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Ernest John Moeran

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Biography

Ernest John Moeran (December 31, 1894–December 1, 1950) was an English composer.

Moeran was born in Heston (in the London Borough of Hounslow), the son of a clergyman of Irish descent, but his family soon moved to Bacton on the Coast of Norfolk, England. He learnt the violin and the piano as a child and, from 1913, studied at the Royal College of Music with Charles Villiers Stanford.

He received serious head wounds in World War I and this is generally believed to have contributed to mental ill-health in later life. After the war he returned to the College to resume his studies, now with John Ireland.

His first mature compositions, songs and chamber music, date from this time. He also began collecting and arranging folk music of Norfolk and other regions.

By the mid-1920s, Moeran had became close friends with Peter Warlock and they lived for some years in Eynsford, Kent, notorious among the locals for their frequent drunken revelry. For the rest of his life, Moeran was to have problems with alcohol, later joined by mental instability.

After Warlock’s death, he became interested in his Irish roots and began spending much of his time in Kenmare, County Kerry. He married the cellist Peers Coetmore in 1945. The marriage was not entirely happy although it inspired some of Moeran’s masterpieces, the Cello Concerto and Cello Sonata.

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