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on 19 December 2012
While Ireland's output can be said to have been served fairly well on disc, especially his piano music and songs, his music for the church seems to have failed to ignite the imagine of record producers, although faced with this disc you can't really understand why, as this disc firmly places his music at the forefront of the `great Anglican tradition'!
Yes, his music for the church is available on other discs, but I can't think of another single disc purely devoted to his music, this makes this disc very welcome indeed, especially as it comes at the end of his anniversary year! From the very opening of the Te Deum in F you get the feeling that this is going to be a special disc, and you are not disappointed. The perennial favourites such as My song is love unknown, Greater love hath no man and The Holy Boy are here, but it is the more rarely recorded music, such as the two settings of the Evening Service (in C and F) and the Communion Service in C where Ireland really shows himself to be a true successor to the likes of Stanford and a master of the tradition of English church music.
This disc would have been most welcome if sung by a second rate choir, as it is, we are afforded Lincoln Cathedral Choir on top form, I do have quite a few of these works on other discs, but none of them compare to this recording. The choir is a modern choir in that it is mixed, with both boys and girls singing alongside the men, and while I am usually a traditionalist when it comes to this sort of music, this recording has gone a long way to win me over to the concept of mixed choirs. The tone of the choir is beautifully rounded and well balanced, one could not wish for better!
This is beautiful disc, and one which I have no hesitation in recommending, indeed I would go as far as to say that it is the finest choral disc that I have heard this year, a disc which I will be enjoying for many a year!
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on 14 December 2012
I agree with everything that Edj has written This is a truly delightful disc; beautifully sung and very well recorded. I have always loved the music of John Ireland. The piano music is superb and I would say that he is probably the finest English composer for the instrument.Then there are his songs, which are worthy of comparison with those of Vaughan Williams and Finzi in the treasure house of English song. On this disc we see his great gifts as a choral composer. Some of the earlier pieces reveal the influence of Stanford and are none the worse for that. There are one or two pieces which are well known: My song is love unknown and The Holy Boy (originally a piano piece and also arranged for string quartet), but most of the other works will be unfamiliar to most people. Don't let this put you off. There is delight after delight on this superb disc. Yet another winner from Naxos.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 December 2012
Although not best-known for his church music, John Ireland (1879-1962) nevertheless enjoyed a long professional association with the Anglican church, holding the position of organist at St. Luke's, Chelsea, for 22 years, and producing a fair body of church music, including communion and evening services, hymn tunes, and occasional pieces, that spanned his career. This new Naxos CD presents a broad selection of this work, including a mix of the familiar (such as "Greater love hath no man") and the lesser-known ("Four Unaccompanied Carols", for instance).

The earlier pieces, such as the Te Deum of 1907, although not startlingly original, and somewhat derivative of Ireland's RCM teacher, Stanford, nevertheless display a consummate craftsmanship, and are attractive on the ear. Rather different in style are the Four Unaccompanied Carols, one of which is a setting of words by Herbert Brown, using Ireland's most familiar and popular tune, The Holy Boy. The other texts date from the 16th. century or earlier, and are set in a suitably "medieval" style.

There are two contrasting organ solos. "Elegiac Romance", written in 1902, but revised in 1958, is a meditative piece which reaches a powerful climax, while "Capriccio" (1911) is altogether more buoyant, presenting some challenges for the performer. Of the few hymn settings recorded here, Samuel Crossman's "My song is love unknown" is easily the most familiar, and has become part of the staple diet in Anglican worship as well as in other denominations. Ireland's melody for "I am trusting thee, Lord Jesus" (Frances Ridley Havergal), although not the one most people will be familiar with, is nevertheless attractively simple and direct, and made for community singing.

Ireland's church music is well-rooted in the soil of the English Choral tradition, and the present disc will be welcomed by all who warm to the traditional high-church repertoire. The Lincoln Cathedral Choir, conducted by Aric Prentice, puts on a polished performance, with Charles Harrison providing the organ accompniment, and revelling in the solo works.
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on 3 December 2012
Lincoln Cathedral Choir is in top form on this disc, fantastic treble sound and very exciting performances of some fairly rarely-recorded (some of it probably isn't available on CD anywhere else) music. The morning and evening services in F, the organ works and the four carols are particular highlights - as is Ex ore innocentium, which is stunning. Highly recommended!
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on 31 October 2014
I purchased this Naxos CD specifically to add to my library a recording of the hymn "My song is love unknown", which was written by Samuel Crossman (1623-1683) in 1664, and which is usually sung to the tune by John Ireland (1879-1962). The melody must surely rate as one of the most enchanting and endearing of all English hymn tunes. Crossman's words in the first verse include: "Love to the loveless shown, That they might lovely be..." and whenever I hear these moving lines I nearly always shed a tear. This recording by the Lincoln Cathedral choir however is desperately pedestrian and disappointing: they race through it as if they can hardly wait to get it over with, and make no attempt to savour Crossman's words or do much justice to Ireland's music either. The benchmark for me has to be the recording by the King's College, Cambridge, choir, under Stephen Cleobury; compared with Lincoln, they take a much more measured approach in a way that adds a certain majesty to this work that is utterly lacking in the Lincoln choir's rendition. The other works on this CD are workman-like and OK, but overall this album can't, sadly, be particularly recommended.
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on 14 February 2015
Bought as a gift for a friend who is a church musician and still awaiting his expert opinion. My unqualified opinion is that it is a decent recording of a less commonly recorded composer and the sound, I feel, is made rounder by the inclusion of girls in the Cathedral choir. I might be biased, since I am a native of Lincoln.
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on 9 August 2015
Some lovely music recorded in a resonant but magical acoustic. Terrific singing
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on 9 May 2016
Great singing from a Great Cathedral
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on 2 February 2013
This CD from the Lincoln Cathedral Choir records very special music "My Song Love Unknown" and I thought it would make an appropriate Valentines Day present! (not played yet)
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on 13 February 2013
The title hymn is one of my favourites, hence my order. The sound is somewhat muffled though, probably the acoustics of the cathedral
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