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Estelle Murphy
‘Liveridge is in Ireland’: Richard Leveridge and the Earliest Surviving Dublin Birthday Odes
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The tradition of composing birthday and New Year’s Day odes for the monarch in London is one that dates back to at least 1617. It was not until almost a century later that equivalent works began to be produced in Dublin. Until now the earliest surviving birthday-ode text has been understood to be Hail Happy Day, set by Charles Ximenes in 1707. However, a hitherto unidentified printed text, dated 1701 and attributed to the theatre musician Richard Leveridge, stands as a strong candidate for the earliest surviving Dublin birthday-ode text, meaning that the tradition of mounting such ceremonial performances in the city began earlier than has previously been verifiable. It transpires that the same poetic text is set to music in a manuscript held in the British Library. The source also contains a second ode in the same hand, which, through rastrological evidence, can be identified as another Dublin work. This article makes the case that—despite having previously been misattributed—this surviving manuscript is in the autograph of Richard Leveridge and contains the two earliest surviving Dublin odes. It explores the evidence for attitudes towards authorship and originality in this period revealed by the misattribution of the odes, and by Leveridge’s apparent borrowing of material from an existing birthday ode by Daniel Purcell, thus demonstrating that the earliest Dublin odes had a far stronger connection to the London ode tradition and to London composers than has previously been acknowledged. It also discusses nuances of politics and identity in which the Dublin ode tradition was established at the end of the seventeenth century that can now be associated with these works.
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