52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  


Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne




Buy through MusicWeb for £22.00 postage paid World Wide. Try it on Sale or Return
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

John IRELAND (1879-1962)
The Piano Music

CD 1 [56:09]
Decorations (The Island Spell; Moonglade; The Scarlet Ceremonies) (1912) [10:15]; The Almond Trees [3:33]; Four Preludes (The Undertone; Obsession; The Holy Boy; Fire of Spring) (1913-15) [11:03]; Prelude in E flat [5:14]; Rhapsody (1915) [7:50]; The Towing-Path [3:40]; Merry Andrew [3:02]; London Pieces (Chelsea Reach; Ragamuffin; Soho Forenoons) (1917-20) [11:32]
CD 2 [52:45]
Summer Evening (1919) [4:15]; Piano Sonata (1918-20) [24:05]; Two Pieces (For Remembrance, Amberley Wild Brooks) (1921) [7:01]; The Darkened Valley (1921) [3:42]; Equinox (1922) [2:22]; On a Birthday Morning (1922) [3:19]; Soliloquy (1925) [3:13]; Two Pieces (April, Bergomask) (1925) [7:48]
CD 3 [51:04]
Sonatina (1926-27) [9:50]; Ballade (1929) [9:26]; Two Pieces (February’s Child, Aubade) (1929, 1930) [7:52]; Month’s Mind (1933) [4:25]; Greenways: Three Lyric Pieces (The Cherry Trees; Cypress; The Palm and May) (1938) [8:01]; Sarnia – An Island Sequence (Le Catioroc; In a May Morning; Song of the Springtides) (1939-40) [20:30]
Eric Parkin (piano)
rec. January 1975, Kingsway Hall, London. ADD
3 CDs for the price of 2
First issued on LP as SRCS87-89 Ireland Piano Music Vols. 1-3
LYRITA SRCD.2277 [3 CDs: 56:09 + 52:45 + 51:04]

The piano was central to Ireland's creativity and in this set we hear one of the composer's prime interpreters, Eric Parkin, eliciting subtlety and poetry.

Decorations is a suite with the faery chiming of Island Spell, the Pierrot calm of Moonglade and the energy-flinging conflagration of Scarlet Ceremonies. The simplicity of The Holy Boy comes as a relief after the curdled tension of Undertone and Obsession. Prelude in E flat is a later work than the Four Preludes and its bell-slow progressions seem always to turn away from triumph. Both Rhapsody and Ballade have a defiant jaw-set and an aggression that, among his orchestral works, makes me think more of Mai-Dun than The Forgotten Rite. Merry Andrew, by contrast, is playful in the manner of similar pieces by Moeran and Bax. The London Pieces are character vignettes and Summer Evening, the first item on CD2, is less adventurous than the London Pieces. The Sonata is in three movements and is instinct with the vigour and the supernatural atmosphere of Chanctonbury Ring to which Ireland had been introduced by the composer Christopher a Becket Williams. This time the second and third movements do indeed reek of the strange bleached and misty poetry of The Forgotten Rite. The glum yet expectant carillon of the opening of the third movement is typical - a green invocation. Amberley Wild Brooks, a place not that far from Chanctonbury and Pulborough is a springtime delight of a tone poem. Equinox has some of the dynamism of Scarlet Ceremonies and The Fire of Spring. There are moments when it seems to look to the more demonstrative Rachmaninov Preludes. The Sonatina starts CD 3. Its central quasi lento is amongst the most bleak creations in British music. The outer movement, especially the finale with its splintery equinoctial showers and storms, provides a welcome contrast. Ballade and Legend for piano and orchestra are brothers under the skin. There is about these works a granitic hardness and a joy in bass sonority that is trance-like in its concentration; certainly so in Parkin's hands in the 1970s. February's Child is back to the blissful joy of Amberley and Merry Andrew. Month's Mind speaks of a longing or desire for the unattainable - for communion with the dead. Greenways starts with The Cherry Tree which links with Housman and continues through Shakespeare's sad Cypresses - a mood into which Ireland fell with little encouragement - potently expressive writing. The Palm and the May looks to celebration as evoked by Nash. Finally we come to the extended 20 minute suite, Sarnia. The first of the three pieces is Le Catioroc. This is music of Machen's long heavy silence. In a May Morning is not quite the sunlit romp that is Amberley Wild Brooks but through its evident calmness it shares the contented joy of that piece. Its marine Swinburnian swell and flight are joyously put across by Parkin.

John Lenehan (Naxos) and Daniel Adni (EMI) have all essayed Ireland discs but none of theirs are as consistently successful as this. I have not heard the Parkin remakes on Chandos (Chandos CHAN 9056 9140, 9250). It also remains to be seen how this Lyrita set will compare with the set to be issued later next year: the 1960s monos of Ireland by Alan Rowlands which include works such as Ballad of London Nights not offered in Parkin’s Lyrita set.

The masterly notes by Christopher Palmer combine factual precision with sensitive literary and biographical context.

Rob Barnett

Reviews of other Lyrita releases of John Ireland
SRCD.240 Ireland Tritons/The Forgotten Rite
SRCD.241 Ireland Legend/Overture Satyricon
SRCD.242 Boult conducts Bridge and Ireland
SRCD.2271 Ireland Chamber music
SRCD.2261 Ireland Songs

Ireland Trust website


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.