About Lost Songs of Ancient Ireland:
This three-movement song cycle focuses on the shifting relationships over the scope of a lifetime and from the differing perpective of each person involved. The Treble Descant is ideally suited for children's ensemble, but may be performed by any treble solo or ensemble.
I. Old Beggarman is a combination of two interwoven jigs, “It Was an Old Beggarman, Weary and Wet” and “Ag an mBóithrín Buí (At the Yellow Little Road).” They are offered together as alternate perspectives from potential romantic partner, both a young lady’s observation of a wandering beggarman and his unrequited, possibly unexpressed, love for her. Measures 27-31, 77-81, and 127-132 features lilting, a form of traditional Irish singing that often accompanies dancing with lyrics that are often meaningless or nonsensical, similar to scat singing. Lilting is sometimes referred to as mouth music or portaireacht bhéil (port a'bhéil, mouth-singing) in Irish Gaelic. Hand drum may substitute for the Bodhrán and the regular flute for the Irish flute. The Children’s Choir is optional, and may be omitted.
cloak—an outdoor overgarment, typically sleeveless,
that hangs loosely from the shoulders
boreen—a narrow country road (Irish)
tress—a long lock of a woman's hair
Teige’s race—persons decended of the Teige family
in Erinn—in Ireland
brow—a person's forehead
II. I Would Rock My Child to Sleep is a sentimental lullaby full of hopes of the parent for the child morphs into a blessing from the grown child to the parent. Adapted from the Irish lullaby “Do Chuirfinnse Féin Mo Leanbh a Chodladh (I Would Put My Own Child to Sleep),” it highlights the shifting roles of a caregiver: first the parent caring for the child, then the child caring for the aged parent. Each verse is progressively based upon an overall narrative. 1. Hopes of the parent for the child, 2. An easy, natural rhythm to family life, possibly the child is older now, and there is a dream of family continuance, 3. Uncertainty over who is nurturing whom: Does the child now sing to comfort the parent? 4. A closing blessing for peace and rest that hearkens back to the successful sleep of a tired
infant or forward to a well-deserved eternal rest after a lifetime of familial care. Treble descant options: Unison Children's Chorus, light treble solo, or treble ensemble with minimal vibrato. Whispered sections should feature an elongated anticipatory [ʃ] ("sh") with [o]
arriving on the beat, evoking a gentle shushing,
III. The Drummer is a combination of “Maidin Fhómhair, nó Cailín Péacach (The Harvest Maiden, or Sprouting Maiden)” and “Cormac Spáinneach, nó An Drumadóir (Cormac Spaineach, or The Drummer),” It is an energetic reel alternating between romantic partners
encased by a nostalgic love song, suggesting the passing of a lifetime. Hand drum may substitute for the Bodhrán and the regular flute for the Irish flute. Treble descant options: Unison Children’s Chorus, light treble solo, or light treble ensemble.