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Penguin Guide, January 2009

IRELAND, J.: Piano Works, Vol. 1 (Lenehan) - Sarnia / London Pieces / In those days 8.553700
IRELAND, J.: Piano Works, Vol. 2 (Lenehan) - Decorations / Sonatina / Leaves from a Child`s Sketchbook 8.553889

John Lenehan is making a complete survey for Naxos and he too proves the most persuasive advocate, warmly expressive, using rubato in a totally idiomatic way. The four London Pieces are maong his most colourful, not just Ragamuffin, played here with quicksilver lightness, but also the barcarolle-like Chelsea Reach, tenderly emotional. The most ambitious work is the three-movement suite, inspired by Guernsey, Sarnia, far more than a set of atmospheric colour pieces. This music shows Ireland’s poetic imagination to particular advantage and its last movement has echoes of the Piano Concerto in E flat.

The second programme offers a score of miniatures, including two of Ireland’s most hauntingly atmospheric pieces, The Towing-Path and The Darkened Valley, a Blake inspiration. The longest work here is the Sonatina in three short movements, with the opening Moderato bringing echoes of Ireland’s colourful Piano Concerto, the second a dark mediation leading to a galloping finale. Impeccable performances, vividly recorded.


"John Lenehan is a very accomplished performer: not only is his technical address impeccable, but he also possesses a strikingly wide dynamic range and sophisticated variety of tone colour......Lenehan's supremely affectionate and wonderfully articulate advocacy will surely win John Ireland many new friends"

Classic CD

"John Lenehan plays this music as though he loves it deeply, and the recording is excellent"

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