John Ireland

(1879—1962) composer and organist

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(b Bowdon, Ches., 1879; d Washington, Sussex, 1962).

Eng. composer and pianist. Org., St Luke's, Chelsea, 1904–26. Prof. of comp. RCM 1923–39, pupils incl. Britten, Bush, Moeran, Searle, and Arnell. He made his reputation with chamber mus. and with pieces for pf. solo in which his understanding of the instr. is paramount. His songs are in the best Eng. tradition and are typical of Ireland's style, which nevertheless owes more to French influences than to English and has an individual restraint and austerity which is highly attractive. He did not compose syms. or large‐scale choral works, but his orch. tone‐poems and ovs. are colourfully scored and his pf. conc., with its racy jazz interludes, is among the best in the genre by an Eng. composer. Prin. works:



, symphonic prelude (1899);

Orchestral Poem in A minor


The Forgotten Rite

, prelude (1913);


(orig. for vn., pf. 1911, arr. orch. 1916);


, symphonic rhapsody (1920–1); pf. conc. in E♭ (1930);

Downland Suite

, str. (1932);


, pf., orch. (1933);

A London OvertureComedy Overture

(re‐working of , brass, 1936); arr. brass, unpubd., no date);

Concertino Pastorale

, str. (1939);

The Holy Boy

, orig. pf. prelude (1913), str. (1941);

Epic March



, ov. (1944–6);

The Overlanders

, suite (1965, arr. Mackerrras from film mus. 1946–7).

chorus & orch.:

Vexilla Regis


Greater Love Hath No Man

, motet (1911, orch. 1922);

These Things Shall Be

, cantata, bar. (or ten.), ch., orch. (1936–7);

Man in his labour rejoiceth

, ch., brass band (1947).

brass band:

A Downland Suite


Comedy OvertureA London Overture

(1934, re‐worked as 1936, arr. for wind band 1986);

Maritime Overture


The Holy Boy

(orig. pf. prelude 1913), arr. by Robert E. Stepp (1950).


Te Deum

in F, ch., org. (1907);

Greater Love Hath No ManMany Waters cannot quench Love

(sometimes called ), motet, treble, bar., ch., org. (1911, with orch. 1922);


in F, ch., org. (1914);

An Island HymnIsland Praise

, male vv. (1915, rev. as , 1955);

They Told Me, Heraclitus

, unacc. male vv. (1924);

New Prince, New Pomp

, carol, unacc. male vv. (1927);

The Holy Boy

, unacc. carol (orig. pf. prelude 1913–15), arr. vv. (1941);

Adam Lay Ybounden

, unacc. carol (1956);

Island PraiseAn Island Hymn

, unacc. male vv. (1955, rev. of , 1915).

chamber music:

sextet, cl., hn., str. qt. (1898); str. qts.; No.1 in D minor (1897), No.2 in C minor (1897);


, vn., pf. (1904);

Phantasy Trio

in A minor (1908); vn. sonata No.1 in D minor (1908–9, rev. 1917), No.2 in A minor (1915–17); Bagatelle, vn., pf. (1911, arr. orch. by L. Bridgewater, 1916); pf. trio in E (1917); vc. sonata in G minor (1923, arr. for va. by Tertis, 1941); pf. trio in E minor (1938, based on unpubd. trio of 1912–13);

Fantasy Sonata

, cl., pf. (1943);

The Holy Boy

(orig. pf. prelude, 1913), arr. vc., pf. (1919), va. (by L. Tertis, 1925), str. qt. (1941), fl., pf. (by J. Galway, 1987).


Subjects: Music.

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