This valuable two-disc collection from Chandos usefully fills several gaps in the current John Ireland discography. Especially welcome here is the red-blooded rendering of the superb Second Violin Sonata. Premiered in 1917 to enormous acclaim by Albert Sammons and William Murdoch, the sonata secured the composer's reputation virtually overnight, not surprisingly, given its striking confidence, powerful sweep and wealth of memorable ideas. The passionate opening Allegro is especially compelling, its dark-hued turbulence grippingly conveyed by the present team of Lydia Mordkovitch and Ian Brown. The elegiac slow movement is no less eloquent, boasting a radiant secondary melody of touching sweetness. If the energetic finale is perhaps quiteRead more not on the exalted level of the remainder, the work as a whole is surely one of Ireland's very best. The First Violin Sonata of 1909 is another enjoyable piece, comprising an ambitious, finely sustained first movement, a tenderly lyrical central Romance, followed by an exuberant Rondo finale. With its whiffs of Grieg, Faure and Ravel, it is a most appealing, youthful essay. The first disc concludes with the marvellous FantasySonata for clarinet and piano of 1943. Gervase de Peyer and Gwenneth Pryor give a commendable display, but theirs is neither as engagingly communicative nor as effortlessly poised a realization as that of Emma Johnson and Malcolm Martineau.
The second disc opens with a compelling performance from Karine Georgian and Ian Brown of the fine Cello Sonata of 1923. These admirable artists capture well this music's wistful, brooding atmosphere and are especially sensitive in the slow movement, a haunting evocation inspired by the landscape of the composer's beloved Sussex Downs. After a sympathetic account of that popular miniature, The Holy Boy (given in its 1919 guise for cello and piano), Mordkovitch teams up with Georgian and Brown to lavish immensely spirited, utterly dedicated advocacy on the three piano trios. The early single-movement Phantasie Trio (No. 1) gained second prize in the 1907 Cobbett Music Competition (Frank Bridge's C minor Trio was the overall winner). A most likeable piece it proves to be, too: fluent, resourceful and btimming with self-confidence. By contrast, the Second Trio of 1917 (again in one movement) inhabits a far more troubled world. The appalling carnage of the First World War deeply distressed Ireland and it is surely not too fanciful to hear the relentless march of troops in the grim tread of the Allegro giusto section some 3'23" in. Like the Second 'Violin Sonata (completed the same year), here is a bittersweet creation, crammed full of first-rate invention. Dating from 1938 and bearing a dedication to William Walton, the Third Trio actually began life in 1913 as a trio for clarinet, violin and piano. Relaxed in manner and beautifully conceived for the medium, its four movements contain some of Ireland's most felicitous inspiration, not least the mischievous, skipping Scherzo and the lyrical Andante cantabile slow movement. These whole-hearted, affectionate performances receive characteristically ripe, realistic Chandos engineering. A very rewarding set.
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor: I. Allegro leggiadro
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor: II. Romance: In tempo sostenuto, quasi adagio
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor: III. Rondo: Allegro sciolto assai
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A minor: I. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A minor: II. Poco lento quasi adagio
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A minor: III. In tempo moderato
Cello Sonata in G minor: I. Moderato e sostenuto
Cello Sonata in G minor: II. Poco largamente
Cello Sonata in G minor: III. Con moto e marcato
4 Preludes (arr. for cello and piano): 4 Preludes: No. 3. The Holy Boy (arr. for cello and piano)
Phantasie-Trio in A minor: Phantasie-Trio
Piano Trio No. 2 in E major: Piano Trio No. 2
Piano Trio No. 3 in E major-minor: I. Allegro moderato
Piano Trio No. 3 in E major-minor: II. Scherzo: Vivace
Piano Trio No. 3 in E major-minor: III. Andante cantabile - Pochissimo piu moto - Quasi tempo
Piano Trio No. 3 in E major-minor: IV. Finale: Con moto
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
wonderful musicAugust 1, 2013By William Schneider (yaphank, NY)See All My Reviews"This composer is new to me and is a joy.The music and quality of this disc are first rate and a steal at this sale price.The music is warm and appealing as well as interesting.I would recommend this to those who like the romantic era as well as those who enjoy piano music.Most enjoyable."Report Abuse
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