Ireland returned to Housman in 1920/21 for the song-cycle The Land of Lost Content
, one of the more searching examinations of the full emotional depth of Housman's Shropshire Lad
poems, with their heady sense of loss, fatalism and nostalgia. Significantly perhaps, the title of Ireland's cycle was culled from a Shropshire Lad
poem ('If truth in hearts that perish') which he in fact didn't set—suggesting the words had special significance to him. The cycle was written for the ténor Gervase Elwes who was unfortunately killed by a train before the first performance took place. This collection contains only the second song in the cycle, Ladslove
, with its musing on the story of Narcissus, the Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.
from notes by Andrew Green © 1999