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If we must part

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If we must part (1929) returns again to the poetry of Ernest Dowson. The theme is a variant on the by now familiar one of friendship … this time, how to say goodbye. Words are useless, displays of emotion too painful. The alternative is very British, very stiff upper lip, very Ireland. Just say 'Until tomorrow or some other day' and leave the rest to silence. Never mind the hurt inside. Another setting. of words by Ernest Dowson, When I am old, seems to date from the 1920s. This only recently came to light when the manuscript turned up in Zürich. It is now lodged with the Syndics of Cambridge University Music Library who have generously facilitated the first recording of this song. The poem is a plea to a loved one to dwell on earlier, happier times when old age comes—the choice of the text by Ireland being evidence perhaps of his morbid fear of growing old. The rich-harmonised setting builds to a heartfelt climax, marked 'passionato', on the repeated words 'My life's one love'.

from notes by Andrew Green © 1999


Ireland: Songs


Track 20 on CDA67261/2 CD1 [1'51] 2CDs

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