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Walter Beckett

Born in Dublin, he lived for a time in England and Italy. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he held a Mus. B., Mus.D.; and also LRAM, ARCO, and FRIAM. He was music critic of the Irish Times from 1946 to 1952. He produced a large body of work, including compositions for symphony, orchestra, chamber music, song cycles and organ pieces, and arrangements and orchestral suites based on Irish airs, many of them written for RTÉ radio. He was Professor of Harmony and Counterpoint at the Royal Irish Academy of Music until his retirement in 1985. His works of original composition included Symphonic Suite in Three Movements; Irish Rhapsody for symphony orchestra; Suite of Planxties for harp and small orchestra; Golden Hair, song cycle for mezzo soprano or baritone to words by James Joyce; The Falaingin Dances for symphony orchestra; Four Higgins Songs for tenor and small orchestra; String Quartet; Preludes, for piano; Dublin Symphony for symphony orchestra and narrator; Occasional Voluntary for organ. Literary compositions included First Harmony Course (published by Folens); Liszt (Dent Master Musician Series, also translated into various languages), and Ballet Music (with Humphrey Searle, published by Dover Publications). He was a contributor to Die Music in Geschichte und Gegenwart.

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