Sunday, 6 January 2008

E.J. Moeran's 'Bank Holiday' played on YouTube

One of the pieces of music that meant so much to me a teenager was Jack Moeran’s Bank Holiday. To me it summed up all the excitement of day trips to Blackpool and Morecambe. I always wanted to be able to learn to play it – but never succeeded!

Nice to hear the young Norfolk pianist Danny Evans playing this piece so convincingly!

This is a lively and totally optimistic work that truly relishes a day off work! Geoffrey Self suggests that it is an encore piece, in spite of his concern that some of the writing is a little slipshod.
It was at this time of Moeran’s life that he was sharing a cottage with Warlock at Eynsford in Kent. Moeran was not writing much music at this time – but he was living a happy and carefree life in the countryside.

Bank Holiday is written as an ‘allegro molto ritmico’ (fast with tons of rhythm!) from end to end with only a slight slowing down for the middle section. Not too difficult to spot echoes of Percy Grainger in these pages – perhaps Shepherd’s Hey? Of course the listener may also detect nods to John Ireland and Peter Warlock. It has been described as being ‘splashy’ in its use of big chords in the coda.

This piece was composed in 1925 and was published in 1928. It was dedicated to Gordon Bryan.

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