New Ireland disc is Gramophone Choice for December – “a CD not to be missed by all lovers of English Music.”

The  Gramophone  has  named  John  Lenehan’s  recording  of  the   Ireland  Concerto  as “Gramophone Choice” for December.The review by Ivan March is below.The disc was officially launched with a sold out concert at Champs Hill (close to Ireland’s home for his last few years and where the solo items where recorded) on November 11th. John was joined by Karine Georgian (cello) and Anthony Pike (clarinet) in a programme completely devoted to John Ireland, including the fantasy sonata for clarinet and and the cello sonata as well as the newly reconstructed trio and piano solos including the first performances of “Indian Summer” and “Pastoral”.

Calum McDonald in the BBC Music Magazine reviewed the disc as follows:

John Lenehan’s new offering with the RLPO is alert to the work’s many changes of mood and wide range of pianistic demands. I particularly liked his musing, elegaic take on the haunting slow movement and the orchestral playing is impressively responsive throughout. “Legend” is a piece as dark-hued and remorselessly focused as the Concerto is playful and multifaceted. But he also includes a crop of rarely-heard solo pieces which can stand as an appendix to the three volumes of Ireland’s piano music he has already recorded for Naxos. The brooding 1896 “Pastoral” and the beguiling little “Indian Summer” (1932) are world premiere recordings. The youthful “Pastoral” is a surprisingly assured and evocative piece with definite pre-echos of the mature composer. It’s good to have new recordings of the “Sea Idyll” and the cheerful “Three Dances” too.

The disc has also had positive blog-reviews from David Denton’s “Review corner”:

This is the fourth and last disc in John Lenehan’s much acclaimed survey of the complete piano music of John Ireland. The composer’s private life had not been without trials and tribulations. Then into its midst came a young piano pupil, Helen Parkin, who was to have a major impact on his music. He dedicated some fine songs to her, and in 1930 began work on the Piano Concerto also to carry her name. She gave the first performance at a London Prom concert that year in the Queen’s Hall, and four years later had a highly enthusiastic response to her premiere performance of the Legend, a more robust score for piano and orchestra. The disc then turns to Ireland’s works for solo piano from his younger years, the brilliant and passionate First Rhapsody dating from 1906 and written very much in the late Romantic era. We go back a further ten years for a student piece, Pastoral, only discovered many years after his death. Keyboard music did not feature greatly in this early period, though four years later he added the three-movement A Sea Idyll which paints a picture of his favourite subject. Three Dances date from 1913, their simplicity pointing to a use as teaching pieces. Critically acclaimed, Lenehan’s has proved himself to be a most persuasive champion throughout the cycle. In the concerto he is excellent, his playing lucid, nicely paced and in the quiet passages possesses the desired limpid quality. Here, and in his powerful account of the Legend, he is admirably partnered by the Liverpool orchestra in fine form conducted by John Wilson. The sound is excellent.

 A further review from Classical Candor at

http://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2011/11/ireland-piano-concerto-cd-review_15.html 

More from MusicWeb International at

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Nov11/Ireland_PC_8572598.htm

Coming up……

 

On Wednesday 23rd November BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a concert given last year as part of the Rodewald Concert Series at Liverpool’s St Georges Hall. John Lenehan performs with violinist Tasmin Little in the following programme:

KREISLER – Praeludium and allegro in the style of Gaetano Pugnani
BACH – Sonata for violin & keyboard No.3 in E, BWV.1016
GRIEG – Sonata for violin & piano No.2 in G, Op.13
BARTOK – Romanian Folk Dances
TCHAIKOVSKY – Melodie for violin & piano, Op.42’3.

Meanwhile EMI have just re-released their album of showpieces which includes their joint composition “Tchaikovskiana”.

More reviews…..

Still in the top twenty of the specialist classical charts after five weeks, John Lenehan’s latest recording continues to receive favourable press.David Mellor chose the disc as  “best bargain” on his Classic FM programme on 16th October.

MusicWeb International commented:

The Piano Concerto is a glowing and powerful work and it receives a performance to match here—one, indeed, to rival its major competitors.

Jerry Dubins in Fanfare Magazine (USA) wrote:

John Lenehan plays all of this music with consummate artistry and technical skill, and there’s not a single work on this disc that doesn’t give enormous pleasure. At Naxos’s budget price, it’s a steal, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Ireland’s music and would like to acquire a sampling of it….The solo piano pieces, by the way, were recorded in the beautiful acoustic setting of the Champs Hill Music Room in 2007 and, though Lenehan’s instrument is not identified, the sound is gorgeous. The concerted works with orchestra were recorded in early 2011 at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, a venue which also seems to have provided an ideal acoustic for these particular works. Strongly recommended.

Concerts in India

During October John Lenehan made his third visit  to India. On this occasion  he played two concerts with the wonderful violist Rivka Golani. They played first in the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai and, two days later, in the Mazda Hall for the Poona Music Society. Both organisations have built up a healthy audience for classical music – the NCPA is an impressive multi-venue arts complex catering for Indian classical music and dance, theatre as well as classical music and is home to the newly formed Symphony Orchestra of India. The Poona Music Society, since its inception over half a century ago, has actively promoted the musical arts in Pune, welcoming many distinguished performers such as Wilhelm Kempff, Janos Starker, Lili Kraus and Josef Suk to name but a few.

The Queen Symphony at the Albert Hall.

Having recorded Tolga Kashif’s “Queen Symphony” with the RPO and a DVD of the first performance (both for EMI) John Lenehan returned to the work on October 16th to perform the prominent piano part at the Royal Albert Hall with the RPO and the Brighton Festival Chorus conducted by the composer. The concert marked forty years of the celebrated group’s hit songs and attracted a near sell-out audience.