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Track(s) taken from CDA67261/2

Three Songs

author of text

Lisa Milne (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: September 1998
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Mike Clements & Mike Hatch
Release date: June 1999
Total duration: 6 minutes 52 seconds


'Perhaps these discs will at last bring the best of his songs back into live recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Three excellent young British singers share the treasures recorded here under the sage aegis of Graham Johnson. Lisa Milne's bright, keen soprano is lovely, John Mark Ainsley is a model of style and verbal clarity and young Christopher Maltman continues to show the promise that won him the Cardiff Lieder Prize in 1997' (The Sunday Times)

'A welcome, long overdue event. Excellent introduction to unduly neglected repertoire' (Classic CD)

'Ireland was a songsmith to rival the finest this country has produced, and Hyperion's generous anthology will hopefully encourage others to explore this rewarding and rapt repertoire' (Hi-Fi News)
1918 and 1919 saw work on Three Songs to poems by Arthur Symons (1865-1945), the Welshborn critic and poet, friend to Oscar Wilde and W B Yeats, and himself a risqué society figure of the 1890s. Here we more obviously enter the world of Ireland's more mature music—darker, more introverted, less direct … mystical, chromatic, even acidic. Having said this,

The Adoration also manages at times to suggest the simplicity in line and cadence of an Elizabethan Iute-song. In the poem, Symons borrows the imagery of gold, frankincense and myrrh from the Nativity. They become gifts laid at the feet of an intended lover, who nonetheless rejects the offerings in favour of her 'Whom you have loved of old.' The Rat is also concerned with rejection. The pain of remembered love 'gnaws at my heart like a rat that gnaws at a beam / In the dusty dark of a ghost-frequented house.' In Rest Symons and Ireland create a magical, drowsy picture of a warm and peaceful summer day, although the spell is threatened by the plea to the 'Heart' not to find rest—'Or if thou must, cease to beat in my breast'.

from notes by Andrew Green © 1999

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