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Three Songs

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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


Ireland: Songs
CDA67261/22CDs Last few CD copies remaining


No 1: The adoration
Track 9 on CDA67261/2 CD1 [2'35] 2CDs Last few CD copies remaining
No 2: The rat
Track 10 on CDA67261/2 CD1 [1'48] 2CDs Last few CD copies remaining
No 3: Rest
Track 11 on CDA67261/2 CD1 [2'29] 2CDs Last few CD copies remaining

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