Thursday, 30 July 2009

John Ireland: Piano Music Volume 2 played by Mark Bebbington on SOMM

John Ireland (1879-1962)
Sarnia (1941) Le Catioroc, In a May morning, Song of the Springtides; Sea Idyll (1900) Two Pieces from a Downland Suite (1932) Elegy & Menuet; Greenways: Three Lyric Pieces (1938) The Cherry Tree, Cypress & The Palm and May; The Darkened Valley (1922) Two Pieces (1921) For Remembrance & Amberley Wild Brooks; Villanella (1900s arr. for piano by the composer 1912) Love is a Sickness (freely transcribed by Robert Helps) (1995)
Mark Bebbington (piano)
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 088

I recently reviewed this second volume of piano music by John Ireland. I began my discussion of this great CD by insisting that there can never be too many recordings of these important works. I suggested that the quality of the playing and sound on the present disc make it into a must-buy for all British piano music enthusiasts.

One of most interesting things about this CD is the inclusion of a number of rarities. Although these are not crucial parts of the Ireland canon, they are nevertheless valuable to have on disc. I spent a considerable part of my reviews discussing these pieces.

I concluded my review by suggesting that it is “invidious to try to suggest which is the best version of John Ireland’s piano works to purchase. I was introduced to him by the Rowlands and Parkin recordings on Lyrita: I still regard these as the high-water mark of Ireland interpretation. Yet again John Lenehan has produced an interesting survey of these works on Naxos and Eric Parkin did a re-run for Chandos. I guess that most enthusiasts of Ireland will have all these CDs in their collection – along with Desmond Wright. However, Mark Bebbington’s interpretation is excellent. I enjoyed listening to all these pieces and hearing the younger generation’s approach to these masterpieces (and lesser works) by one of Britain’s finest composer’s for the piano.

I suggested that you add this to your collection. Lastly, I eagerly await the next volume from SOMM. I am hoping that this will be a true ‘complete’ cycle of John Ireland's piano music, published and otherwise.

Please listen to my full review on MusicWeb International and please also read Rob Barnett’s thoughts on the same ‘page’.

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