William Baines and Ireland

William Baines’s music reflects a sensibility to place similar to that of Ireland. It is therefore fascinating to find a programme of a recital given by Baines on 26 March 1919 in the School Assembly Hall, Horbury for the Primitive Methodist Church. In this concert Baines performed his own music, as well as pieces by Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, Arensky and Scriabin. He also chose to play a selection of miniatures by British composers, including Bridge and Cyril Scott. Nestled between Baines and Scott was Ireland’s ‘The island spell’, finding its way to North Yorkshire. Baines’s diary of 1920 also shows that he was acquainted with Ireland’s recent Piano Sonata, though Baines writes of preferring Cyril Scott’s new sonata (diary, 12 September 1920). A few years later, on 11 February 1922, not long before his premature death at the age of only 23, Baines was again performing Ireland, this time the Second Violin Sonata with Henry Dunstone in the Tempest Anderson Hall, York. A week earlier Baines had  delivered a talk to the British Music Society on the sonatas of Elgar and Ireland.


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