Selected forthcoming concerts and events can be found on the 'Concerts' page.
John Ireland’s complete solo piano works and Concerto, and a fragment of a second cello sonata, to feature in major celebration at Birmingham Conservatoire
In June this year (17th – 21st) the Birmingham Conservatoire will host a celebration of the music of two of England’s most contrasting and individual composers: John Ireland and Frederick Delius.
‘Delius and Ireland: A Celebration’ is a five-day Festival, one of the biggest the Conservatoire has ever hosted, involving over 60 individuals from the senior and junior Conservatoire, students and Faculty (including those famously associated with this repertoire), as well as orchestras, choirs and guest artists.
Fifteen concert programmes will showcase songs, piano pieces, chamber and orchestral works - including performances of the complete solo piano works and Piano Concerto by John Ireland.
Pianist and British music specialist Mark Bebbington, who has recorded the complete solo piano works of John Ireland for SOMM to great critical acclaim, and in many ways inspired the Festival as a piano tutor at the Conservatoire, will open the inaugural recital with two of Ireland’s most significant works; the Sonata and Rhapsody.
“It seems to me that the piano music of John Ireland is not only one of the most substantial, but also one of the most neglected legacies of any twentieth-century British composer”, Mark explains.
“Ireland wrote for the piano throughout his life and from the outset, his natural kinship with the instrument is self-evident; whether drawing the last measure of tonal splendour from a masterpiece such as Sarnia, or evoking his beloved West Sussex countryside in his miniature Amberley Wild Brooks, Ireland's keyboard works are an unparalleled achievement in British pianism.”
“John Ireland was alive to wider influences, as well – French Impressionism and the Expressionist works of Alban Berg, for example – but he evolved a bitter-sweet musical language that was all his own. Above all, though, his piano writing conveys an undertow of wistful melancholy that lends these works a quite unique expressive intensity.”
There will be the opportunity to hear more about Ireland’s music when Bruce Phillips, Chairman of the John Ireland Charitable Trust, gives an informative talk on the afternoon of Wednesday 19th June in the Arena Foyer.
Amongst other artists taking part will be Lionel Friend, Katharine Lam, Duncan Honeybourne, Lionel Handy, Nigel Clayton, Victor Sangorgio, Philip Martin, De-Wet Lee, Daniele Rosina, Amy Littlewood, Yu-Fen Lin, and stalwart of the keyboard, Margaret Fingerhut, who will be performing Ireland's London Pieces.
Alexander Baillie and John Thwaites will perform the Cello Sonatas of John Ireland and of composer and former Birmingham University Professor of Music, Ivor Keys, and there will be the opportunity to hear - for the first time in public - a sketch for the opening to a second Ireland Cello Sonata, when Hetti Price will be the soloist.
How to book:
Tickets will be available on the door and full details of the programme can be found at: www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University, Paradise Place, Birmingham, B3 3HG
Concerts take place in the Adrian Boult Hall and Recital Hall in Birmingham City University and in the City’s Town Hall.
Full details of all concerts are listed on the 'concerts' page.
Recent coverage about the event: www.musicalopinion.com/diary.html
Now available: The Romantic Cello, Volume 2 (VIF Records: VRCD082)
Philip Handy, cellist, son of distinguished cellist Lionel Handy, has recorded a second volume of cello sonatas with pianist Robert Markham. The recording includes Ireland's Cello Sonata, the Rachmaninov Sonata, Delius's Serenade, and a contemporary piece for solo cello by Benjamin Woodgates.
Recent recordings have included:
A John Ireland Collection is a recording supported by the John Ireland Trust, and includes works such as Ireland's Fantasy Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Rhapsody for Piano, the Song Cycle; Mother and Child, Sonata for Cello and Piano, and other songs. Artists featured are: Julian Hellaby, Peter Noke, Linda Merrick, Catriona Lang, and Naomi Wright.
ASC Records 150
"This outstanding CD is a fine introduction to the music of this composer. The project had been supported by the John Ireland Charitable Trust and all John Ireland fans will also want this CD in their collection."
John France, MusicWeb International
Magical Places is the title of a recording of evocative symphonic poems for piano duet, which includes Ireland's The Forgotten Rite performed by Caroline Clemmow and Anthony Goldstone, as well as works by other composers such as Mussorgsky, Ibert, Lyadov, and Ireland's pupil, Benjamin Britten.
Divine Art: DDA25104
English Fantasy is a recording which includes Ireland's Fantasy Sonata, performed by Peter Cigleris, clarinet and Antony Gray, piano.
"This is a fresh and impressively pleasing collection which mixes the usual and the unusual to good effect with more of the latter than the former."
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
Evening Songs is a recording of songs by Ireland and Delius arranged for cello and piano by Julian Lloyd Webber and includes world premieres of Evening Song and In Summer Woods.
Julian Lloyd Webber and Jiaxin Cheng, Cellos, John Lenehan, Piano.
My Song is Love Unknown: Church music by John Ireland. Lincoln Cathedral Choir, Charles Harrison, Aric Prentice (organ). Naxos 'CD of the Month' (8.573014) www.naxos.com/newsletters/uk/nd/dec12/
"Full marks for devising such a varied programme of choral items and for choosing two of Ireland's best organ solos. A very enjoyable and rewarding disc, showcasing the fine quality of British Cathedral music-making."
Christopher Nickol, Gramophone.
Musicweb International's reviewing team nominated Martin Yates's imaginative orchestration of John Ireland’s Sarnia, together with Moeran's Symphony No. 2 on Dutton Epoch (CDLX 7281) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as one of their recordings of 2012:
Complete Ireland Piano Works (Volume 4) Mark Bebbington, piano (SOMMCD 0115)
www.somm-recordings.com/somm/ifield.php?id=190 Awarded a five-star review in BBC Music Magazine.
“If you can resist a welling-up of tears on encountering this music, then you are a better man than I, especially given Bebbington’s fabulous feel for the harmonies and voicing of chords. Having now had the pleasure of reviewing all four of Mark Bebbington’s John Ireland discs, I congratulate him for his terrifically imaginative response to this music.”
International Record Review, February 2013 (John Ireland, Volume 4)
Delius and Ireland Part Songs (SOMM 0118)
Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir, Paul Spicer, Director
SOMM celebrates some of Frederick Delius's and John Ireland's choral and vocal music.
Ireland songs include: Heraclitus; Weep you no more sad fountains; Fain would I change that note; When May is in his prime; New Prince, New Pomp; Adam lay ybounden; The Holy Boy; New Year Carol; Twilight night; The Peaceful Western Wind; Laughing song; Spring, the sweet spring; Cupid; Cradle Song; Immortality; The Hills.
Stainer & Bell has recently published the 6th and final volume of Ireland's piano music: www.stainer.co.uk/ireland.html
A pack of Ireland postcards, a mousemat and a handy mobile phone holder, all illustrated with Ireland's photo, can be found at Amazon (Germany):
During his lifetime Ireland worked with many publishers and this is reflected in the distribution of his works today, see 'Works'.
The Trust is registered as a charity. Reg. No. 255004
Trustees: Bruce Phillips, Clive Marks FCA, Erwin Mulholland