A song titled Ireland is the earliest extant work by Glanville-Hicks. In 1931 the Australian Musical News claimed it was a setting of Herrick, but the manuscript score reveals that the poem’s author was the Irish-born poet David McKee Wright. Taken from Wright’s “Dark Rosaleen” suite, it was published in An Irish Heart of 1918. The title refers to Wright’s own nostalgia for “my country”, having emigrated at the age of eighteen to New Zealand.
PGH had never shown any interest in early music until she met the wealthy Connecticut-born conductor, linguist and musicologist Newell Jenkins in 1953. He quickly became a close friend, who wrote amusingly quixotic letters referring to Virgil Thomson as “Voigil” and constantly sent her expressions of love and encouragement. In the summer of 1955 she visited Jenkins, living on the Via delle Coste in Fiesole, outside Florence. Among the colony of expatriate composers then living in Florence were Ned Rorem and David Diamond, but Jenkins was there for rehearsals and recordings with his chamber orchestra, Piccola Academia Musicale, managed by another American, Jack Murphy. After a brief stay in Fiesole in June PGH travelled to discuss her operas with publishing houses in Germany and then returned to Fiesole before accompanying Murphy and Jenkins on a visit to the island of Giglio, famous for its coves, caves, shipwrecks and sandy beaches.