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John Ireland: Orchestral Songs And Miniatures

Ireland / Williams / Bbc Concert Orch / Yates
Release Date: 05/11/2010 
Label:  Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog #: 7246   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Andrew TranchellHerbert MurrillWalter CollinsLionel Sainsbury,   ... 
Performer:  Roderick WilliamsCharles Mutter
Conductor:  John WilsonGavin SutherlandPaul MurphyMartin Yates
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IRELAND The Towing Path 1. Berceuse 2. Soliloquy 1. Annabel Lee 3. The Holy Boy. 4 In Praise of Neptune. 5 Here’s to the Ships. 5 Psalm 23 6 & Read more 1,2,3,5,9 Martin Yates, 4 Gavin Sutherland, 7 John Wilson, 8 Paul Murphy, cond; Roderick Williams ( 3 Narr/ 5,6,9 bar); 2 Charles Mutter (vn); 1,2,3,5,7,9 BBC Concert O; 4,8 Royal Ballet Sinf DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7246 (77:33)


k TRANCHELL Festive Overture 7. MURRILL Country Dances 4. COLLINS Prelude to Ecstasy 7. SAINSBURY Allegro risoluto 8. ELGAR Follow the Colours. 9 A War Song 9. PEHKONEN Sunset and Evening Star 4


Although John Ireland is the featured composer here, his music is preceded by the works by Tranchell et al . The music of Peter Tranchell (1922–93) is little known. He was director of musical studies at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, for nearly 30 years. His Festive Overture of 1966, commissioned by the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra, was written as a light opener for a concert, and certainly fulfills its remit. It is expertly crafted, frequently delightful, beautifully and often wittily scored and heard in a performance here by the BBC Concert Orchestra that positively drips affection and devotion. For a piece that lasts a mere 11 minutes, it packs in a remarkable variety of emotions. A Web site dedicated to Tranchell (patranchell.info) makes mention of a memorial CD that the interested could follow up on (I have not heard it).


From Cambridge, to Oxford for music by Worcester College’s organ scholar Herbert Murrill (1909–52). His 1945 set of eight Country Dances is decidedly undemanding fare. Murrill died at the tender age of 43. It is good to have this set. Each movement has its own title. The second movement, “Hunsdon House,” is particularly memorable and is exquisitely played here by the Royal Ballet Sinfonietta under Gavin Sutherland. The Prelude to Ecstasy (1948), by Walter Collins (1892–1956), is pure light music of the most enjoyable kind. Decidedly easy on the ear and absolutely of its time, it also reflects in its language the fact that Collins produced various film scores.


The Allegro risoluto (1985) by Lionel Sainsbury (b.1958) is more acid in its musical language and is given a nicely pointed performance here by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, this time under Paul Murphy. The sound of Elgar is unmistakable in the marching song Follow the Colours , composed in 1907. Roderick Williams has a superbly focused yet warm voice that seems perfectly suited here, as it is in the poignant A War Song.


Elis Pehkonen’s Web site (elispehkonen.com) describes him as “the English composer with the Finnish name.” His father was born in Karelia. Elis studied with Britten and, at the RCM, with Peter Racine Fricker. Sunset and Evening Star (the title is from Tennyson’s poem Crossing the Bar ) is a gorgeous piece for string orchestra, composed in 2004. Pastoral English through and through, it works smoothly toward the radiance of its close.


The disc ends with eight pieces by Ireland. The Holy Boy will surely be familiar to many, but the rest are world premiere recordings. The short (3:46) tone poem The Towing Path , originally a piano piece published in 1919, has been orchestrated by Martin Yates (who conducts here). Yates took his metronome marking from a recording of the piano piece by Eric Parkin. This performance is beautifully, affectionately phrased; the close positively glows in an Ireland twilight. The Soliloquy is, again, from a piano original and features a solo violin (here Charles Mutter).


The melodrama (spoken recitation against music) is represented by Annabel Lee, a 1910 piece orchestrated in 2009 by the present reciter, Roderick Williams. The booklet notes list previous English settings of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem by Balfe, Swinnerton Heap, and Somervell (and one that postdates it, by Holbrooke). It is a most poignant setting, with words beautifully articulated by Williams. The ensuing Berceuse for violin and orchestra from a 1903 piece for violin and piano finds Charles Mutter in fine form. His phrasing seems perfectly suited to Ireland’s expression, his tone is rich and expressive; the gossamer textures of The Holy Boy (1913, heard here in the 1941 orchestration) seem the perfect follow-on.


The final three Ireland items all feature Roderick Williams. He appears in heroic mode for In Praise of Neptune (originally a unison song from 1911, then appearing in a version for chorus and orchestra; the present performance effectively amalgamates the two, resulting in a version for solo voice and orchestra). Williams again finds the tone of the song faultlessly (it is a most catchy little ditty), as he does for the catchy Here’s to the Ships . The solo-voice Psalm 23 (1958) was referred to by the composer, apparently, as “only inflected speech.” Actually, it carries remarkable force, especially heard after the orchestra-drenched preceding items, and makes for a poignant close to this remarkable disc.


One thought that struck me is that I could be forever trusting of Dutton’s explorations. Never once have I seen a Dutton release of this ilk that is disappointing. All have works that move between interesting and discovery. Long may this continue.


Song texts for the present release may be downloaded from duttonvocalion.co.uk.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1.
Festive Overture, for orchestra by Peter Andrew Tranchell
Conductor:  John Wilson
Period: Modern 
Written: 1966 
Date of Recording: 07/14/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 11 Minutes 21 Secs. 
2.
Country Dances, for orchestra by Herbert Murrill
Conductor:  Gavin Sutherland
Period: Modern 
Written: 1945 
Date of Recording: 03/18/2008 
Venue:  Angel Studios, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 32 Secs. 
3.
Prelude to Ecstasy, for orchestra by Walter Collins
Conductor:  John Wilson
Period: Modern 
Written: 1948 
Date of Recording: 09/29/2005 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4.
Allegro risoluto, for string orchestra, Op. 10 by Lionel Sainsbury
Conductor:  Paul Murphy
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1985 
Date of Recording: 12/21/2005 
Venue:  Angel Studios, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
5.
Follow the colours by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Roderick Williams ()
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
Date of Recording: 10/06/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6.
A War Song, Op. 5 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Roderick Williams ()
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 10/07/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 4 Minutes 17 Secs. 
7.
Sunset and Evening Star, for orchestra by Elis Pehkonen
Conductor:  Gavin Sutherland
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2004 
Date of Recording: 07/09/2007 
Venue:  Angel Studios, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 36 Secs. 
8.
The Towing Path, for piano by John Ireland
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Modern 
Written: 1918 
Date of Recording: 10/06/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
9.
Soliloquy, for piano by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Mutter (Violin)
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Modern 
Written: 1922 
Date of Recording: 11/10/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
10.
Annabel Lee, recitation for voice & piano by John Ireland
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Modern 
Written: circa 1910 
Date of Recording: 10/07/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
11.
Berceuse, for violin & piano by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Mutter (Violin)
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Modern 
Written: 1902 
Date of Recording: 11/10/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
12.
The Holy Boy, version for string orchestra or string quartet by John Ireland
Conductor:  Gavin Sutherland
Period: Modern 
Written: 1941 
Date of Recording: 03/18/2008 
Venue:  Angel Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
13.
In praise of Neptune, for unison voices & piano by John Ireland
Performer:  Roderick Williams ()
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Modern 
Written: 1911 
Date of Recording: 10/07/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
14.
Here's to the ships!, for voice & piano by John Ireland
Performer:  Roderick Williams ()
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Period: Modern 
Written: 1912 
Date of Recording: 10/07/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
15.
Psalm 23, baritone solo by John Ireland
Performer:  Roderick Williams ()
Period: Modern 
Written: 1958 
Date of Recording: 10/07/2009 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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