The Comedy Overture
was completed two years after A Downland Suite
, in 1934. Subsequently scored for orchestra it became known to a wider audience as A London Overture
. Both share the memorable main subject which Ireland based on the call of a London bus conductor intoning ‘Piccadilly … Piccadilly’. The work shows the robust sense of humour present elsewhere in Ireland’s music, and begins, surprisingly, with a lengthy Andante moderato introduction of somewhat enigmatic, almost mysterious character. The main thrust of the overture is carried forward by the brilliantly scored Allegro moderato brillante which contains well-contrasted Tranquillo sections and ends with a suitably rumbustious Vivace.
from notes by Peter Lamb © 1988