irish' melody was penned by an American-Irishman.

Indeed, the late-nineteenth-century leading light of the American musical theatre, Victor Herbert, was born in Dublin. As Peter Dempsey points out, in his usual erudite notes, Herbert was "a perfect prototype of the Americanised Irishman. After training in Stuttgart and Vienna, he won early fame as a cellist before producing his first light opera, in a series of more than forty, on Broadway, in 1894." His Irish Rhapsody is an affectionate and proud tribute to the Emerald Isle consisting of tunes familiar and not-so-well-known. There are smiles but deep sadness too for you can sense the tragedy of the 1840s, for instance, in the darker reaches of this music. Additionally Hayman swaggers proudly through the jolly marching song 'The Irish Have a Great Day Tonight' from Herbert's ill-fated operetta, Eileen.

The American composer, Leroy Anderson is well known as the composer of so many outstanding light music classics like Sleigh Ride, Blue Tango and The Typewriter. Hayman's concert opens with Leroy Anderson's tasteful, affectionate tribute, his Irish Suite, and who could not be moved by the lovely elegy Anderson fashions from 'The Minstrel Boy' or amused by the cheeky perkiness of 'The Rakes of Mallow', or moved again by the sweet sentimentality of 'The Last Rose of Summer' or stirred by the marching rhythms of 'The Girl I Left Behind Me'?

George M. Cohan, is probably best remembered through James Cagney's portrayal in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Cohan, composer, writer, actor, director and producer, wrote many Broadway shows including Ah! Wilderness, and Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway (that included the song, 'Mary's a Grand Old Name') and Little Johnny Jones (that had 'Give My Regards to Broadway' and 'Yankee Doodle Boy'). His amiable 'An Old Fashioned Sing-Along Melody' includes all the aforementioned songs plus 'You're a Grand Old Flag'.

Conductor Richard Hayman includes his mischievous, cocking-the-snook arrangement of Seamus O'Connor's Macnamara's Band. Deeply affecting nostalgia is conversely felt in the orchestra's rendition of the Traditional Irish Tune from County Derry. Elsewhere, Hayman uses solo piano and harmonica to introduce his nostalgic arrangement of 'My Darling Irish Rose' and he ends the concert with his ‘Sing-Along Melody', again featuring the harmonica introduction but this time with harp. Yes, with such affectionate playing, 'Irish Eyes Are Smiling'.

Sensitive renderings of familiar Irish songs lovingly performed by the Hayman Orchestra.

Ian Lace 


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