Author Topic: John Ireland (1879-1962)  (Read 21364 times)

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Offline Irons

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #120 on: February 15, 2022, 08:23:18 AM »
Well, he didn't really have any need to! He was perfectly talented at writing in most other forms, plus so many of his British colleagues were churning out symphonies like nobody's business anyways. ;)

Maybe he thought, and he has a point, they were getting a bit above themselves. It is a characteristic of his generation to be self-depreciating and dislike self-promotion.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Online Spotted Horses

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #121 on: February 15, 2022, 09:06:40 AM »
To my mind Ireland had a unique way of putting music together so that it has the seemingly contradictory characteristics of being free and rhapsodic, but still having a strong underlying structure. This is especially true of his chamber music. That is at odds with the formal structure of a symphony, with discrete movements which follow a traditional format. Even something like RVW's A London Symphony follows a fairly traditional four movement format, despite the fact that each of the movements verges on being a free fantasia. It seems to me that a "Symphony" does not line up with Ireland's artistic inclinations.

I take Ireland any day over someone like Stanford, who in my humble opinion, needs the scaffolding of a symphony to support his rather prosaic musical ideas.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2022, 11:38:01 AM by Spotted Horses »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #122 on: February 16, 2022, 01:43:46 AM »
To my mind Ireland had a unique way of putting music together so that it has the seemingly contradictory characteristics of being free and rhapsodic, but still having a strong underlying structure. This is especially true of his chamber music. That is at odds with the formal structure of a symphony, with discrete movements which follow a traditional format. Even something like RVW's A London Symphony follows a fairly traditional four movement format, despite the fact that each of the movements verges on being a free fantasia. It seems to me that a "Symphony" does not line up with Ireland's artistic inclinations.

I take Ireland any day over someone like Stanford, who in my humble opinion, needs the scaffolding of a symphony to support his rather prosaic musical ideas.
Very much agree with this.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #123 on: February 16, 2022, 03:18:35 PM »
I take Ireland any day over someone like Stanford, who in my humble opinion, needs the scaffolding of a symphony to support his rather prosaic musical ideas.

Whilst Ireland has a more distinctive voice than Stanford, the latter wrote interesting music besides symphonies: the Irish Rhapsodies, chamber music, concertos, choral works, etc. Old-fashioned and conservative? Yes, but there is also craftsmanship and nice ideas running throughout his output.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #124 on: August 02, 2022, 09:51:10 AM »
I have just finished listening to this CD: Ireland - A Downland Suite [Hickox]:





A Downland Suite: I find the opening movement to be lyrical, exciting, interesting, spirited and engaging. The second movement has much more gravitas and it is quite a substantial movement in terms of its musical content, its rich harmonic scoring and its general atmosphere. I find it is a very engaging piece of music. The Allegretto resumes the flavour and atmosphere of the opening movement. The music is lyrical and the scoring is robust. The final movement is a spirited and an animated Rondo. It is expansive but also suitably well driven.

Orchestral Poem: I like the lyrical, expansive yet somewhat yearning, wistful and even disconcerting tone and atmosphere of this work. I particularly like the orchestration as I find it to be very successful in expressing the correct mood of the work. Ireland makes good use of every section of the orchestra.

Concertino Pastorale: Having only heard it this one time I feel that I need to listen to this work again at a later stage. I felt that the music was somewhat episodic and disjointed in the opening movement. I did immediately like its lyrical tone however with those wonderful, disconcerting double basses rumbling in the undergrowth yielding a wonderful atmosphere. The slow movement, on the other hand, is a richly coherent work. It basically has the same tone and atmosphere as the opening movement but its scoring is richer and the atmosphere is much more pastoral due to the tempo. The final movement is a great contrast and it is a terrific affair. It is really driven very well and full of exuberance and excitement.

Two Symphonic Studies: I like the musical language in both of these Studies and the orchestration used to convey that musical language. The works are also filled with atmosphere, drama and tension which are, again, very well presented by the orchestration.


Overall I found Ireland’s musical language to have an interesting “voice”. I will certainly listen to more of his music in the future.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #125 on: August 02, 2022, 11:11:59 PM »
Another excellent review Fergus. I've been enjoying the new Chandos release of Ireland's orchestral music which my daughter gave me for my birthday. One review was very sniffy about 'Satyricon' but I rather liked it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline aligreto

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #126 on: August 04, 2022, 12:59:58 AM »
Another excellent review Fergus. I've been enjoying the new Chandos release of Ireland's orchestral music which my daughter gave me for my birthday. One review was very sniffy about 'Satyricon' but I rather liked it.

Cheers, Jeffrey. I have very little exposure to Ireland's music but, as mentioned above, I like what I hear and I will definitely come back for more.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #127 on: August 04, 2022, 01:32:31 AM »
Cheers, Jeffrey. I have very little exposure to Ireland's music but, as mentioned above, I like what I hear and I will definitely come back for more.
I've been enjoying 'Sarnia - an Island Sequence for Orchestra' (1940-41). Sarnia is apparently the Latin name for Guernsey, from where Ireland had to make a hasty departure (on one of the last boats) just before the Germans invaded. It was originally for piano and orchestrated later by Rodney Newton.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline aligreto

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #128 on: August 04, 2022, 02:22:18 AM »
I've been enjoying 'Sarnia - an Island Sequence for Orchestra' (1940-41). Sarnia is apparently the Latin name for Guernsey, from where Ireland had to make a hasty departure (on one of the last boats) just before the Germans invaded. It was originally for piano and orchestrated later by Rodney Newton.



Noted, Jeffrey. Thank you.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #129 on: August 04, 2022, 05:57:36 AM »
I've been enjoying 'Sarnia - an Island Sequence for Orchestra' (1940-41). Sarnia is apparently the Latin name for Guernsey, from where Ireland had to make a hasty departure (on one of the last boats) just before the Germans invaded. It was originally for piano and orchestrated later by Rodney Newton.


Sarnia is a Martin Yates orchestration.... on this disc Rodney Newton did the Moeran Overture for a Festival.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #130 on: August 04, 2022, 01:57:57 PM »
Sarnia is a Martin Yates orchestration.... on this disc Rodney Newton did the Moeran Overture for a Festival.
Oh, my mistake - thanks for the clarification.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #131 on: August 07, 2022, 06:56:01 PM »
I've seen quite a bit of discussion of Ireland on GMG recently, but hardly any mention of his two magnificent, substantial violin sonatas, which are full of passion, lyricism, and an occasional Irish folk influence (especially in the finales of both works). Lydia Mordkovitch and Ian Brown have recorded them as part of this excellent Chandos set:



I have problems with Mordkovitch's intonation in some other recordings of hers, but not so here - she's in top form. Any admirer of Ireland's music must hear these violin sonatas (and his Cello Sonata, too, for that matter)!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Ireland (1879-1962)
« Reply #132 on: August 07, 2022, 09:22:21 PM »
I've seen quite a bit of discussion of Ireland on GMG recently, but hardly any mention of his two magnificent, substantial violin sonatas, which are full of passion, lyricism, and an occasional Irish folk influence (especially in the finales of both works). Lydia Mordkovitch and Ian Brown have recorded them as part of this excellent Chandos set:



I have problems with Mordkovitch's intonation in some other recordings of hers, but not so here - she's in top form. Any admirer of Ireland's music must hear these violin sonatas (and his Cello Sonata, too, for that matter)!
Must investigate!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).