"No Encores" The Royal Dublin Society Concert Archive Recitals in Retrospect: 1925-50

Triona O'Hanlon

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    A large archive of sources for the RDS classical music recitals is extant in the Society’s Library, Ballsbridge, Dublin. The recitals were established in 1886 for the promotion of chamber music and in order to expose Dublin audiences to the works of the great composers. Extant in the collection are minute books; autographed programmes; newspaper cuttings which include previews, reviews and advertisements; correspondences with artists and agents; promotional material; selections of photographs; records of attendance, artists fees and takings; and volumes of printed music.
    This paper will document the organisation, management and occurrence of the RDS classical music recitals for the period 1925 to 1950 and will encompass the opening of the current concert hall (The Members’ Hall, 1925), the Society’s bi-centenary celebrations (1931) and the continuance of the recitals within the context of the Second World War (1939- 45). The paper will examine and analyse the following: networks, repertoire and reception.
    The RDS music committee established significant links with many performers and UK-based classical music agents. Recitalists include musicians of international renown; Myra Hess, Isolde Menges, Lili Kraus, Joseph Szigeti, Leon Goossens, Sir Hamilton Harty and The Hallé Orchestra, The Catterall Quartet and many local, Dublin-based musicians; Raidió Éireann Orchestra, Dublin String Orchestra, Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra and Culwick Choral Society. The compromises and collaborations in evidence between the music committee, agents and performers resulted in the presentation of varied and well-balanced programmes featuring sonatas, quartets, trios, concerti, overtures, symphonies and songs by composers including Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Brahms. Works by contemporary composers including Bax, Dohnanyi, Szymanowski and Suk were also regularly performed, as were works with an Irish influence or flavour. Audiences mainly consisted of members of the Society, music students were encouraged to attend at a reduced rate and reviews were regularly published in the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-29
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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