An Irish Songbook

An imaginitive recital from Tynan and Burnside

Author: 
Edward Greenfield
An Irish Songbook

An Irish Songbook

  • (The) Cloths of Heaven
  • Solitary Hotel
  • Goldenhair
  • Bid Adieu
  • (The) Roving dingle boy
  • To Eire
  • Folk Song Arrangements, The Salley Gardens (also unison vv and piano)
  • Folk Song Arrangements, Avenging and bright
  • Folk Song Arrangements, Sail on, sail on
  • Folk Song Arrangements, The minstrel boy
  • Folk Song Arrangements, At the mid hour of night
  • Folk Song Arrangements, The last rose of summer
  • (The) Wonderful widow of eighteen springs
  • Flood
  • Bahnhofstrasse
  • Marry Me Now
  • Songs from County Kerry, The Lost Lover
  • Songs from County Kerry, The Tinker's Daughter
  • O Men from the Fields
  • (10) Hermit Songs, No. 3, St Ita's Vision
  • Tutto è sciulto
  • The Stranger's Grave
  • (10) Hermit Songs, No. 10, The Desire for Hermitage

This is far from being a conventional Irish song collection, such as John McCormack might have offered in recording’s early days. Irish soprano Ailish Tynan, no doubt prompted by the ever-imaginative accompanist, Iain Burnside, has devised a sequence of 23 songs that are mainly rarities. There are, for example, six folksong arrangements by Benjamin Britten, only one of which is at all familiar, his setting of Yeats’s popular poem “The Salley Gardens”. Several are settings of tunes from the collection, Moore’s Irish Melodies, including “The Last Rose of Summer”. Typically, they all have distinctive accompaniments, some of them little
related to the melodies above.

Another theme of the collection is the work of James Joyce, not just from his collections of poems, Chamber Music and Pomes Penyeach, but extracts from his two exploratory novels, Ulysses (“Solitary Hotel”, set by Samuel Barber) and Finnegans Wake (“The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs”, set by John Cage to an accompaniment of knocking on the piano lid). Other Joyce settings, such as Herbert Howells’s “Flood” from Pomes Penyeach (with rushing accompaniment) and “Oh Men from the Fields” set by Herbert Hughes, are more conventional but always sensitive. Barber is represented by three songs, including the remarkable dedicated setting of “St Ita’s Vision”, a medieval prayer translated into modern English by Seán Ó Faoláin. Other composers represented include some unjustly neglected, such as Thomas Dunhill, as well as EJ Moeran and Frank Bridge, making up a most attractive sequence.

Aylish Tynan’s bright soprano, very well controlled with clean attack on high notes, is perhaps too little varied in tone for sustained listening, a minor disadvantage. Predictably, Burnside is always a most sensitive accompanist, not least in some of Britten’s tricky piano-writing. A most distinctive disc, well recorded, and well worth investigating.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017