John Ireland - Chamber Music - Sextet, Trios, Sonatas

Yfrah Neaman, violin
Julian Lloyd Webber, cello
Eric Parkin, piano
Melos Ensemble
André Navarra, cello
Gervase de Peyer, clarinet

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2007 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: SRCD.2271
UPC/EAN: 5020926227126
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD
Number of discs: 3
Total playing time: 2 hours 59 mins
Price: £ 29.99 (+ postage & packing)

CD 1: Recorded at Smith Square, 28 - 30 July 1976, Producer: James Walker, Engineers: James Lock, Simon Eadon
CD 2 Tracks 1 - 4, 8: Recorded at Decca No. 3, 24, 25 June 1971, Producer: Richard Itter, Engineer: Arthur Lilley
CD 2 Tracks 5 - 7: Recorded at Decca No. 3, October 1971, Engineer: Colin Moorfoot
CD 3: Recorded at Smith Square, 21, 23 June 1972, Producer: James Walker, Engineer: Stanley Goodall

In a letter to Sir Henry Wood, John Ireland once described himself as "England's most laborious composer." More likely than not this was a typical Ireland exaggeration, and yet there is no denying the fact that, compared to some of his contemporaries, his output is relatively small. If we include the two early string quartets which were published posthumously, the youthful sextet (which he did not release until 1960) and the four duo sonatas, then there are just ten chamber works in his catalogue. Always conscious of what he called the irrevocability of publication, he was known to have destroyed much early work. What survived would sometimes be refashioned, as in the case of the Third Trio. This began life in 1913 as a trio for violin, clarinet and piano
two years later it emerged for piano and strings, and then as late as 1938 was entirely rewritten as we have it now.

"Ireland could scarcely have wished for more eloquent advocates than the sympathetic and committed performers on these recordings. Yfrah Neaman and Eric Parkin are particularly outstanding in the violin sonatas, penetrating to the desolate heart of the Second Sonata’s slow movement. The recordings are warm, intimate and clear. Eric Parkin provides the notes on the trios, Thea King those on the Sextet and the cello and clarinet sonatas, and Frederick Grinke on the violin sonatas ..." Mike Wheeler, Click here to read the full review

"The performances are uniformly excellent, and Lyrita's '70s stereo recordings are as real as sound reproduction gets ..." James Leonard, Click here to read the full review

"I doubt there will be many Ireland-ites who will not rush out and buy these Lyrita CDs to add to their collection of disc and vinyl. For someone who has just discovered the composer – perhaps by hearing ‘Sea Fever’ or ‘If There Were Dreams to Sell’, I would heartily recommend this boxed set. The playing is fantastic and always committed, Eric Parkin worked with the composer, and the programme notes are excellent. Finally and vitally, the depth and feeling of Ireland’s music is communicated to the listener through every note on these CDs ..." John France, Click here to read the full review

"There are other versions of every work here but no other set offers what amounts to the key Ireland all in one place in performances of such persuasive authority and in very good sound. This Lyrita set is an extremely valuable and pleasing collection which surely establishes the tone for Lyrita’s similar song and piano solo sets. The whole is completed by authoritative notes from Eric Parkin, Frederick Grinke and Thea King which goes to show the respect and affection in which Lyrita’s Richard Itter is held by musicians. This is an extremely valuable and pleasing set. It makes for vital and deeply rewarding listening in the twentieth century’s best tonal lyrical-impressionistic vein ..." Rob Barnett, Click here to read the full review

"... but [I] prefer these Lyritas in almost every case for one reason or another ... this is a potent and comprehensive collection, played by musicians of integrity and insight. It goes without saying that this is a cornerstone collection of British chamber music ..." Jonathan Woolf , Click here to read the full review

Disc 1
1 Phantasie Trio in A minor (In one Movement) (1908) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 13.14
2 Trio No. 2 in E (In one Movement) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 15.11
Trio No. 3 in E (1938) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 28.35
3 I Allegro moderato 9.05
4 II Scherzo vivace 4.14
5 III Andante cantabile 10.18
6 IV Con moto 4.58
Disc 2
Sextet for Clarinet, Horn and String Quartet (1898) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 28.11
1 I Allegro non troppo 7.51
2 II Andante con moto 7.33
3 III Intermezzo (Allegretto con grazia) 4.08
4 IV In tempo moderato 8.39
Sonata for Cello and Piano (1924) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 20.19
5 I Moderato e sostenuto 9.13
6 II Poco largamente 6.22
7 III Con moto e marcato 4.44
8 Fantasy-Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (In one Movement) (1943) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 14.00
Disc 3
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor (1909 rev. 1917) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 30.44
1 I Allegro leggiadro 12.55
2 II Romance: In tempo sostenuto, quasi adagio 10.55
3 III Rondo: Allegro sciolto assai 11.54
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A minor (1915 - 17) John Ireland (1879 - 1962) 28.54
4 I Allegro 11.02
5 II Poco lento quasi adagio 10.39
6 III In tempo moderato 7.13