Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/30

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18
IRISH MUSIC
IONIAN MODE.

other pieces of Ecclesiastical Music exist, in both. For instance, the fine Plain Chaunt 'Missa in Festis Solemnibus'—better known, perhaps, in a less pure form, as the 'Missa de Angelis' is in the Authentic Ionian Mode, throughout: and a particularly captivating Hypo-ionian melody has been preserved to us, in the Paschal form of the Responsory 'In manus tuas, Domine,' as given in the Mechlin Vesperal.[1]

A strong prejudice existed against the Ionian Mode, in mediæval times, when the softness of its intervals gave so great offence, that it was commonly called Modus lascivus. The early contrapuntists seem also to have regarded it with grave suspicion. It was only as Art advanced, that the inexhaustible extent of its capabilities became gradually apparent. When first employed in polyphonic music, the Authentic scale was usually transposed (for the greater convenience of ordinary combinations of voices) with the customary B♭ at the signature; in which condition it is often mistaken for the modern key of F. Palestrina delighted in using it, with this transposition, as the exponent of a certain tender grace, in the expression of which he has never been approached; as in the 'Missa Brevis,' the Missa 'Æterna Christi munera,' the delightful Motets, 'Sicut cervus desiderat,' and 'Pueri Hebræorum,' and innumerable other instances. Giovanni Croce has also employed it in the Motet 'Virtute magna'—known in England as 'Behold, I bring you glad tidings': while in our own School, we find instances of its use in the imperishable little Anthem, 'Lord, for Thy tender mercy's sake,' and Gibbons's fine Service in F.

The Hypo-ionian Mode is less frequently transposed, in writing, than the Authentic scale, though it is sometimes found desirable to depress it a whole tone, in performance. This is the Mode selected, by Palestrina, for the Missa Papæ Marcelli; and by Orlando di Lasso, for his Motet, Confirma hoc, Deus—both which compositions are erroneously described, in the latest German reprints, as in the Mixolydian Mode.

The melody of the Old Hundredth Psalm, in its original form, is strictly Hypo-ionian; and is given in its true Mode, transposed, in the masterly setting, by John Dowland, printed in Ravenscroft's 'Book of Psalms' (Lond. 1621). [See Hymn; Old Hundredth Psalm.]

[ W. S. R. ]

IPERMESTRA. An opera of Metastasio's which has proved very attractive to a long list of composers. The Dictionnaire Lyrique of Clement gives no less than 18 settings of it by Galuppi, Sarti, Jommelli, Hasse, Gluck, and other eminent musicians.

[ G. ]

IPHIGÉNIE EN AULIDE, 'tragédie-opéra' in 3 acts; words by the Bailli du Rollet, after Racine; music by Gluck. Produced at the Académie, Thursday, April 19, 1774. The nightly receipts at first were 5000 livres, a sum then unheard of. The sum taken on April 5, 1796, amounted, owing to the depreciation of the assignats, to 274,900 livres. Up to Dec. 22, 1824, it was played 428 times.

[ G. ]

IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE, 'tragédie lyrique' in 4 acts; words by Guillard, music by Gluck. Produced at the Académie, Thursday, May 18, 1779. On June 6, 1796, the assignat of 100 livres being equal to only 10 centimes, the receipts were 1,071,350 livres = 1,071 livres 7 sous. Up to June 5, 1829, it was played 408 times. On Jan. 23, 1 781, the tragedy of the same name by Piccinni, words by Dubreuil, was produced at the Academie and survived in all 34 representations. On the first night, one of the actresses being obviously intoxicated, a spectator cried out 'Iphigénie en Tauride! allons donc, c'est Iphigéie en Champagne!'

[ G. ]

IRENE. An English version (or rather transformation) of Gounod's 'Reine de Saba,' by H. Farnie; produced, as a concert, at the Crystal Palace, Aug. 12, 1865.

[ G. ]

IRISH MUSIC. Although it is not long since the opinion was generally entertained that Ireland had been sunk in barbarism until the English invasion, historical and antiquarian researches have established the fact that the island was in early times the seat of Christianized learning and a remarkable artistic civilization. Her music, however, and in particular her ancient school of Harp-playing, have from early times been in high repute, having been lauded in the writings of Brompton, Giraldus Cambrensis, and John of Salisbury (12th cent.). The latter writes thus: 'The attention of this people to musical instruments I find worthy of commendation, in which their skill is beyond comparison superior to that of any nation I have seen.' Fuller's words are equally strong: 'Yea, we might well think that all the concert of Christendom in this war [the Crusade conducted by Godfrey of Boulogne] would have made no music, if the Irish Harp had been wanting.' Fordun (13th cent.), Clynn (14th cent.), Polidore Virgil and Major (i5th cent.), Vincenzo Galilei, Bacon, Spenser, Stanihurst, and Camden (16th cent.), speak with equal warmth. Written music being however comparatively modern, no remains are existing, like the beautiful Irish illuminated MSS. and examples of ornamental Celtic metal-work, which would substantiate the praises of the above writers.

Three Irish airs, extracted from Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book, are given in vol. ii. p. 793 of Mr. Chappell's 'Popular Music of the Olden Time'—(1) 'The Ho-hoane' (Ochone), (2) an 'Irish Dumpe,' and (3) 'Callino Casturame.' They are all in 6-8 measure, and seem deficient in the characteristic features of Irish melody. To the latter air there is an allusion in Shakespeare, Henry V, act iv. sc. 4, where Pistol addresses a French soldier thus:—'Quality! Calen o custure me!'—an expression which has greatly puzzled the critics. It is evidently an attempt to spell as pronounced the Irish phrase 'Colleen, oge astore!'—young girl, my treasure!

The earliest published collections of Irish music are by Burke Thumoth (1720); by Neill

  1. In the Ratisbon Vesperal, this melody is reduced, from the Fourteenth, to the Sixth Mode; and a similar reduction, from Mode XIII, to Mode V, is by no means uncommon, in Plain Chaunt Office-Books.