Kathleen Mo Mhuirnín ("Kathleen Mavourneen" or My
Beloved Kathleen) is a song, written in 1837, composed
by Frederick Crouch with lyrics by Marion Crawford. It
was popular during the American Civil War. "Mavourneen"
is a term of endearment derived from the Irish Gaelic
mo mhuirnín, meaning "my beloved."
The Irish soprano Catherine Hayes (1818–1861), the
Hibernian prima donna, was the first Irish woman to
sing at La Scala in Milan. She learned Kathleen
Mavourneen while training in Dublin. It became her
signature tune during concerts and in fact, Catherine
Hayes sang it for Queen Victoria and over 500 royal
guests during a concert performed at Buckingham Palace
in June 1849.
During several very successful years in Italy,
Catherine Hayes became the foremost Lucia di Lammermoor
in the 1840s. She toured around the world between 1851
and 1856. She circumnagivated the globe, performing in
operas and singing concerts. The trip began in New York
in 1851 and over the next few years, she appeared in
over 40 other cities on the east coast of the USA and
Canada. From there she toured extensively across the US
- Charleston SC, Savannah GA, New Orleans and Baton
Rouge LA, Memphis and Nashville TN, San Francisco and
Sacramento CA, (1851–53) Lima (Peru), Valparaiso and
Santiago (Chili)(1853–54), Honolulu Hawaii (July 1854),
Sydney, Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide
(Australia)(1854 and again in 1855), Bendigo, Hobart
(Tasmania 1856), Calcutta, Singapore, Java (1855).
The song Kathleen Mavourneen gained popularity with
American audiences as a direct result of the extensive
touring of Catherine Hayes.
The song plays a prominent role in Michael Shaara's
Civil War historical novel The Killer Angels and its
film adaptation Gettysburg. It is recalled by
Confederate Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead that
the song was sung at a dinner at the home of
Armistead's best friend, now Union Major General
Winfield Scott Hancock and his wife Almira, at the U.S.
Army garrison in Los Angeles, California in 1861 (at
which time Armistead was a major and Hancock was a
captain). This was the night before Armistead and
several other Southern officers were to depart for the
Confederacy, having resigned their US Army commissions.
Armistead and Confederate Brigadier General Richard B.
Garnett, who was also present at the dinner, are killed
and Hancock is severely wounded as Armistead's and
Garnett's brigades assault the position defended by
Hancock's II Corps on Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg
during Pickett's Charge. In the film, "Kathleen
Mavourneen" is sung once by an Irish tenor at the
Confederate camp, and thereafter is used frequently as
a theme in the music score by Randy Edelman.
Although this work was originally written for Folk
Instruments, I created this arrangement for Flute, Oboe
& Concert (Pedal) Harp.