When I am dead, my dearest
is a plea by the poet, Christina Rossetti once more, that her death should carry no burden of remembrance to those left behind. Although its date of composition is given as 1924, the music carries the dedication: 'To A.G.M: Cerne Abbas, June 1925'. 'A.G.M.' was Arthur Miller, the son of a Chelsea antiques dealer who enjoyed Ireland's regular custom. Miller the younger was a close friend of Ireland and the dedicatee of several of his works, which were usually composed to mark Miller's birthdays on 22 February. Given the song's date, it is unclear whether or not this is another birthday gift, but at least we are offered the serendipitous information that Ireland seems to have holidayed in Dorset in the summer of 1925. The apparent simplicity of the song shouldn't mask Ireland's masterly economy of means and his skill at the deft placement of chords in the accompaniment. This song also exists in Ireland's own version for string quartet. A further 1924 Rossetti setting, What art thou thinking of?
belongs alongside the Mother and Child
cycle, reflecting as it does a child's vision of heaven, and pleasure at the thought of living there now.
from notes by Andrew Green © 1999