John Ireland: A Downland Suite

John Ireland: A Downland Suite

by City of London SinfoniaCity of London Sinfonia


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The music of John Ireland is as good as it gets for the generation of English composers who peaked in the years between the two World Wars. Compared with Ireland, Walton sounds too nervous, Holst sounds too tentative, and Vaughan Williams sounds too eccentric. Along with a great lyrical gift, Ireland had a powerful compositional personality and the masterful technique with which to express himself. Best of all, while Ireland was clearly an English composer writing English music, he was also a modernist writing modernist music. There's plenty of pastoralism, but Ireland's lines are lucid, his colors are clear, and his rhythms are clean. All of which makes Ireland the English composer to like for people who don't like English composer. This 1994 recording by Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia presents one of Ireland's best-known works in a new arrangement, two of Ireland's lesser but still representative works, and a premiere recording of a reconstructed work. In Hickox and the Sintonia's heartfelt performances, the posthumous string orchestra arrangement of "A Dowland Suite" is rambunctious bucolic bliss, the very early "Orchestral Poem" is extravagantly derivative, the "Concerto Pastorale for string orchestra" is as close to morbid melancholy as Ireland ever got, and the two "Symphonic Studies" are massive, monumental, and monolithic and driven with unrelenting momentum. Chandos' sound starts big and just gets bigger.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/22/1995
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115937624
catalogNumber: 9376
Rank: 156920


  1. A Downland Suite, arrangement for orchestra (completed by G. Bush)
  2. Orchestral Poem, for orchestra in A minor
  3. Concertino Pastorale (Threnody), for string orchestra
  4. Symphonic Studies (2), music from "The Overlanders" arr. by Geoffrey Bush for orchestra

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