The set of Two Songs
from 1920 features poems by Aldous Huxley (The Trellis
) and the Elizabethan courtier and scholar Sir Philip Sidney (the ever-admired sonnet My true love hath my heart, and I have his
). In the 1920s Huxley was on the threshold of the kind of fame as a novelist which would eclipse his extended early efforts as a poet. The Trellis
, which dates from 1918, describes the silent kisses and white caresses enjoyed behind the thick flower'd trellis protecting the lovers from 'prying eyes of malice'. Another intriguing choice of subject-matter by Ireland, who weaves round the words hypnotic, hazy, sensuous lines. Ecstatic moments for the lovers, but what secret inner world of Ireland's desire/frustration is reflected here? In Ireland's full-hearted setting of lines selected from My true love hath my heart
, the melody is reminiscent of, say, Roger Quilter, above a passionately chromatic accompaniment.
from notes by Andrew Green © 1999