Moeran was an avid folk-song collector, a habit he began while still at school. His 7 Songs from County Kerry were selected from the numerous examples he collected between 1934 and 1948 in Cahirciveen, Sneem and Kenmare, and arranged in 1950, shortly before the composer's death.
Ernest John Moeran (Jack to family and friends) was born in 1894 in Norfolk. His mother was born in Norfolk and his father was an Irish-born Anglican priest. He taught himself the piano, then studied music early and went to the Royal College of Music where he encountered the music of Elgar, and met Delius. He saw service during World War I, during which he was seriously wounded by shrapnel, and as a result he had a metal plate fitted to his head. He suffered from the effects of this injury for the rest of his life: some say that he was an alcoholic, but it is perfectly possible that the symptoms of difficulty walking and slurred speech were simply due to his disability.
After the war, Moeran re-entered the RCM and resumed his musical education. He became friendly with John Ireland, Harriet Cohen, Arnold Bax, and Peter Warlock (real name Philip Heseltine). He fell in love with Miss Peers Coetmore, whom he courted with his Cello Concerto, which she recorded. Their marriage was a failure. By the middle of Moeran’s life he had turned strongly to his Celtic roots, delighting in Ireland, its people, and its scenery and returning there frequently. His Symphony in G minor was a work which reflected his English and Irish backgrounds. The influence of the barren Norfolk geography and his Irish ancestry never left him. In 1950 he was found dead in a river in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland. He was said to have suffered a cerebral haemorrhage but perhaps took his own life.
Moeran’s music is frequently likened to that of Vaughan Williams and is often rather pastoral in nature. He collected English and Irish folk tunes and composed orchestral and chamber music, choral music songs, and other things, much of it showing folk-tune influence. Larger scale works include a Symphony, a Sinfonietta, a Violin Concerto, the Cello Concerto, a Piano Concerto, a Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, and an Overture for a Masque. Also important are his String Quartet in A minor, and his E minor Violin Sonata.