Anthology: E J Moeran

A documentary film by RTE
Transmitted 17th February 1971

In 1971 the Irish state broadcaster RTE transmitted a documentary film that had been some fifteen months in the making - a 63 minute long TV biography of Jack Moeran, written, prtoduced and presented by the late Bill Skinner.

Lacking the recordings and research we have today, Skinner's job was tough. He had to make new recordings for all the music featured in the programme. He had to do much new research. But he had one major advantage - a good number of those people who knew and remembered Moeran were still around - after all this was just 20 years on from his death, and their memories were still fresh.

Skinner was clearly granted the kind of budget we can only now dream of for such a documentary. Filming in colour (surely still highly unusual in 1970/1) on 16mm film stock, he took his cameras to Norfolk, Uppingham, Eynsford, Ludlow, London and Kerry. Recordings of some of the piano pieces were made by Charles Lynch - the same pianist who'd played with Peers Coetmore at the premiere of the Cello Sonata in 1947. He has the time in the film to play extensive extracts of music, especially the Symphony in G minor, illustrated by wonderful scenic shots designed to complement the composer's inspiration. And, quite early on, we get the first Moeran 'pop video' - a complete rendition of At A Horse Fair with the appropriate pictures.

The only thing missing from this is any film of Moeran himself - instead we are offered several speech-only extracts, almost certainly all taken from an iterview he gave to Eamonn Andrews in the late 1940's and heard elsewhere on this site.

RTE are able to make copies of the film for sale (probably more quickly than mine as they've now carried out the laborious transfer from old film stock to professional videotape) on VHS for the princely sum of £70 IR. Full contact details can be sent to anyone who wishes to buy this film direct from RTE - drop me a line at andrew@moeran.com and I'll send them to you.

In the meantime, I've digitised a number of stills to create the following pages, which illustrate the film admirably. The pages are quite graphic-intensive - with 21 pictures in total how could they be otherwise? But I hope this will give you a flavour fo the film. I've omitted long sections of countryside shots which accompany the extended musical sections, but any Moeran lover will find new images of people and places unseen in any current publications within this selection.

Bill Skinner wrote an artcile in the RTE Guide magazine published on February 12th, 1971, to accompany the film - you can read the article in full here.

Video clip excerpts

I've digitised to short sequences - the discussion of Jack's death and the 'pop video' version of At A Horse Fair, both for 56k modems. Click on the links to the right to view the clips. If you have a slower modem or wish to save the clips, use the links below to download the files to your hard drive and view offline.

Clip One file
Clip Two file

I've divided the film into three pages. Click here to start the film!


 

©2011 The Worldwide Moeran Database

*
At A Horse Fair

 

 

Film pages:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Article

Clip 1
Kenmare Pier

Clip 2*
At A Horse Fair

 

*Note: The second clip has been digitised with the latest Real Audio technology which requires version eight of Real Player to be viewed. This can be downloaded for free from www.real.com