Carl Gilbert Hardebeck

(10/12/1869 - 10/02/1945)

Carl Gilbert Hardebeck was a collector and arranger of traditional songs, teacher of music, and composer. Although he went blind very young, this London-born man became a collector and arranger of Irish traditional music, teacher of music and composer.

In 1893 he moved to Belfast, and eventually became an organ player who listened to folk song arrangements for the  first time. He subsequently moved to Cork, became a professor of Irish music before returning to Belfast and giving us The Red Hand of Ulster in 1900.

Although he came from a mixed English/German/Welsh background, he was seemingly radicalised by events in early twentieth Irish century history, becoming an Irish nationalist. He was quoted as saying “I believe in God, Beethoven and Patrick Pearse”. He studied the Irish language and collected folk songs from around the country.

Hardebeck went to Dublin in 1932 as arranger of Irish traditional songs for piano and choirs. He also taught Irish and traditional music in the Dublin Municipal School of Music for two years. On other occasions he was an adjudicator in singing and musical competitions across the country.

His arrangement for the orchestra of The Lark in the Clear Air was much admired. Among the many pieces he produced is Seoithín Seó for a medium-sized orchestra, which features a traditional lullaby and became his most popular work.

Despite his dedication to a life of preservation and promotion of Irish folk music, he was somewhat forgotten after his death on 10th February 1945. This didn’t happen in Walkinstown which has a Hardebeck Avenue and he is accompanied by other composers of note on nearby roads too.

Person Photo
Connection with area: Collector and arranger of traditional songs, teacher of music, and composer who Hardebeck Avenue is named after.