Daniel Hope / Julian Lloyd Webber

John Ireland: Violin Sonata No. 1; Trio No. 2; Cello Sonata in G minor

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For recordings of the chamber music of John Ireland, they don't come any better than this one. With an all-star lineup of British musicians, this recording joins performances of Ireland's passionate Violin Sonata in D minor from 1909, his towering Piano Trio in E from 1917, his powerful Cello Sonata in G minor from 1923, and as a charming coda, a cello arrangement of Ireland's setting of the carol The Holy Boy. Violinist Daniel Hope plays with stunning technique and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber plays with staggering virtuosity. But the star performer here is pianist John McCabe, who plays with utmost sympathy and understanding and absolute and complete conviction. For listeners who find the music of Holst and Vaughan Williams a bit too provincial, this disc of Ireland's chamber music is a bracing reminder of the internationalism in English music in the last days of the British Empire. ASV's digital sound is fresh and immediate.

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