Ireland: Sextet for Piano, Horn & String Quartet; Phantasie Trio; Piano Trio No. 2; Piano Trio No. 3

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Ireland
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Sextet for Piano, Horn & String Quartet; Phantasie Trio; Piano Trio No. 2; Piano Trio No. 3
PERFORMER: Holywell Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 1016
Ireland’s early sextet, heavily influenced by Brahms, is sunny and relaxed, with some pleasing melodies and original touches, but its inspiration is sometimes thin. The Holywell Ensemble shows it off to good effect, except for an over-prominent horn. The Trios are convincingly played. Trio No. 3 (1938) is the most successful: a genial first movement, a spirited second with its lively Irish-inflected rhythms, a beautifully shimmering Andante and

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a nicely observed finale. Trio No. 2 (1917) is sturdy and gritty but not without underlying sensitivity. The Phantasie Trio is given a slow-paced, thoughtful reading that allows the music to breathe, but Ian Brown’s pianistic qualities, on Chandos, are superior – he understands the Ireland idiom that much better. Ian Lace