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The Music of Charles Villiers Stanford

​This ongoing project examines various aspects of the musical life of Irish born composer Charles Villiers Stanford. Developing from an initial focus on the piano music, which includes the development of critical editions and analysis leading to a PhD and publications, the project has broadened to examine gaps in the current scholarship of Stanford’s music and related musical trends and contexts including the reception of Stanford’s music in America, his operas and his use of Irish folk music in compositional practice. The researcher is a prominent member of the Stanford society, contributing to various public events in Ireland and abroad related to the composer, including festivals and performances of his work.

We are looking forward to the centenary of Stanford's death in 2024, when events will be held around the world. Adèle will be delivering a number of public lectures and presentations, and is part of the organising committee coordinating many of the events.

To date, publications include:

  • Commins, A. (2022) ‘The Irish Pipes in Charles Villiers Stanford’s Comic Opera Shamus O’Brien’, (1895), An Píobaire, Vol.18 no.2, pp.37–45.

  • Commins, A. (2020) “‘Double D[amn] those Huns’: The Impact of War on Charles Villiers Stanford and his Music’, Proceedings of 13th International Musicological Conference: The Great War 1914– 1918 and Music, Zagreb, Croatia, pp.315–334.

  • Commins, A. (2019) 'An Irish Opera on an American Stage’: Charles Villiers Stanford and his Music in America', How Popular Culture Travels: Cultural Exchanges between Ireland and the United States. Eds. Sylvie Mikowski and Yann Philippe. Reims: EPURE 2019

  • Commins, A. (2019) 'Challenging History's Memory: C.V. Stanford and the Feis Ceoil', Éire-Ireland: A Journal of the Irish American Cultural Institutes, Eds. Verena Commins and Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Vol.LIV 1-2, Spring/Summer 2019, 137-159.

  • Commins, A. (2012) ‘Charles Villiers Stanford’ in Vallely, F. ed. Companion to Irish Music.

  • Commins, A (2012) ‘In Stanford’s Hand: The Manuscript Collection of Charles Villiers Stanford at the Robinson Library, Newcastle University’, in: Hogg, K. ed. Brio. pp. 77–91.

  • Commins, A. (2012) ‘An Irishman in an English Musical Garden: Perceptions of Stanford's Piano Music’, in: Escot, P. ed. Sonus, Volume 33 no.1, pp. 51–67.

  • Commins, A. (2009) ‘Charles Villiers Stanford’s Experiences with and Contributions to the Solo Piano Repertoire’, in: Carty, B., O’Connell, P. and Strahan, B. eds. Maynooth Musicology, Volume 2, Maynooth, NUI Maynooth, pp.139–171.

  • Commins, A. (2008) ‘From Child Prodigy to Conservative Professor? Reception Issues of Charles Villiers Stanford’, in: Dignam B., Higgins P. and Parker L. eds. Maynooth Musicology, Volume 1, Maynooth, NUI Maynooth, pp. 28–58.

  • Commins, A. (2005) ‘Stanford, Rachmaninov, and a Tale of Two Concertos’, in: Murphy M. and Clarke O. eds. NUI Maynooth Postgraduate Research: Proceedings of the Colloquium 2005, Maynooth, NUI Maynooth, pp. 44–56.

  • Commins, A. (2004) ‘Parry and Stanford: Colleagues in Conflict’, in: Murphy M. and McHugh L. eds. NUI Maynooth Postgraduate Research: Proceedings of the Colloquium 2004, Maynooth, NUI Maynooth, pp. 44–54.

  • Commins, A. (2004) “’Too Thorough an Irishman [and] Lacks the Oceanic Depth of German Sentiment”: Stanford’s Assimilation of Contemporary European Trends in Piano Music’, in: Boydell, Barra ed. Proceedings of the 1st Annual Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, Maynooth, SMI & NUI Maynooth, pp. 104–117.

Conference Presentaitons and Guest Lectures

  • Commins, A. 2023. ‘Opera in Ireland Beyond the Pale: Finding and Examining Evidence of Performances of Stanford’s Shamus O’Brien’, Music for Stage and Screen: Celebrating SMI at 20, Jerome Hynes Theatre, National Opera House, Wexford.

  • Commins, A. 2022. “‘A Charming Picture of Irish Life”: The Transatlantic Reception of Shamus O'Brien’, Tenth Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association, Illinois State University.

  • Commins, A. 2022. ‘A Story of Ireland 100 Years Ago: Representations of Shamus O’Brien in the Press’, Society for Musicology in Ireland Conference, University College Cork.

  • Commins, A. 2022. ‘An Irish Opera on an English Stage: Performances of Stanford’s Shamus O’Brien at the Opera Comique’, The London Stage and the Nineteenth-Century World IV Conference, Oxford University.

  • Commins, A. 2022. ‘The Piper and Fr O’Flynn: Traditional Music in Stanford’s Comic Opera Shamus O’Brien’, International Council for Traditional Music Ireland Annual Conference, Dundalk Institute of Technology.

  • Commins, A. 2021. ‘A Charming Picture of Irish Life: Shining a Light on Performances of Shamus O’Brien’, Guest lecture of Stanford Society.

  • Commins, A. 2021. ‘Musical Borrowing as a Musical Offering in the Music of Charles Villiers Stanford, Guest Lecture to Northampton Bach Choir, Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir and Huntingdonshire Philharmonic.

  • Commins, A. 2021. ‘Understanding the Reception of Stanford’s Shamus O’Brien in Ireland, Creative Arts Research Centre Colloquium, Dundalk Institute of Technology.

  • Commins, A. 2021. ‘A Critical Friend: Finding Meaning in Charles Villiers Stanford’s Memoriam to Joseph Joachim’, 18th Annual Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, University College Dublin.

  • Commins, A. 2020. “‘Take Her Out and Air Her’: Stanford and Grainger’s Treatment of Source Material for Four Irish Dances,” Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs: Exploring Musical Resemblance Conference, London.

  • Commins, A. 2018. ‘Leaping Leprechauns and a Rollicking Reel: Stanford’s Four Irish Dances’, 16th Annual Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, Cork School of Music, Cork Institute of Technology.

  • Commins, A. 2018. ‘Public Resignation but a True Supporter: Stanford’s Relationship with the Dublin Feis Ceoil’, Éistigí Conference, Dundalk Institute of Technology.

  • Commins, A. 2018. ‘Challenging history’s memory: re-examining CV Stanford and the Feis Ceoil’, Nótaí/Notes and Music and Ireland Symposium, University of Galway.

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