Magazine article Gramophone

Bebbington's Ireland Series Reaches Its Conclusion

Magazine article Gramophone

Bebbington's Ireland Series Reaches Its Conclusion

Article excerpt

Ireland

'Piano Music, Vol 4'

Columbine. Epic March. Equinox. In Those Days.

Leaves from a Child's Sketchbook. Meine Seele.

Merry Andrew. Month's Mind. On a Birthday Morning.

Pastoral. Soliloquy. Spring Will Not Wait.

Summer Evening. Three Pastels. The Towing Path

Mark Bebbington pf

Somm New Horizons (F) SOMMCD0115 (75' * DDD)

I do feel that Ireland is one of those composers whose music does not benefit from integrale recording projects. Individually, many of the short works (there are 20 separate titles on this fourth volume) are pretty, winsome and effective--when heard separately or in their designated suites. An hour and a quarter of the same voice becomes monotonous, especially with Ireland's preference for sombre introspection. At the disc's end I couldn't tell a'Pastoral' from a Soliloquy, or 'In the Meadow from a 'Daydream'.

The booklet is by Bruce Phillips, director of the John Ireland Trust, who provides authoritative notes--even if they follow neither the chronology of the compositions nor the order in which they appear on the disc. Is it because the disc is sponsored by the Trust that he's so coy about Ireland's sexuality? It's quite clear from the homoerotic inscriptions that preface 'A Grecian Lad' and 'The Boy Bishop', and from On a Birthday Morning, one of many pieces written for Ireland's close friend Arthur Miller, a 17-year-old chorister.

The Towing Path is perhaps the best-known work here. It was composed at Pangbourne in 1918, and for the CD cover, Somm has gone to the trouble of finding an evocative period photograph of the towpath at Pangbourne. …

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