The Literary After-Life of Arnold Dolmetsch

The ODNB gives a clear account of the life of Arnold Dolmetsch (AD), who was born in France in 1858 and died in Haslemere, England in 1940, and there are two biographies; the first by his third wife[i], Mabel (mother of four of his children) and the second, only slightly less hagiographic, by Margaret Campbell[ii]. Yet these sources fail to explain the phosphorescent trail which AD’s passion for the recovery of “old music” left in the writings of his literary contemporaries. He is crucial to W. B. Yeats’s project of reviving the “Lost Bardic Arts”[iii]; appears, with little disguise, in novels and short stories by James Joyce[iv], and George Moore[v]; is celebrated in poetry by Ezra Pound[vi] and Arthur Symons[vii]; lampooned in Punch by A. A. Sykes[viii]; Ezra Pound devoted two of his Literary Essays[ix] to Dolmetsch, and George Bernard Shaw[x] reviewed almost all of his concerts.
Something was obviously in the air. In this essay I suggest that this “something” was a romantic belief that in the antique there was a veracity of form that modernity had extinguished. The same romance had driven William Morris and the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood in their craftsmanship, paintings and poetry.
AD met the artist Edward Burne-Jones, through Herbert Horne[xi] and was in turn introduced by him to William Morris. Morris was notoriously unmusical, but in the foreword to the programme for a concert given at the Art Workers’ Guild for his 80th birthday AD recalls Morris’s attendance at one of his early concerts,
So far, William Morris . . . had not heard any of this [early] music. . . Burne Jones had taken him to recitals and orchestral concerts, but, however much he tried, he who had mastered so many arts, remained impervious to music. It was not his fault, however, but that of the music which had been offered to him; his direct fundamental genius could not be interested in the conventionalities and display of executive ability that had nearly driven poetry out of music.
One memorable day, in 1894, Burne Jones brought Morris to one of my English performances in Dulwich. He understood this music at once, and his emotion was so strong that he was moved to tears! He had found the lost art![xii]
It was at Morris’s suggestion that AD made his first harpsichord for exhibition at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition in 1896 – the famous green harpsichord (now in the Horniman Museum in London) decorated by Helen Coomb before her marriage to Roger Fry, lettering by Selwyn Image and design over the keyboard by Horne himself. Morris died (on October 3rd) and AD played the virginals to him as lay on his death-bed at Kelmscott House, Morris was, again, moved to tears by the beauty of the music.[xiii]
Mabel Johnston (to marry AD in 1903), writing of a concert she attended in his Keppel Street rooms in 1896, gives an impressive list of those present, including Walter Crane, Herbert Horne, Margaret McKail (Burne Jones’s daughter), Willam Rothenstein, Lawrence Binyon, Arthur Symons, Robert Steele, Ellen Terry, Mrs Patrick Campbell, George Bernard Shaw’s sister Lucy, George Moore and “many members of the Art Workers’ Guild”.[xiv] As Ronald Schuchard comments in The Last Minstrels “towards the end of the 1890’s more of the bohemian world gathers in Dolmetsch’s rooms at 7 Bayley Street[xv] than in Yeats’s rooms at 18 Woburn Buildings”.[xvi] It seems likely that AD and Yeats attended one another’s lectures and recitals at the Rhymers Club[xvii] and at the Hobby Horse Club (run by Herbert Horne). AD wrote,
By January 1894, sixteen London concerts had been given, covering a wide range of hitherto unknown compositions. They were attended almost entirely by the poets, litérateurs, craftsmen, philosophers and lovers of fine arts who abounded at the time,[xviii]
The connections with W. B. Yeats seem to have been the moment at which AD became more than a musical contributor within this ‘bohemian world’ but a formative member of one of its movements. Yeats and the actress Florence Farr (Mrs Emery) had been working to revive the lost oral tradition of Irish verse and to extend the speaking/chanting/lilting techniques they believed fundamental. They were looking to the ‘antique’ for models and trying ideas from the Greek chorus; but the music of renaissance and baroque Europe was also considered ‘antique’ and they found AD’s ideas on this inspiring and ultimately more useful.
His seminal work The Interpretation of the Music of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries was not published until 1915, significantly later than the meetings with Yeats, but his ideas, developed during the 1890’s and early 1900’s, informed his lectures and concerts, and were thus available to Yeats as he worked on his own project. The book reflects years of research in the British Library. It reclaims the necessary approach to performance if the music of the past is to be heard as originally intended. Almost a hundred years later, though subsequent research has questioned some of AD’s findings, his discoveries are still recognised as a crucial development in the recovery of early music. His topics include Expression, Tempo, Rhythm, Ornamentation, ‘Thorough’ Bass, Position and Fingering and the Instruments themselves. It was his approach to expression that caught the imagination of Yeats, Joyce, Symons, Pound and Moore who were trying to escape the rigorous form of literary, poetic and musical style that 19th century convention had imposed, towards a freer, more individual use of language and motif. In his chapter on expression AD argues for an earlier practice which enabled the performer to move beyond the written score and to interpret and transmit the sensibility of the composer’s intention. That is – to play each phrase so that it could develop and decay, to hesitate and delay a note and to vary the volume of the performance so that the music ‘spoke’ eloquently and organically. Yeats and Farr recognised that AD’s theories matched their own (though they might have felt that modernity had driven the music out of poetry rather than as AD said that it had “driven the poetry out of music”[xix]), and it was to him that they turned for justification of their embryonic ideas, and for the ‘antique’ instruments they needed. Their recitals in London drew so much public attention that when a poem by A. A. Sykes, ‘L’Allegro to Date’, appeared in Punch[xx], with one stanza referring to AD and his work, the references would be recognised by a general audience.
But come, thou Mistress FLORENCE FARR,
So buxom, blithe, and debonarr,
Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Care dispelling jollity . . .
The old forgotten dancing-lore,
The steps we cannot understand,
DOLMETSCH agrees to take in hand.
These on the well-trod stage anon,
When next our learned sock is on,
We’ll show, while ARNOLD, Fancy’s child,
Tootles his native wood-wind wild.
These delights if thous canst give,
Miss Farr, within thy Club* I’ll live.
*the Sesame Club, where Florence Farr and her dancers performed in that year.
It is not hard to recognise this portrait of “Fancy’s child, Tootle[ing] his native wood-wind wild.” or the “debonarr” Miss Farr with her Dolmetsch psaltery in the photographs below.
AD listened to Yeats and Farr reciting, and discussed and assessed their voices in order to create an instrument which could be played easily and would enhance the exact tones and timbres which they produced, while still maintaining some historical authenticity. There had already been earlier, disastrous attempts to use a single stringed instrument and AD designed a 13 course psaltery[xxi], each course tuned to a naturally occurring note within Farr’s voice, enhancing rather than directing her natural tone. He taught both Yeats and Farr how to write the notation which they would use in performance.[xxii] The instrument was judged to be so successful that when Mrs Patrick Campbell (who had heard Farr reciting Yeats’s poems) was to play one of the three Rhinemaidens in a production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold she ordered three psalteries which were “specially tuned so that their singing could be accompanied with sweeping strokes across the strings”.[xxiii]
They seem unlikely colleagues, Yeats the mystic and poet, and AD the musician and academic, but Margaret Campbell quotes a letter from Yeats to AD inviting him to chair a lecture,
You are the only one, I suppose, in the world now, who knows anything about the old music that was half speech, and I need hardly add that neither Miss Farr nor myself, could have done anything in this matter of speaking to notes without your help”.[xxiv]
The relationship lasted a long time, Yeats revived their correspondence in 1934 with a letter asking AD to meet a young protégé, Harry Partch, “[I have] the most admiring memories of those old days . . . He [Partch] is working on the problem you and I and Florence Farr worked on many years ago, music for, and a notation of the speaking voice”.[xxv] While Yeats obviously feels that AD had contributed to the successful outcome of his verse speaking project, AD clearly felt that the project was as much for his benefit as for Yeats’s and gives a different view, writing, in 1940 (a month before he died),
I tried to revive the Art of reciting to well defined musical tones, and I made a “Psaltery” to accompany the voice, as was done in the early days of Celtic and Greek Art. The point was to find the “tune” to which the poet recited his own verse. I spent a whole night listening to Yeats reciting but I came to the conclusion that he did not realize the inflexions of his own voice. In fact, he had a short phrase of fairly indistinct tones which he employed to recite any of his poems. This did not interfere with the expression of his readings, which were very beautiful; but it was useless from my point of view.[xxvi]
A straightforward portrait of Dolmetsch, his family and his concerts, was given by George Moore in his novel Evelyn Innes. Moore was already a successful novelist (if controversial for the ‘realism’ of the relationships he depicted) when it was published in 1898. Margaret Campbell, who describes Moore as the “Balzacian Irishman”, gives a detailed description of the relationship between him and AD in her biography.[xxvii] The similarities between Mr Innes and AD are outstanding, both love early music, both live in Dulwich, both have a musical daughter, both struggle against the dominance of the ‘large music’ of the symphony and the opera. In correspondence, prior to the publication of Evelyn Innes, Moore questioned AD in detail about early music and AD severely edited, one might say rewrote, long passages of prose, which Moore sent to him for comment; in some cases Moore incorporated AD’s alterations word for word. Moore might not have liked to admit how much he needed AD’s help, Margaret Campbell quotes a letter from Edouard Dujardin in which he writes,
His [George Moore’s] brother, Colonel Moore, said that ‘the members of our family were all unmusical, George no better than the rest. He could not hum a tune correctly and what he wrote about music was what he heard others say’.[xxviii]
There are amusing accounts from Mabel Dolmetsch of Moore’s appearances at concerts held at Dowlands (AD’s Dulwich home) she describes “ . . . George Moore, the novelist, exchanging brisk badinage with Lucy [Shaw], they having formerly been neighbours over in Ireland”.[xxix] And at a dinner at Bayley Street in about 1897 –
One evening, while [we] were assembled at supper, George Moore entered, and thenceforth the conversation degenerated into a monologue concerning Moore’s gallant adventures when he used to live in the Latin Quarter in Paris. Meantime, William Rothenstein, at the other end of the table, was mutely fiddling with a blue pencil, a candle end, and a stub of sealing wax. When Moore had departed, Rothenstein produced a life-like caricature made with these unusual implements, and bearing the footnote ‘C’est moi! Mooooorrr[h]![xxx]
The opening paragraphs of Moore’s novel introduce Evelyn’s father. The similarities to AD are clear, the physical description alone is convincing –
. . . the long room in which Mr Innes gave his concerts of early music. An Elizabethan virginal had come to him to be repaired . . . Iron grey hair hung in thick locks over his forehead, and, shining through their shadows, his eyes drew attention from the rest of his face, so that none noticed at first the small and firmly cut nose, nor the scanty growth of the beard twisted to a point by a movement habitual to the weak, white hand. His face was in his eyes: they reflected the flame of faith and of mission; they were the eyes of one whom fate had thrown on an obscure wayside of dreams, the face of a dreamer and propagandist of old-time music and its instruments. He sat at the virginal, like one who loved its old design and sweet tone, in such strict keeping with the music he was playing – a piece by W. Byrd . . . His hands moved over the keyboard softly as if they loved it, . . .[xxxi]
Moore centres the musical argument of the novel around a conflict of musical aesthetic – the simplicity and ‘real feeling’ of the old music against the artificial contrivances and emotionality of the new – particularly the operas of Wagner. Evelyn longs to become an opera singer like her late mother and is torn between her love of her father’s music and contemporary opera. She develops a passion for Ulick Dean, an Irish composer whom she meets at the opera house. Moore rehearses, in the conversations between them, many of the musical arguments current in London in the 1890’s. The character of Ulick is based on Yeats (though Yeats failed to recognise himself) who was a close friend of Moore’s, and the disjunction between Ulick’s and Mr Innes’s ideas mirrors those between Yeats and AD. We see episodes from AD’s actual life transcribed into the novel. Moore recounts a concert where Evelyn is to play the viol –
She took her place among the viol players and began playing: but she had forgotten to tune her instrument, and her father stopped the performance. She looked at him, a little frightened and laughed at her mistake. The piece they were playing was by Henry VIII, a masterpiece, Mr Innes had declared it to be, so, to stop the performance on account of Evelyn’s viola da gamba, and then to hear her play worse than he had ever heard her play before, was very disappointing.[xxxii]
In a BBC Radio 3 interview John Amis and Diana Poulton, a pupil of AD’s in the years between the first and second world wars, recalled similar real life events. Diana had just been saying that she found AD an unkind and impatient teacher when John Amis interrupted with an anecdote of his own,
John Amis: …He put everything down and shouted at Cécile, or whoever it was “Put down that gamba!” or whatever it was, and stalked off [the stage], and would sulk in his dressing room . . .
Diana Poulton: Yes. This is quite true. When I was playing with the consort, if someone played a wrong note he would stop the whole thing. I remember on one occasion him standing up, looking at the audience and saying, “My poor wife has never been able to count four in a bar.”[xxxiii]
Arthur Symons, an Imagist poet and music critic, had worked in Paris, where he met Verlaine and Mallarmé, and became interested in their ideas about vers libre. He was a member of Yeats’s Rhymers Club and a frequent visitor at AD’s various concert rooms. After a concert he composed this poem, a tribute to AD’s musicality (though there is no reference to his personality), ‘On an Air of Rameau, to Arnold Dolmetsch’[xxxiv]. AD was touched by the tribute and wrote in a letter to Herbert Horne,
My concert went very well last night. Melodie* quite distinguished herself, and a sister of Bernard Shaw Lucy Carr Shaw sang delightfully, . . . Symmons [sic] did not go before 1 o’cl. And yet, by the first post this morning, I got a charming poem on Rameau. He must have spent all night on it.[xxxv]
* AD had begun to call his second wife, Elodie, by the name Melodie – perhaps he felt it an easier name for the English.
A melancholy desire of ancient things
Floats like a faded perfume out of the wires;
Pallid lovers, what unforgotten desires,
Whispered once, are retold in these whisperings?
Roses, roses and lilies with hearts of gold,
These you plucked for her, these she wore in her breast;
Only Rameau’s music remembers the rest,
How the heart that was warm for you withered cold.
But these sighs? Can ghosts then sign from the tomb?
Life then wept for you, sighed for you, chilled your breath?
It is the melancholy of ancient death
The harpsichord dreams of, sighing in the room.
In 1928 Symons published an essay ‘A Reflection at a Dolmetsch Concert’[xxxvi]. in which he rails against the emotive and childish music of Berlioz and Tschaichowsky [sic] and describes AD as, “one of those rare magicians who are able to make roses bloom in winter . . discover[ing] for himself an exquisite lost world, which was disappearing like a fresco peeling off a wall”. He describes music which had been difficult and unrewarding for both players and audience until AD “found out how . . . to make over again the harpsichord and virginals, and clavichord, and all those instruments which had become silent curiosities in museums”. AD’s insight into expression which had already appealed to Yeats, was in tune with the thinking of the Imagists as they broke away from the rigid structure of 19th century poetry. The Symons poem which, despite its classic A B B A rhyme pattern, avoids constancy of line and meter and demonstrates how vers libre allows the musicality of the words precedence over metrical form.
This was to be the pattern of AD’s literary influence – he was working on specific research in a field of technical expertise, but his findings were taken up as aiding the recreation of a romantic idyll. This was, of course, partly his own doing as he dressed and presented his concerts in this light too. James Joyce was certainly persuaded by the romance, in a letter to his friend Gogarty (dated 3rd June 1904) James Joyce wrote, “My idea for August is this – to get Dolmetsch to make me a lute and to coast the South of England from Falmouth to Margate singing old English songs”.[xxxvii] He had some trouble getting an address for AD and eventually wrote to him on 16th June, an auspicious day since he had his first date with Nora Barnacle and celebrated it thereafter as the date of the action of Ulysses. AD’s reply (dated 17th July) was brutally direct and practical –
Dear Sir
Lutes are extremely rare. I have not heard of any for sale for years. . . I have made one lute, some years ago, but it is doubtful whether I shall make any others . . . The lute is moreover extremely difficult to play, and very troublesome to keep in order.[xxxviii]
He goes on to suggest that Joyce reads the articles that he had written about the lute in The Connoisseur in April and May of that year. In Uysses Stephen asks – “Lynch did I show you the letter about the lute?”[xxxix], raising the interesting question of whether he is referring to his own letter to AD (a straightforward ‘business’ request) written on the day of the narrative or is foretelling the reply he received a month later. In a longer section, which shows Joyce’s knowledge of the early music movement, he again introduces AD – this time by name.
. . . the lutenist Dowland who lived in Fetter Lane, near Gerard the herbalist, who anno laudendo hausi, Doulandus, an instrument he was contemplating purchasing from Mr Arnold Dolmetsch, whom Bloom did not quite recall, though the name certainly sounded familiar, for sixtyfive guineas . . .[xl]
The passage continues with a poetic ramble through the names of other English composers: the Farnaby brothers, William Bird, Tomkins and Sir John Bull. Slightly earlier in the same section AD appears as Henry Flower, his description bearing a striking comparison with the photographs of AD in concert dress.
Once again it is the romance, what we would now call the image, presented by AD which Joyce has picked up and used,
From left upper entrance with two sliding steps Henry Flower comes forward to left front centre. He wears a dark mantle and drooping plumed sombrero. He carries a silverstringed inlaid dulcimer and a long stemmed bamboo Jacob’s pipe, its clay bowl fashioned as a female head. He wears dark velvet hose and silverbuckled pumps. He has the romantic Saviour’s face with flowing locks, thin beard and moustache. His spindle-legs and sparrow feet are those of the tenor Mario, prince of Candia. He settles down his goffered ruffs and moistens his lips with a passage of his amorous tongue.[xli]
AD appears again in the character of the Hungarian – Villona, in ‘After the Race’ (one of the stories from The Dubliners),
The five young men had various tastes and their tongues had been loosened. Villona, with immense respect, began to discover to the mildly surprised Englishman the beauties of the English madrigal, deploring the loss of the old instruments. . . . The resonant voice of the Hungarian was about to prevail in ridicule of the spurious lutes of the romantic painters . . .[xlii]
The Dolmetsch family trace their origins back to 14th century Hungary, where according to Mabel Dolmetsch, they became translators for the Turks (dolmetscher is the German word for translator and seems to have a Hungarian root).[xliii] That Joyce chooses to write a Hungarian character to express AD’s ideas seems to show that he had heard this story. It is certainly true that AD often commented on the pre-Raphaelite tendency to “invent” instruments or to include obvious fakes of period instruments in their paintings. He wrote in The Connoisseur in April 1904 (one of the issues he had recommended to Joyce), “The modern painter who wishes to introduce a lute into one of his works, a fashionable thing nowadays, has every chance of reproducing some impossible model, perhaps a complete forgery”.[xliv]
When Ezra Pound married Dorothy Shakspear in April 1914, Yeats gave them money to buy a clavichord from AD. It was on a visit to his workshop to see the new clavichord being made that AD and Pound first met. He had of course followed his work through the Yeats circle, but this meeting proved fascinating and influential. He was then beginning to establish his College of the Arts and recruited AD for ‘Ancient Music’ and Mabel Dolmetsch for ‘XVI Century Dance’. Four years later Pound included two essays about AD in Pavannes and Divisions. The first begins, “I have seen the God Pan . . . ”. (whom he seems to equate to Dolmetsch) and then moves through an exposition of art, kultur, myth and civilisation into a critique of the differences between modern music which needs “240 (or some such number) of players” and the old music. He describes visiting AD in Haslemere –
First, I perceived a sound which is undoubtedly derived from the Gods, and then I found myself in a reconstructed century – in a century of music, back before Mozart or Purcell, listening to clear music, to tones clear as brown amber. And this music came indifferently out of the harpsichord or the clavichord or out of virginals or out of odd shaped viols, or whatever they may be. . . ‘It is nonsense to teach people scales. It is rubbish to make them play this (tum, tum, tum, tum, tum). They must begin to play music.’[xlv]
The tone is lyrical, AD’s ideas confirm things he has believed but before now failed to articulate. This tone continues in the second essay as Pound offers a critique of AD’s book The Interpretation of the Music of the XVII and XVIII Centuries, its significance for the performance of early music and relevance to the Imagist and Vorticist poetry movement. He writes, “Poetry is a composition of words set to music. Most other definitions of it are indefensible, or metaphysical . . .”.[xlvi] He quotes extracts from Thomas Mace’s Musick’s Monument (1676), Rousseau’s Maitre de Musique et de Viole (1687) and Couperin’s L’Art de toucher le Clavecin (1717) directly from the book as lessons for contemporary poets[xlvii]. He writes –
Dolmetsch’s wisdom is not to be confined to the demonstration of a single point of topical interest to the poet. . . The serious writer of verse will not rest content until he has gone to the source. I do not wish to give the erroneous impression that old music was all vers libre. I state simply that vers libre exists in old music.
Interestingly, 36 years later in 1954, TS Eliot’s new edition of Pound’s literary essays, included these essays ‘Arnold Dolmetsch’ and ‘Vers Libre and Arnold Dolmetsch’. In the introduction Eliot explains,
I should add that amongst the papers excluded from this volume of literary essays, are those on music, painting and sculpture, with two exceptions: the notes on Dolmetsch and Brancusi which I have appended as a reminder to the reader of all the other essays on the arts which fall outside the scope of the present volume.[xlviii]
Pound had introduced Eliot to AD in April 1915 and following their meeting Eliot wrote to a friend, “I passed one of the most delightful afternoons I have ever spent, in one of the most delightful households I have ever visited”. AD was equally delighted writing to Pound “ I saw Mr Elliot[sic] yesterday; he is very sympathetic and intelligent. If I did not occasionally meet people of that kind, I should not have the courage to go on”.[xlix] Which may go some way to explaining why of all the Pound essays available he chose to include two about AD’s work.
Pound’s work shows a fascination with the past, a desire to be privy to the arcana of the other, in this case the music of renaissance and baroque Europe, where AD had been his guide. He returned to AD and early music while kept in solitary confinement in Italy awaiting trial and repatriation to the United States following his affiliation with the fascist movement. Writing under difficult conditions, Pound seems to have had no difficulty recalling the wide range of his previous reading in order to make references of fact and style. There is a short section of Canto ‘Number 81’[l], which refers back to his relationship with AD and the music he recovered (Lawes and Jenkins were English court composers in the 17th century, and set Waller’s verses to music).
Libretto
Yet
Ere the season died a-cold
Borne upon a zephyr’s shoulder
I rose through the aureate sky
Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest
Dolmetsch ever be thy guest,
Has he tempered the viols’ wood
To enforce both the grave and the acute?
Has he curved us the bowl of the lute?
Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest
Dolmetsch ever be thy guest,
Hast ‘ou fashioned so airy a mood
To draw up leaf from the root?
Hast ‘ou found a cloud so light
As seemed neither mist nor shade?
Then resolve me, tell me aright
If Waller sang or Dowland played.
Your eyen two wol sleye me sodenly
I may the beauté of hem nat susteyne
And for 180 years almost nothing.
The language moves, apparently effortlessly, through centuries, from vers libre to Elizabethan and back even further to Chaucerian. Pound had always been susceptible to the ‘magic’ of the antique, and it seems that his memories of AD were still able to transport him from what must have been an unbearable present back to the “clear music, to tones clear as brown amber”.
All the writers considered here took AD’s expertise as, in some way, a tool for their own projects. They found in his evidence-based research a justification for what they believed but could not prove. The resonances of AD’s project to bring poetry back to music, which were so important to this group of writers before and during the First World War, were still relevant in the mid 50’s when Eliot edited Pound’s essays, and are still traceable not just in our current understanding of the performance of baroque and renaissance music, but also in the novels, essays, poetry which form part of our literary heritage.
+++++++++
APENDIX
When I first started researching this essay, I was excited to feel that I was discovering something completely new.  Of course the early music world knew about AD and his work, and his two biographers, Mabel Dolmetsch and Margaret Campbell, mention some of the meetings with writers which I had noted in my own readings of Joyce, Pound, Moore and Shaw, but I felt that my literary approach was completely new.  Then, I followed a reference to T.S Eliot’s meeting with AD which took me to The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Tradition by Ronald Schuchard, published by Oxford University Press in 2008, where I found, not only confirmation of my ideas, but the very roots of the links which had interested me in the first instance.
Obviously Schuchard’s book is able to cover far more ground than I can in this essay, but he does discuss much of the same material as I do here.  His emphasis is very clearly on the poetry and the performance aspects of Yeats and his circle, while I am following the trail which Dolmetsch left in literature. I hope that I have been able to add, however slightly, to the picture Schuchard creates of the connections within the circle of writers, artists and musicians working in London at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
I owe Ronald Schuchard a debt of gratitude for confirmation that I was “on to something”.

[i] Mabel Dolmetsch, Personal Recollections of Arnold Dolmetsch (London, 1957).

[ii] Margaret Campbell, Dolmetsch: the man and his work (London, 1975).

[iii] Ronald Schuchard, The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (Oxford, 2008).

[iv] James Joyce, The Dubliners (London 1914) and Ulysses (Paris 1922)

[v] George Moore, Evelyn Innes (London, 1898).

[vi] Ezra Pound, The Pisan Cantos nNumber 81’ (New York 1948).

[vii] Arthur Symons, Images of Good and Evil, ‘On an air of Rameau, to Arnold Dolmetsch (London 1899).

[viii] Punch 123-5, December 16th, 1903. p. 424.

[ix] Ezra Pound, Pavannes and Divisions, ‘Arnold Dolmetsch’ and ‘Arnold Dolmetsch and Vers Libre’, (London 1918).

[x] George Bernard Shaw, Music in London 1890-94, volumes 2 and 3, (London 1932).

[xi] Herbert Horne, architect and partner of A H Mackmurdo who founded the Century Guild in about 1882.

[xii] Dolmetsch Mabel,  p. 163, quoting AD’s essay ‘How they became allied poetry and music’.

[xiii] Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris (London 1994) pp. 668-9.

[xiv] Dolmetsch Mabel, p. 18.

[xv] Dolmetsch was still living at 6 Keppel Street in 1896 and moved to Bayley Street in autumn 1897 according to Mabel Dolmetsch’s biography.

[xvi] Schuchard, The Last Minstrels, p. 50.

[xvii] The Rhymers Club was a group of London-based poets, founded in 1890 by W. B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys. They generally met upstairs at the Cheshire Cheese pub in Fleet Street or in private houses around London.

[xviii] Dolmetsch Mabel, p. 163.

[xix] Ibid., p. 163.  

[xx] Campbell, Dolmetsch p. 151, quoting Punch 124-5 (December 16, 1903), p. 424

[xxi] A course is a pair of strings often tuned to the same note, but sometimes tuned an octave apart, played together as if they were a single string.

[xxii] Ronald Schuchard illustrates various examples of their notation in The Last Minstrels, pp. 52-63.

[xxiii] Campbell, p. 138.

[xxiv] Ibid., p. 142

[xxv] Schuchard, p. 353.

[xxvi] Ibid., p. 144.

[xxvii] Campbell,  pp 69-77.

[xxviii] Ibid., p. 75, quoting a letter printed in Joseph Hone’s biography of George Moore published by Gollancz in 1936.

[xxix] Mabel Dolmetsch, Personal Recollections p. 18.

[xxx] Ibid., pp. 20-21.

[xxxi] George Moore, Evelyn Innes, p1.

[xxxii] Ibid., p. 45.

[xxxiii] BBC Radio 3, John Amis interviews Diana Poulton, date uncertain but probably about 1980.

[xxxiv] Arthur Symons published this poem in Images of Good and Evil (London 1899) but the image and transcription used here are from a facsimile printed in Mabel Dolmetsch’s Personal Recollections, p. 25.

[xxxv] Campbell, pp. 119-20.

[xxxvi] Arthur Symons, Plays, Acting and Music (London 1903) pp. 13-17.

[xxxvii] Richard Ellman, Selected Letters of James Joyce (London 1975) p. 20.

[xxxviii] Campbell, p. 157.

[xxxix] James Joyce, Ulysses (Harmondsworth 1968) p. 480.

[xl] ibid., p. 582.

[xli] Ibid., p. 480.

[xlii] James Joyce, The Dubliners ‘After the Race’ (London 1977) p. 48.

[xliii] Mabel Dolmetsch, Personal Recollections pp. 1-2,

[xliv] Campbell, p158 quoting a letter printed in Richard Ellman’s James Joyce.

[xlv] T. S. Eliot, ed., The Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (London 1960) p. 433.

[xlvi] Ibid., pp. 437-440.

[xlvii] Thomas Mace (1612?-1706?) was Music Clerk at Trinity College, Cambridge. His work Musick’s Monument mourned the passing of the great age of English music. Francois Couperin (1668-1733), was a composer, organist and harpsichordist, and an important influence on J S Bach. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a French political philosopher and educationalist who also wrote on music matters.

[xlviii] Eliot, p. xv.

[xlix] Schuchard, The Last Minstrels p. 307.

[l] Ezra Pound, Pisan Cantos ‘Number 81’ lines 97 –113.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s