The National Airs and Moore’s Reputation in London
Moore’s National Airs represents his engagement with melodies indigenous to a range of European nations and regions. The six-volume collection – first published between 1818 and 1827 by the brothers William Power (Dublin) and James Power (London) – inspired subsequent collected editions and numerous individual arrangements which contributed to the repertoire of amateur and professional musicians. As this chapter reveals, Moore’s considerable reputation in London was utilised by publishers and composers between 1825 and 1880 to sustain interest in the wider national airs’ phenomenon which influenced cultural activity in nineteenth-century Europe. Case studies will include Charles William Glover’s collected edition of Moore’s National Airs (London, 1859–60), and arrangements of Oft in the Stilly Night by German composer Ferdinand Ries – as well as by lesser known British composers (Henry) Brinley Richards, William Smyth Rockstro, Edward Land, and George Mount. The profile of composers who arranged Moore’s Airs is detailed to identify the network of musicians who contributed to furthering his reputation in London. This chapter will uncover the cultural and reputation value of the National Airs while considering the ways in which Moore’s reputation was exploited by his contemporaries and successors.