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Ireland: My Song Is Love Unknown / Prentice, Lincoln Cathedral Choir

Ireland / Lincoln Cathedral Choir / Prentice
Release Date: 12/18/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573014   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IRELAND Te Deum in F. Benedictus in F. Communion Service in C. My song is love unknown. Elegiac Service. Evening Service in C. Christ the Lord is risen today. Adam lay ybounden. New Prince, New Pomp. The Holy Boy. A New Year Carol. Greater love hath no man. I am trusting. Ex ore innocentium. Capriccio. Island Praise. Evening Service in F Aric Prentice, cond; Lincoln Cathedral Ch; Charles Harrison (org) NAXOS 8.573014 (77:05 Text and Translation)

Read more /> The booklet and the insert give no hint, but the CD-text title names this “Volume One” of John Ireland’s sacred choral music. I hope it is so, for while the composer’s orchestral and piano music has been reasonably well explored, as have many of his songs, discs devoted to his choral music are a rare commodity. Aside from a Chandos disc by Richard Hickox—containing two large scale works for chorus and orchestra, plus the anthem Greater love hath no man —what has been available are individual items spread among anthologies of hymns and service music. This release offers an opportunity to hear a wider range of the composer’s sacred choral music, all of it written with gentle directness of expression and consummate skill to the practical requirements of its use in worship services.


The included works span the entirety of the composer’s composing career. They include the earliest and most recorded of his service music, the 1907 Te Deum in F, along with the 1914–15 companion Benedictus in F and Evening Service in F , written while very much under the influence of Charles Villiers Stanford. Less often heard is his 1913 Communion Service in C , notable for the resourceful use of limited choral and organ resources, and its companion evensong music written in 1941 in surprisingly consistent style, despite stylistic changes elsewhere under the influence of the Impressionists and Stravinsky. One of his best-known hymns, My song is love unknown (1918), is here, as is Greater love hath no man (1912) which became the mainstay of memorial services after World War I. The children’s anthem, Ex ore innocentium (1944), is sung with affecting simplicity by the younger singers, and the sailors’ anthem-turned-hymn Island Praise (1915/55) by the men with faultless blend and precision. There are, as well, four heartwarming carols, Adam lay ybounden; New Prince, New Pomp; The Holy Boy ; and A New Year Carol , written between 1927 and 1956, two additional hymns and two organ solos: a most satisfying program that leaves one wondering why it took so long to bring such a collection together.


Lest I appear uncritical, I will say that Aric Prentice’s tendency to press ahead can result in readings more proficient than inspired. Where there are alternate recordings, these are almost always the quickest, and though that says little about quality, there are times when I wish that Prentice would linger a bit over a pivotal word or a telling transition. That said, no one will accuse him of trying to wring uncharacteristic sentiment from these works. The Lincoln Cathedral Choir is a fairly large one, if they are all singing at once, with 40 trebles/sopranos—20 boys and 20 girls—who in this recording occasionally overbalance the adult lay vicars and choral scholars. The sound is otherwise robust, well blended, and pleasant of tone: the trebles only rarely getting a bit raw on top. It is not clear if the boys’ and men’s choir, normally directed by Charles Harrison, is joined by the girls’ chorus, usually directed by Aric Prentice, for all of the works. I suppose it does not matter. The solos are well taken, each by a different member of the choir. Harrison makes easy work of the Elegiac Romance and Capriccio , the two organ solos, and accompanies attentively in all but the four carols and Island Praise. The lovely, essentially unmodified 1898 Father Willis organ is well caught from a medium distance. My few minor reservations aside, this is a most welcome issue, offering the only recordings currently available of several of the works. There is more to explore, and I hope that Naxos will make good on the implied promise of a second volume. Encourage them with a purchase.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1.
Te Deum laudamus in F major by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907 
2.
Preludes (4) for Piano: no 3, The Holy Boy by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
3.
My Song Is Love Unknown by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
4.
Greater love hath no man by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; England 
5.
Ex ore innocentium by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
6.
Elegaic Romance for Organ by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902; England 
7.
Communion Service in C major by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913/1941 
8.
Capriccio for Organ by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
9.
Benedictus in F major by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
10.
A New Year carol, for chorus by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: Modern 
Written: 1941 
11.
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in C major by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
12.
Christ the Lord is risen today "Sampford" by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
13.
Adam lay ybounden by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: Modern 
Written: 1956 
14.
New Prince, New Pomp by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
Period: Modern 
Written: 1927 
15.
Eastergate by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
16.
Island Praise by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir
17.
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in F major by John Ireland
Performer:  Charles Harrison (Organ)
Conductor:  Aric Prentice
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lincoln Cathedral Choir

Sound Samples

Te Deum in F major
Benedictus in F major
Communion Service in C major: Kyrie
Communion Service in C major: Credo
Communion Service in C major: Sanctus
Communion Service in C major: Benedictus qui venit
Communion Service in C major: Agnus Dei
Communion Service in C major: Pater noster
Communion Service in C major: Gloria in excelsis
My song is love unknown
Elegiac Romance
Evening Service in C major: Magnificat
Evening Service in C major: Nunc dimittis
Christ the Lord is risen today, "Sampford"
Adam lay ybounden
New Prince, New Pomp
4 Preludes: No. 3. The Holy Boy (version for chorus)
A New Year Carol
Greater love hath no man
Eastergate
Ex ore innocentium
Capriccio
Island Praise
Evening Service in F major: Magnificat
Evening Service in F major: Nunc dimittis

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Uplifting and elegant. January 16, 2013 By Joseph  Erdeljac (West Chester, PA) See All My Reviews "John Ireland is another great composer who is not recorded often enough. This sampling of his religious output is a wonderful addition to any music library. The Lincoln Cathedral Choir performs each and every selection well bringing out all the emotions, respect, joy and grief in each varied composition." Report Abuse
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