Ireland: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in E; Cello Sonata in G minor; The Holy Boy

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COMPOSERS: Ireland
LABELS: ASV Gold
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor; Piano Trio No. 2 in E; Cello Sonata in G minor; The Holy Boy
PERFORMER: Daniel Hope (violin), Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), John McCabe (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: GLD 4009
Julian Lloyd Webber and John McCabe’s excellent accounts of the Cello Sonata and The Holy Boy date from 1979 and 1987 respectively, but the bulk of this disc is occupied by new recordings of the First Violin Sonata and Second Piano Trio. In these they are joined by Daniel Hope, who has rapidly made a name for himself as one of the most outstanding young British violinists, and listening to his interpretation of the Sonata one sees why. Strictly speaking this expansive, comparatively early work, occasionally redolent of Brahms and Stanford, is not among Ireland’s most important utterances, for all that it won a Cobbett Prize in 1909. But Hope and McCabe make the most of its assured handling of both instruments and invest its invention with elegance as well as passionate intensity, and Hope’s firm, golden tone adds lustre to the somewhat conventional melodic idiom. The brooding and restless Second Trio of 1917, a compact single-movement piece much affected by thoughts of the war in the trenches, is also powerfully done – the march tune which Ireland referred to as ‘the boys going over the top’ has a dogged nobility rather than the jauntiness which can ruin its effect. Lloyd Webber’s eloquent and mercurial playing in the Cello Sonata, a quintessential Ireland piece in its mingling of playfulness and elegy, make this a most satisfying release. Calum MacDonald

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