Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
7:11 AM 23rd May 2022

Classical Music Album: John Ireland Orchestral Works - Sinfonia Of London

John Ireland: Orchestral Works

The Forgotten Rite; Mai-Dun; A Downland Suite; Epic March; A London Overture; Satyricon; The Holy Boy.

Sinfonia of London. Conductor: John Wilson
Leader: John Mills

ChandosCHSA 5293

Hybrid SACD

Release date: 10 June 2022

What a treat! The superb coupling of John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London raising the profile of an unjustly neglected composer. This thoroughly enjoyable disc features a mix of John Ireland's well-known gems and some of his unfamiliar works.

Wilson is a musical dynamo who manages to electrify through getting to know each composer he choses to perform and convey their soul whether it is Ravel or John Ireland; although Ireland was influenced by the Frenchman.

Wilson takes us on a journey through Ireland’s life from his early years to 1914 with The Forgotten Rite and The Holy Boy, to World War 1 and the 1920s with Mai-Dun, into the 1930s with A Downland Suite and A London Overture to World War 2 and Ireland’s last years, Epic March, Overture Satyricon.

Ireland evokes places such as rural Dorset, one of his favourite haunts, the South Downs to the metropolis in A London Overture. We are carried to the aural pictures on a wave of musical brilliance full of colour-heightened vibrancy.

The ensemble delivers every time under Wilson’s baton. Whether it be the smooth strings giving that quintessentially English feel, the lower strings providing a deliciously resonant accompaniment to the lyrical The Holy Boy or the Downland Suite exquisitely played Elegy and pizzicato in the Minuet, they create a warm romantic feel.

The woodwind and brass should not be forgotten, the entries are elegant always controlled and balanced, this is impressively demonstrated in The Forgotten Rite where the horns, flute and oboe solos hover like a beautiful songbird.

There are copious examples to highlight the technical brilliance, the meticulous playing, measured dynamics, perfect tempi and sheer beauty of the musicianship.

Wilson brings out the breadth of Ireland’s compositional talent, full of character, that makes this a disc to buy and savour.