renowned for the lyrical quality of its folk songs, handed down over generations
by oral tradition. The emblem of Ireland is the Irish harp, because this was a
favourite instrument in earlier centuries dating right back to the Middle Ages.
Another traditional Irish instrument is the Irish bag-pipe, which is blown from
a bellows, not by the player's breath as in the
Dublin was an important musical centre in the 18th century,
and its Academy of Music was founded in 1757. Handel's Messiah was first
performed in Dublin in 1742.
John Field and
Charles Villiers Stanford
two prominent Irish composers from the 19th century. John Field is especially
remarkable because he was born towards the end of the
era, and his piano-playing while a young child prodigy was heard by the grand
old master of classical music, Josef Haydn.
But he became the pioneer of romantic
piano music, and invented the Nocturne.