THE music of Edward Lear is to be brought back to life for the first time in almost 100 years by an academic at the University of St Andrews.

Edward Lear, who lived from 1812 to 1888, is best known as a 'nonsense' poet and author of The Owl and the Pussy-cat, but he was also a composer.

Dr Sara Lodge, from the University of St Andrews School of English, has recorded all the music that Lear wrote or re-worded, including many of the songs that he sang in public and musical settings of his nonsense poems that he knew and approved of in his lifetime.

The project marks the first time that all of Lear’s works have been recorded.

Many have not been heard for more than 100 years.

A series of six concerts of Lear’s words and music will take place, where Dr Lodge will be performing alongside pianist, David Owen Norris, and operatic tenor Mark Wilde.

The concert series begins in Scotland, at the Society of Musicians in Edinburgh on 9 March, and as part of StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival in St Andrews, on 10 March.

Dr Lodge said: "Lear’s music deserves to be much better known.

"His beautiful setting of Tennyson’s 'Tears, Idle Tears’ is very moving.

"It compares very well with settings of the same poem by Arthur Sullivan and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

"It’s also true that most of Lear’s nonsense poems are actually songs, which Lear would have sung to music he improvised at the piano."

She added: "Sadly, of his nonsense repertoire, we only have his music for The Pelican Chorus and The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, but we know that he sang The Owl and the Pussy-cat to his friends and many of his other works. "He invented musical characters like The Dong with a Luminous Nose and even musical-sounding plants like the Bong-tree and Stunnia Dinnerbellia."

Lear visited Scotland in 1841.

Some of his limerick characters come from Scottish destinations.

This include the ‘Young Person of Ayr/Whose head was remarkably square’, the ‘Old Person of Skye/ who waltz’d with a Bluebottle fly’; and the ‘Old Person of Fife/ who was greatly disgusted with life’.

The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh holds a collection of Lear’s work, with a cache of 37 watercolours.

Dr Lodge’s new book, Inventing Edward Lear, is an account of Lear’s relationship to the intellectual, social and cultural life of his times.