The Music of Michael William Balfe

in Daily Programme, Radio Riel Main, Zeeber Gold

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 15 May, 2013

Today is the birthday of Irish Victorian composer Michael William Balfe (1808–70), a prolific and leading composer in Ireland and beyond during his lifetime.

Today, Balfe is best known for his opera The Bohemian Girl (chiefly known today, perhaps, as a result of the revival by Enya of the song “I Dreamed I Dwelt in Marble Halls”, although the album credited the piece as “Traditional”.)

After a short career as a violinist, Balfe pursued an operatic singing career, while he began to compose. In a career spanning more than 40 years, he composed 38 operas, almost 250 songs and other works. He was also a noted conductor, directing Italian Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre for seven years, among other conducting posts. Learn more about him here.

In the programme today we’ll be hearing highlights from The Bohemian Girl, Falstaff and other of Balfe’s operas, along with a selection of his songs and also a little of the work of contemporary Irish composers — along with other music of the period.

Zeeber Gold

Then at 11am or 7pm Pacific Time (19:00 or 03:00 UK time), tune in for the latest in our 1970s interview series with the movers and shakers of the time from ZBS Foundation — Zeeber Gold. This week, it’s a fascinating 3‐part interview with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Say ZBS: “This interview is a bit eerie, almost gives me the creeps. It was recorded in 1970, and among the things that Jerry Garcia is talking about, in fact the main focus here, is the environment. Speak about Green?! I mean, wow, what he’s talking about is what’s happening now. In fact, it sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday, or maybe even tomorrow. It’s sure nice to hear his gentle voice. A very wise, kind person indeed. We miss him.”

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin and you can hear it now, by clicking on this link if your browser is configured to launch a player directly. Alternatively, plug into your player. If you’re listening in the United States, please listen to us on LoudCity.



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