I recently reviewed this great Naxos CD of John Ireland Songs for MusicWeb. This disc includes a number of favourites such as Sea Fever and If there were Dreams to Sell. But there are more emotionally challenging songs here too…
"My war story about John Ireland songs goes back a long way, in fact about 36 years. I was at school in the sixth form. My best friend in those far-off days was rehearsing his ‘O’-level set-songs during lunchtime. He was in mid strophe when I entered the music classroom. After he had finished he asked me if I liked it. “Hmm”, I mumbled, “sounds OK to me … what is it?” He stood on his dignity. “If there were dreams to sell…” he replied. “Who is it by?” I asked tentatively. The look of disgust remains with me to this day. “John Ireland”, he said. “John who?” I rejoined. He walked out the door of the class without further comment. Well, a few weeks later I discovered an old Saga LP that contained a selection of Ireland’s music and I got stuck in. Another friend played The Island Spell to me on my piano and Grove helped. Soon, I guess, I knew more about him that my friend did. And then, a bit later, I discovered the Lyrita edition … but that is another story..."
“This disc contains some of the best interpretations of John Ireland’s songs that I have ever heard… It is an absolute must for anyone who claims to be an enthusiast of English Song. But do not throw out your Lyrita or Hyperion editions – for Naxos are some 60 songs shy of the total in Ireland’s catalogue!
Please read my full review at MusicWeb International