The Celtic Twilight as Reflected in the Two-Piano Works of Joan Trimble (1915-2000)
McCarroll, Lisa Maria 1982-
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The nineteenth-century Celtic Twilight movement was named after a collection of folklore by W.B. Yeats, a work that was inspired by Ireland’s native folklore and contained themes of twilight, nature, and the supernatural, mainly that of the “fairy faith” from old Pagan Ireland. The movement, which was created by the Anglo-Irish ruling classes as a method of maintaining their elite status in Ireland, initially began as a literary movement, but eventually branched out into other areas of Irish culture and society, such as sport, art, and music. Present generations are indebted to the Anglo-Irish for what is generally considered as Irish nationalistic culture. This ideology is relatively unknown by young Northern-Irish musicians today. The Celtic Twilight movement formed the backdrop to Northern-Irish composer, Joan Trimble’s life, career, and music. Although Trimble’s compositional catalogue is diverse, the composer’s most characteristic works can be found in her two-piano compositions which succeed in capturing the essence and atmosphere and foot-tapping exuberance of the Celtic Twilight. Therefore, this research has resulted in the first D.M.A document to deal with the connection between Ireland’s nineteenth-century cultural history and Trimble’s life and two-piano works. In order to contextualize Trimble’s life and achievements, chapter one presents an investigation of the Anglo-Irish culture and the Celtic Twilight movement. Several undocumented primary sources, including radio interviews and rare recordings, help to provide insight into Trimble’s life in her native town of Enniskillen, and her experiences in London as a student and professional musician. Strong influences of the Celtic Twilight movement in Trimble’s life and career is evident from these extremely valuable sources and hence is the topic of chapter two. An overview of her complete two-piano works (published and unpublished) in the third chapter explores the Celtic characteristics found in each work within the subtext of Goltrai, Suantrai, and Geantrai—the three compositional genres found in Irish traditional music. This study therefore attempts to provide a comprehensive, referential document in relation to Trimble and her two-piano works in the hopes of shedding light on one of Ireland’s greatest musical ambassadors.