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Ireland: Orchestral Works

Ireland: Orchestral Works

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The Forgotten Rite, from 1913, is one of Ireland's earliest orchestral compositions. The symphonic rhapsody Mai-Dun was inspired by the Dorset countryside – Thomas Hardy Country – a landscape that exerted a lifelong influence on Ireland. While it was commissioned for the national Brass Band Championships in 1932, Ireland later arranged the central two movements of A Downland Suite for strings. The first and last movements were later arranged by his pupil Geoffrey Bush. The overture Satyricon was one of Ireland’s final large-scale works, and is based upon texts by the Roman writer Gaius (or, in some sources, Titus) Petronius Arbiter, a courtier of Nero. A London Overture and the Epic March were both commissioned by the BBC – the latter as a morale-booster during World War II. It was during this period that Ireland orchestrated The Holy Boy – a piano piece composed on Christmas Day in 1913. John Wilson and Sinfonia of London present these works with care and conviction, revealing the great quality of this unjustly neglected composer.


I am very enthusiastic about the recorded quality we get here. A mildly reverberant acoustic gives a perfect cushion for the orchestra, and the strings in A Downland Suite are splendid in their unanimity and fullness of tone. The rest of the very fine orchestra play as expertly as one would expect given that the Sinfonia was re-established in 2018 as a recording orchestra, staffed by top players from British and international ensembles. It has also given public performances, and is scheduled to appear at the BBC Proms on July 16th, in an all-English program of Elgar, Vaughan Wlliams and Bax, amongst others.

I am also enthusiastic about the performances, conducted with the necessary verve or gentleness as appropriate.

The presentation is up to Chandos’s normal high standards, with a very detailed analysis of each work and a history of the orchestra, accompanying a brief biography of John Wilson, all in English, French and German."

--MusicWeb International (Jim Westhead)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Chandos
    • UPC/Barcode: 0095115529324
    • Item Number: CHSA 5293