John Field Seán Ó Riada Carolan Joan Trimble
- Irish Composers from Carolan to Field to Ó Riada – an Introductory Talk This was the lecture given by Seoirse at the Utrecht University Symposium “Iers Heden Keltisch Verleden” in 2001.The Dutch audience was astonished at the high quality of the music excerpts presented to them on high-quality commercial CDs. Many felt that the lack of international recognition for these Irish composers was unaccountable and one of the delegates said that it was shameful that no-one before this had drawn attention to Ireland’s great achievements in the field of classical music while Irish literature was celebrated all over the world.
Apart from the well-known composers depicted above, Seoirse’s talk includes equally important women composers like Joan Trimble, Elizabeth Maconchy and Ina Boyle all of whose music is now available on CD.
The success of this talk was the foundation stone for Seoirse’s book “Sunlight & Shadow – A Listener’s Guide to Irish Classical Music” published in 2016.
She lived all her life at Bushey Park near Enniskerry, and she seldom left it save for brief periodic visits to London. Ina Boyle showed an early inclination for music: she had violin and then cello lessons, though she had no natural facility as a performer on any instrument. She studied harmony, counterpoint and later composition with Dr Hewson and Dr Kitson in Dublin, and by correspondence with Charles Wood who was a cousin.
An early work of hers, written in 1916 (when she was 24), ‘Soldiers at Peace’ for Chorus and Orchestra was performed with amateur forces at a concert at Woodbrooke in 1920. She recorded afterwards “it was a great success. This was the happiest evening of my life.”
Not long after, an orchestral work ‘The Magic Harp’ received a Carnegie award and was published and performed in London and elsewhere. Another award followed and some part-songs and short choral works were published in London. She also wrote three symphonies one of which – Symphony No. 1 “Glencree” – has just been released on CD. Her hauntingly beautiful Violin Concerto of 1935 is, unfortunately, not as yet (2019) available on CD but can be heard on YouTube.