Intimate settings

I’ve already mentioned that Evelyn Howard-Jones played alongside Beatrice Harrison in a performance of Ireland’s Cello Sonata in 1925. He was also the pianist in the first performance of the work. Although this is generally recorded as having taken place in the Aeolian Hall on 4 April 1924 (see Craggs, 1993), there was in fact an earlier rendition,  in January 1924. This was in an intimate setting:

‘Nothing could attune a musician’s mind more ideally to chamber music than a walk through the Westminster Abbey cloisters to  St John’s Institute, where in a quaintly puritanical room the Music Society holds its periodical concerts. You drop in at tea-time, sit in a deck chair, smoke if you will – in short, you listen to chamber music as it should always be listened to’ (Manchester Guardian, 23 Jan 1924, p. 13).

The Lutyens-designed building was on Tufton Street, Westminster, and its music society held concerts from around 1921 to 1939. Now ‘Faith House’, the institute was a perfect, small venue ideally suited to chamber works such as that of Ireland, whose feelings as expressed in the Cello Sonata were enwrapped ‘in a beautiful summer afternoon atmosphere which is infinitely refreshing in its open-air clarity’ (review as above):