Ireland, John - Ave Maria (adapted to: Love Unknown)

public domainfor SATB a cappella

year of composition / 1st publication: 1919

Composer: John Ireland (1879-1962)Text author: Marnie Barrell

Composer: John Ireland (1879-1962), 1918
Aliases, aka:
Country of origin / activity: U.K.
Text author: Marnie Barrell (*1952), rev.2001
Arranger / Editor: N/A

Love Unknown (1919) - hymn tune - This text is assumed to be under copyright protection in the USA John Ireland Trust - Included in OUP Songs of Praise

Available documentation:

Score: free download available

Lyrics:  This text is assumed to be under copyright protection in the USA Marnie Barrell 2001

1. Hail Mary, full of grace! All generations, bless
our highly-favoured sister in her holiness!
Rejoice with her, who first received
God's Word made human, and believed.

2. Heaven and earth stand still while Mary, wrapped in thought,
accepts the words of joy and dread the angel brought
to bear the Christ, and hold him dear
in costly love, in pain and fear.

3. Courage and strength were hers when, virgin and alone,
she freely chose the will of God and made it her own.
She laughed, and sang a woman's song:
God lifts the weak, puts down the strong.

4. Now may we seek the path that Mary's feet once trod,
sufficient in herself to bear the fullness of God -
for Christ will come where faith and love
receive him still, and make him room.

MIDI:MP3: not available
Play / stop MIDI
alt: play midi Ireland - Hail Mary

not available 

Video - posted on YouTube:

Uploaded on Apr 7, 2010
The choir of King's College, Cambridge sing My Song Is Love Unknown. The choir are joined by the congregation in singing Samuel Crossman's words to the beautiful melody "love unknown" composed by John Ireland.

Internet references, biography information:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Nicholson Ireland (13 August 1879 – 12 June 1962) was an English composer.

John Ireland was born in Bowdon, near Altrincham, Manchester, into a family of Scottish descent and some cultural distinction. His father, Alexander Ireland, a publisher and newspaper proprietor, was age 70 at John's birth. John was the youngest of the five children from Alexander's second marriage (his first wife had died). His mother, Annie née Nicholson, was 30 years younger than Alexander. She died in October 1893, when John was 14, and Alexander died the following year, when John was 15.[1] John Ireland was described as "a self-critical, introspective man, haunted by memories of a sad childhood".[2]

By that time he began at the Royal College of Music. He studied piano and organ there, and later composition under Charles Villiers Stanford. He subsequently became a teacher at the College himself, his pupils including Richard Arnell and Ernest John Moeran (who both admired him); Benjamin Britten (who found Ireland's teaching less interesting); the socialist composer Alan Bush; Geoffrey Bush (no relation to Alan), who subsequently edited or arranged many of Ireland's works for publication; and Anthony Bernard. He was sub-organist at Holy Trinity Sloane Street, London SW1, and later became organist and choirmaster at St Luke's Church, Chelsea.
Ireland began to make his name in the early 1900s as a composer of songs and chamber music. His Violin Sonata No. 1 of 1909 won first prize in an international competition organised by the well-known patron of chamber music W. W. Cobbett. Even more successful was the premiere of his Violin Sonata No. 2, which drew crowds to the Wigmore Hall in London and attracted the interest of a number of publishers, including one who arrived on Ireland's doorstep the morning after the concert.[3]

Ireland frequently visited the Channel Islands and was inspired by their landscape. In 1912 he composed the piano piece The Island Spell while staying on Jersey, and his Sarnia for piano was written there in 1940. He was evacuated from the islands just before the German invasion during World War II.
John Ireland was a lifelong bachelor, except for a brief interlude when, in quick succession, he married, separated, and divorced. On 17 December 1926, aged 47, he married a 17-year pupil, Dorothy Phillips. This marriage was dissolved on 18 September 1928,[1] and it is believed not to have been consummated.[4] He took a similar interest in another young student, Helen Perkin (1909–1996), a pianist and composer, to whom he dedicated both the Piano Concerto in E flat and the Legend for piano and orchestra (which began life as a second concerto). She gave the premiere performance of both works,[1] but any thoughts he had for a deeper relationship with her came to nothing when she married George Mountford Adie, a disciple of George Gurdjieff, and she later moved with Adie to Australia.[5] Subsequently, Ireland withdrew the dedications. In 1947 Ireland acquired a personal assistant and companion, Mrs Norah Kirkby, who remained with him till his death.[1] Despite these associations with women, it is clear from his private papers that his interests lay elsewhere and many commentators support this view.[6]
On 10 September 1949, his 70th birthday was celebrated in a special Prom concert, at which his Piano Concerto was played by Eileen Joyce,[7] who was also the first pianist to record the concerto, in 1942.
Ireland retired in 1953, settling in the small hamlet of Rock in Sussex, where he lived in a converted windmill for the rest of his life. It was there where he met the young pianist Alan Rowlands who would be Ireland's choice to record his complete piano music.[8]
He died at age 82 in Washington, Sussex of heart failure. He is buried in Shipley churchyard near his home.

MusicFrom Charles Villiers Stanford, Ireland inherited a thorough knowledge of the music of Beethoven, Brahms and other German classical composers, but as a young man he was also strongly influenced by Debussy and Ravel as well as by the earlier works of Stravinsky and Bartók. From these influences, he developed his own brand of "English Impressionism", related more closely to French and Russian models than to the folk-song style then prevailing in English music.
Like most other Impressionist composers, Ireland favoured small forms and wrote neither symphonies nor operas, although his Piano Concerto is among his best works. His output includes some chamber music and a substantial body of piano works, including his best-known piece The Holy Boy, known in numerous arrangements. His songs to poems by A. E. Housman, Thomas Hardy, Christina Rossetti, John Masefield, Rupert Brooke and others, are a valuable addition to English vocal repertoire. Due to his job at St Luke's Church, he also wrote hymns, carols, and other sacred choral music; among choirs he is probably best known for the anthem Greater love hath no man, often sung in services that commemorate the victims of war. The hymn tune My Song Is Love Unknown is sung in churches throughout the English-speaking world, as is his Communion Service in C major.
He appears as pianist in a recording of his Fantasy-Sonata for Clarinet and Piano with Frederick Thurston,[9] and his Violin Sonata No. 1 (of 1909) with Frederick Grinke,[10] who performed and recorded several of his chamber works. His Piano Sonatina of 1926–27 and a number from his cycle Songs Sacred and Profane (1929) were dedicated to his friend the conductor and BBC music producer Edward Clark.[11][12][13]
Ireland wrote his only film score for the 1946 Australian film The Overlanders, from which an orchestral suite was extracted posthumously by Charles Mackerras. Some of his pieces, such as the popular A Downland Suite and Themes from Julius Caesar, were completed or re-transcribed after his death by his student Geoffrey Bush.

John Ireland (1879 - 1962)

John Ireland was born in Bowdon, near Manchester, England on 13th August 1879. His parents were literary people and knew many writers of the day, including Emerson. Ireland entered the newly-established Royal College of Music in London at the age of fourteen, lost both his parents shortly after, and had to make his own way as an orphaned teenager, studying piano, organ and composition. The last was under Sir Charles Stanford, who taught many of the English composers who emerged at the end of the 19th century: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Frank Bridge (born in the same year as Ireland), Eugene Goossens, Arthur Bliss, Herbert Howells, George Butterworth, and many others.

Ireland destroyed almost all his student works and juvenilia (the beautiful Sextet for clarinet, horn and string quartet being one of the few works which he permitted to be published, and then only towards the end of his life) and emerged as a celebrated composer towards the end of World War I when his Violin Sonata No.2 in A minor brought him overnight fame. From then until his death in 1962 he led an outwardly uneventful life combining composition, composition teaching at the Royal College (where his pupils included Benjamin Britten and E. J. Moeran), and his position as organist and choirmaster at St. Luke's Church, Chelsea, in London.

Ireland's music belongs to the school of 'English Impressionism'. Having been brought up on the German classics, notably Beethoven and Brahms, he was strongly influenced in his twenties and thirties by the music of Debussy, Ravel, and the early works of Stravinsky and Bartók. While many of his contemporaries, such as Vaughan Williams and Holst, developed a language strongly characterised by English folk song, Ireland evolved a more complex harmonic style closer to the French and Russian models. Like Fauré, he preferred the intimate forms of chamber music, song, and piano music to the larger orchestral and choral canvases, He wrote neither symphony (unlike his friend Arnold Bax who wrote seven) nor opera and only one cantata, These Things Shall Be, but his Piano Concerto is arguably the best to have been written by an Englishman, and is a work of intense emotion and nostalgic feeling.

Ireland was strongly influenced by English poetry. His settings of A. E. Housman, Thomas Hardy, Christina Rossetti, John Masefield and Rupert Brooke are among the best known of his works. He was also highly susceptible to the spirit of place. He lived for many years in London's Chelsea (Chelsea Reach is a depiction in the form of a barcarole of that great sweep of the Thames as it passes along the Embankment to the west of the Houses of Parliament). He was also devoted to the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey. Their location between England and France must have seemed appropriate to his musical orientation, but more importantly he found there traces of prehistoric pagan ritual to which he had originally been drawn through the writings of the Welsh writer Arthur Machen.

But perhaps his greatest love was for the English county of Sussex, a landscape of rolling downs and (in Ireland's day) isolated villages, including Amberley whose 'Wild Brooks' - streams coursing through fields - gave him the inspiration for one of the most brilliant of his piano pieces. Ireland eventually retired to Sussex in 1953 when he bought a converted windmill, Rock Mill, underneath the Downs. He died there on 12th June 1962.

Ireland's music is intensely personal in style and has always attracted a devoted following among discerning music lovers. As well as his Piano Concerto, previously mentioned, works that continue to be frequently performed and recorded are:

A Downland Suite and Concertino Pastorale for strings, The Overlanders, A London Overture, Mai-Dun, and The Forgotten Rite for orchestra, sonatas for cello and piano, violin and piano, and clarinet and piano, The Holy Boy, Sea Fever and his beautiful motet Greater Love (to name but a few). His hymn tune My Song is Love Unknown is sung in churches throughout the English speaking world.

Page last modified: December 02, 2013