Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ina Boyle – a rediscovered Irish composer

Ina Boyle (1889-1967) lived all her life in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. She was a major Irish composer of the early 20th century, yet she has been almost completely forgotten. She is the only woman composer included in the Carnegie Collection of British Music.  She studied with Vaughan Williams, but she often had to struggle to get her music performed or published. She lived out her final years alone in the large house in Enniskerry, an increasingly eccentric figure, still determined to follow the path she had chosen as a composer.
Her recently-discovered violin concerto (1935) is redolent of Vaughan Williams, but a work of haunting power and poetry. It gets an utterly magical performance from the young violinist Catherine Leonard, with the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Montgomery. Alas, as is often the case, it is the Ulster Orchestra that champions Irish classical music (their recordings of Stanford under the baton of Tod Hanley put his symphonies on the map in the 90s). 


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