Music for a Lovelorn Lenanshee (1993)

For Oboe and Piano   12 minutes

A “Lenanshee” is a fairy mistress. I found this one in the traditional Irish song, ‘My Lagan Love’:

Where Lagan stream sings lullaby
There blows a lily fair;
The twilight gleam is in her eye,
The night is on her hair.
And, like a lovesick Lenanshee
She hath my heart in thrall
Nor life I owe, nor liberty
For Love is lord of all

I have used the melody of this song as the basis for the whole piece. It is presented fairly explicitly at the beginning and The End; in the middle, it is spun into a kind of jig, and then into another dance. The second verse of the song includes the lines “There on the cricket’s singing stone/She spares the bogwood fire,” and that is where I imagine the music being played.

Commissioned by the Park Lane Group with funds provided by the London Arts Board

First performance: 9th January 1994, Jonathan Kelly and Alison Procter, PLG Young Artists New Year Series, Purcell Room, South Bank.