This title was first published in 2000. John Ireland (1879-1962) was as elusive as the music that he composed. His music resists easy categorization, in part because it is linked so closely to specific events, places and people in Ireland's personal life. The Music of John Ireland explores the expressive and extramusical qualities of Ireland's compositions and their complex system of personal musical symbols, images and ideas. Fiona Richards interweaves biography and musical analysis in a series of chapters which take their themes from the significant influences in Ireland's life: Anglo-Catholicism, paganism, the countryside, the city, love and war. Ireland emerges as highly individual, struggling with his religious beliefs, his sexuality, and an uncertainty as to his success. His music, often an expression of a state of mind, is given, for the first time, the close investigation that it merits. Ireland preferred to compose on a small scale, showing a masterful command of form and a gift for melody. Richards reveals how the essence of the man shines through in the miniatures that he wrote.
’The book is beautifully produced - a must for all lovers not only of music, but of the country, of poetry and of our heritage.’ Colin Scott-Sutherland, British Music Society Newsletter + Classical Music on the Web. '… this volume is a must for all interested in the subject. It's one of the best of its kind for many years … worth every penny…' The Delian ’One can readliy appreciate the effectiveness of the book’s structure…it certainly has riches to offer every interested reader…her book treats Ireland’s music to its most thorough and even-handed examination to date.’ Musical Times 'Tactfully, but resolutely, she has confronted the problems head on, and therefore come up with a thought-provoking study of a strange and, some might say, flawed genius.' Music and Letters 'Though the title suggests a volume devoted primarily to music analysis, this excellent book is also a full biography which gives considerable insight into the life, passions and spirituality of this long-lived but slightly reclusive composer.' Church Music Quarterly 'Ms Richards includes many musical examples of the chamber works, piano pieces, songs and orchestral works and church music, and her analyses alongside the snippets of biographical detail are most illuminating…(her) well-chosen and revelatory quotations from Ireland's correspondence is another strength…this is a meritorious and long overdue assessment of the music of John Ireland.' Ian Lace, Classical Music on the Web '… first-rate…' Cathedral Music
Contents: Introduction: aspects of John Ireland; Sonatas and fantasies: encountering Ireland; Anglo-Catholicism; Paganism; Country; City; Love; War; Songs and sonatas, sacred and profane: knowing Ireland; Conclusion; List of works; Bibliography; Index.
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