Love Letters and Poems of Arnold Bax

ISBN 0-9535125-3-3

Dermot O’Byrne


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Arnold Bax set to music only four of his own poems: two of them with authorship attributed to his nom-de-plume, Dermot O’Byrne. I recall asking the Scots Gaelic poet Sorley Maclean, “Who is a Gael?” He replied: “One who has the language, the Gaelic.” Now that this ancient language’s survival is threatened, the point is all the more clamant. That authoritative view (from the acknowledged doyen Gaelic poet of recent history) deserves consideration. It is facile to ridicule Bax’s alter ego of Dermot O’Byrne, but Bax had the Irish Gaelic language. The volume under review reproduces the MS of his translation of Synge’s play, The Shadow of the Glen, into Bax’s Irish Gaelic. Synge did not write in Gaelic. Neither did Yeats. Bax did. He justified his nom de plume, Dermot O’Byrne.
Ronald Stevenson, International Piano Quarterly
…collected and published by loving hands … written by a phenomenally gifted musician (Bax’s) literary gifts were not insignificant … of appeal to devotees … the editorial notes are useful…
Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review

September 2001 saw the publication of the collected poems of Dermot O’Byrne (Sir Arnold Bax’s literary pseudonym) in the form of a substantial volume entitled IDEALA. This fascinating book, containing poems, love letters, music and other writings by those who knew him intimately, is edited and introduced by Bax’s first biographer, Colin Scott-Sutherland (Arnold Bax, Dent, 1973).

This sumptuous book contains 320 pages with nearly 90 illustrations, including an edition of The Princess’s Rose Garden, and is hard-bound and gold-blocked. Reviews have been numerous and very positive; the quotations shown at the head of this page are chosen at random, so click the Reload button to see others.


  Author Title
Dermot O’ByrneIDEALA
Love Letters and Poems of Arnold Bax
ISBN 0-9535125-3-3
# Author(s) Chapter
1Dermot O’Byrne
Edited by Colin Scott-Sutherland
3Poems in Red Notebook
4First (typed) Collection
5Letters to Isobel Hodgson
6‘Seafoam and Firelight’
7Letters to Mary Field
8Second (typed) Collection
9Harriet Cohen and ‘The Princess’s Rose Garden’
10Elsa Sobrino
11‘Verses’ – Third (typed) Collection
12‘Love Poems of a Musician’
13‘A Dublin Ballad and Other Poems’
14Memoir ‘The Two Brothers’ (Francis Colmer)
15Appendices 1–8
16Index of Poems
17General Index

Catalogue code: FM091Published: September 2001
Entry last updated: 21st July 2010