Ireland in Australia

As with the previous blog, this one maps performances of Concertino Pastorale. Remarkably, it made its way to Australia in 1947, part of the repertoire included in the Boyd Neel Orchestra’s extensive tour of Australia and New Zealand in the summer of that year. It was played first in Sydney, rapturously received, with the Threnody described as ‘eloquent’, the Finale offering the players ‘ample opportunity for brilliant execution, all done with verve and perfect style’ (Neville Cardus in the Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 1947, p. 7). At the time Frederick Grinke was the leader of the orchestra, this violinist having strong connections with Ireland’s music, having already recorded the First Violin Sonata. A further review was even more poetic, hearing the Concertino Pastorale as a ‘synthesis of rising and falling intensity from pure lyricism to dramatic suspense’ (Catholic Weekly, 1 May 1947, p. 8). The piece was also played in Melbourne’s Town Hall in June. It is perhaps hard now to imagine the cultural backdrop and audience expectations that led to a lyrical English work for string orchestra being received with such acclaim in Australia.


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