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Soldiers at Peace

Ina Boyle (1889-1967) composer.

Marking the centenary of the Armistice, a composition by reclusive composer Ina Boyle will  be performed in London on 3 November 2018.

On 3 November a rare piece by Irish composer Ina Boyle (1891-1967) will be performed in London by Highgate Choral Society and the New London Orchestra, directed by Ronald Corp, to mark the centenary of the Armistice which ended World War I.

‘Soldiers at peace’ was composed in the summer of 1916, setting words from a sonnet by Herbert Asquith (second son of the British Prime Minister). The work for choir and orchestra has never been performed in its original scoring: it was included in a concert given by Bray Choral Society in February 1920, but on that occasion a full orchestra was not available: a band of amateur string players was assembled (bolstered by a few professionals), and the wind parts were played on the organ. Nevertheless Boyle described this event as “the happiest night of my life”, and the Irish Times reported that the work was enthusiastically received.

Vocal score  (TCD MS 4055a)

Boyle entered the work in the first competition for the publication of new musical compositions promoted by the Carnegie Trust in 1917. While it did not receive an award, the piece was commended by the judges and placed on a list of “works of special merit”.

After her death in 1967, Ina Boyle’s music manuscripts were donated to the Library of Trinity College Dublin. They constitute a substantial body of work: orchestral music (including three symphonies, a violin concerto and several works for cello and orchestra), choral music, chamber music, songs, an opera and ballet music – almost all of them unpublished and unperformed.

There has been strong interest in Boyle’s life and works in recent years, manifest in a biography by Ita Beausang and Seamas de Barra published earlier this year, as well as concert performances, broadcasts and recordings of some of her works.

Full score (TCD MS 4055)

The Library continues to collaborate with scholars, performers and promoters to facilitate these activities, particularly by digitising some of the manuscripts so that typeset performing editions can be produced.

Roy Stanley

Music Librarian


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