This book outlines the career of one of the most distinguished figures in Irish musical life in the first half of the twentieth century — a Bavarian organist, Aloys Fleischmann senior, whose son would later become Professor of Music in UCC. Fleischmann senior came to international attention through his work with the North Cathedral Choir in Cork, which was regarded as one of the finest of its kind. He was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 400 works, and he was a highly respected teacher whose students included Séan Ó Riada.
The book also contains an essay on the music and an annotated catalogue by Séamas de Barra.
The Irish Catholic church did not regain public influence until the middle of the 19th century when most of the British anti-Catholic legislation was repealed. Aloys Fleischmann senior and his father-in-law Hans Conrad Swertz were among the fifty continental church musicians who were brought to Ireland from the 1860s by the bishops to develop Catholic church music, as no indigenous tradition of Catholic sacred choral music had survived the period of the Penal Laws. The leading figure of the Irish Revival, Edward Martyn, together with the foreign immigrant musicians were the driving force in the reform of church music prescribed by Pope Pius X in 1903. In Ireland, the efforts to provide ecclesiastical music of quality formed part of a wider cultural movement emanating from a growing awareness and appreciation of Ireland's Gaelic heritage and ancient European links.
This biography is the first full study of one of these continental musicians who made a particularly significant contribution to Irish cultural life. An abundance of documentation concerning Fleischmann senior's career has survived, which makes it possible to present an authoritative account of his richly varied professional life and to illuminate the cultural and social context in which he worked. His music is assessed by Séamas de Barra, with an annotated catalogue of the compositions.
Joseph Cunningham, an accountant by profession, served as assistant organist and choirmaster to Fleischmann. Ruth Fleischmann was lecturer in the English Department of the University of Bielefeld (Germany) and dean of studies of her faculty. Séamas de Barra is a composer and musicologist