While I like the idea of radio drama, I often find the reality a little overwrought. Often the prosody of the self-consciously melodramatic delivery is enough to put me off. However, Moeran’s Last Symphony reeled me in on two counts. Firstly I stumbled upon it in the car. It had already started and, not knowing who the play featured kept me guessing.
I have to be honest and say I knew nothing of Earnest John Moeran – not even that his quintessentially English music masked his 50% Irish generic inheritance.
When I got home, I sought out his Symphony No 1 on Spotify and took to it immediately. Great brass writing towards the end of the first movement – even if the rhythm put me in mind of The Flintstones. Anyway, joking aside, the play tells the tragic story of war injuries, depression, alcoholism, delusion and self-doubt.
Moeran’s friend Philip Heseltine aka Peter Warlock, makes an appearance.