Second Violin Sonata in Birmingham

Ireland’s Second Violin Sonata was a work much performed by many different soloists. In 1922 Ireland’s it was taken to Birmingham by Paul Beard and Michael Mullinar. The latter is perhaps best known for his associations with Vaughan Williams, as discussed here. Beard was originally born in Birmingham and in 1922 was back in the city as leader of the CBSO, staying there for the next ten years. After that he led first the LPO, then the BBCSO.


Singing Ireland

A number of singers are well known for their close associations with Ireland’s music, among them Gervase Elwes and George Parker, and later Peter Pears. Another to have performed his music was the contralto Muriel Foster, one of the composer’s former fellow students at the RCM and already well-known for her associations with Elgar. In June 1917, for example, Ireland gave a  concert of his works at the Wigmore Hall. As part of the programme, the Second Violin Sonata was reprised following its recent enthusiastic reception, and Miss Foster performed a number of Ireland’s songs to that date.



Second Violin Sonata in Nottingham in 1952

In 1952 Frederick Grinke once again played Ireland’s Second Violin Sonata, this time in the YWCA Hall in Nottingham, with Kendall Taylor at the piano. The two other works in the programme were Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata and Brahms’s Sonata in G major. A review of this concert, shown below, particularly liked Grinke’s unassuming manner and ‘delicate’ technique.


On this day: 30 January 1918 and 1948

On this day in 1948 Ireland played the piano in a performance of his First Violin Sonata with Frederick Grinke the violinist.

30 January 1948

Thirty years earlier on the same date in 1918, Albert Sammons and William Murdoch gave a recital in Cambridge’s Guildhall as part of CUMS. The duo, both in their wartime khaki, played Ireland’s Second Violin Sonata, while Murdoch included ‘The Island Spell’ within a collection of pieces for solo piano.

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.

Ireland and Frederick Grinke

The eminent violinist Frederick Grinke, who started his career as a member of the Kutcher Quartet (seen far right above), played an important part in the  dissemination of Ireland’s music. This is an extensive and fascinating connection, and something I am exploring at the moment. Grinke’s contribution to performances of the composer’s music came from a number of directions – as leader of the Boyd Neel Orchestra, as a member of the Grinke Trio alongside Florence Hooton (cello) and Dorothy Manley (piano), and as a duo partner, again with Manley. With the latter he gave a number of performances of Ireland’s violin sonatas, one example shown below and reviewed as the ‘Recital of the Week’.

Grinke 1

Source: Times, 12 October 1934, p. 12.