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Ireland - Piano Music Volume 3
Mark Bebbington’s performances and recordings have singled him out as a British pianist of the rarest refinement and maturity and he is increasingly recognized as a champion of British Music. “Bebbington’s revivals of British piano music are second to none” International Piano. This CD includes Rhapsody, Four Preludes, Ballade of London Nights, The Almond Tree and Prelude in E flat.
“His powers of subtle characterisation and sensitive range of touch are shown in his extremely sensitive portrayal of 'Feburary's Child'...I continue to feel that Bebbington is providing us with the well-nigh definitive take on this quintessentially English repertoire.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2010 *****
“Bebbington does [the Rhapsodies] proud, never forcing the tone, yet relishing the Lisztian bravura of the writing to the max... Bebbington also quarries every ounce of slumbering power and mystery from the Ballade of London Nights...Somm's sound is gratifyingly clean and true.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010
“Collectors may welcome the world premiere recording of First Rhapsody (1906), but newcomers will find these miniatures, full of French impressionistic colour and English wistfulness, a fine starting point.” The Observer, 25th July 2010
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Ireland - Piano Works Volume 2
“The pleasures here are many. John Lenehan is a very accomplished performer: not only is his technical address impeccable, but he also has a strikingly wide dynamic range and sophisticated variety of tone colour, both of which he uses to poetic effect throughout. That Lenehan has a real affinity for Ireland's muse is immediately evident from his raptly intimate delivery of the gentle opening diptych, In Those Days. Similarly, in the extraordinarily imaginative, harmonically questing Ballade of 1929 he rises superbly to the elemental fury of the remarkable central portion, with its brooding echoes of the 'Northern' Bax from the same period. Elsewhere, Columbine is a treat, as is the ravishing Month'sMind and the haunting Prelude in E flat. Lenehan's supremely affectionate and articulate advocacy will surely win Ireland many friends.
On Volume 2 there's a strong feeling of how purely local influences (Pangbourne and the Thames Valley in The towing-path, Le Fauvic beach, Jersey in 'The Island Spell', to take two examples) are transcended to become statements of wider poetic import.
The large-scale Rhapsody, with its powerful Fauréan overtones, is relished by Lenehan, a strong, sympathetic interpreter, and time and again he makes you wonder at works aptly described as 'some of the most appealing English piano music written this century, too long neglected.'” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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John Ireland Piano Music
“Captured in perfectly acceptable mono sound, Rowland's memorably intimate performances betoken a very special empathy for this repertoire.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2008
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John Ireland - The Piano Music
"How can the critics begin to understand my music if they have never read Machen?" This was a question heard to fall on more than one occasion from John Ireland’s lips. Ireland came of a literary family, and literature and literary people played a natural part in the formation of his personality. Most influential of all were the works of Arthur Machen the Welsh writer, who was to Ireland almost what Yeats was to Bax. Ireland had dreamt in fire - after his first encounter with Machen it was only a matter of time before he worked in fire also. In the wake of The House of Souls and The Hill of Dreams a smouldering coal flared gloriously into flame. For Machen loved all memoried things and places, things with a past behind them - and the more remote the past the greater he felt able to partake of them. He hailed from a forgotten country in the West, a land of dark and ancient woods and streams and deep sunken lanes, the ancient Welsh kingdom of Gwent …
“Eric Parkin's… is completely inside Ireland's idiom, well understanding the darker emotional complexities and yearnings that may underlie a seemingly casual phrase or carefree melodic line.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2008 *****
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