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- John Ireland - Constant Lambert -

   LINKS to other pages in this site and to other sites in the Travelling Days series:

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JOHN IRELAND was born in Bowdon, Manchester, England on 13 August 1879. In 1893 Ireland was admitted to the Royal College of Music in London and studied piano, organ and composition. Shortly after he entered the college his parents died and Ireland had to fend for himself in order to survive as well as completing his training.

    With the appearance of his Violin Sonata No.2 in A minor during the time of the 1914-18 war he became acknowledged as composer of great talent. Ireland's professional life was spent composing, teaching composition at the Royal College of music (his pupils included Benjamin Britten, Geoffrey Bush and Moeran), and as music director at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea, London.

    Ireland’s music includes only a dozen or so short orchestral works such as ‘A London Overture’, ‘A Downland Suite’, ‘Epic March’ and ‘The Overlanders’ Ireland1.jpg - 37061 Bytes(for the film of the same name), some sonatas for violin, cello and clarinet, and pieces for brass band. He was a prolific writer of songs (often settings of English poetry by writers such as John Masefield, A.E. Houseman and Thomas Hardy) and music for solo pianoforte.   He wrote a Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, which was championed by Eileen Joyce, and choral works, including a cantata, ‘These Things Shall Be’, and ‘Vexilla Regis’.   His hymn tune set to ‘My Song is Love Unknown’ is included in most traditional church hymn books.

    In his retirement in 1953 he went to live in a converted mill in Sussex, a part of the country that had come to love and which provided the inspiration for his ‘Downland Suite. He died on 12 June 1962.

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CONSTANT LAMBERT was born in London on 23 August 1905 to Russian and Australian parents. At the age of 17 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in 1922 where he studied under Vaughan Williams, R.O Morris, George Dyson (composition) and Malcolm Sargent (conducting).

    In 1928 he composed the ballet score ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for the Diaghilev ‘Ballet Russes’. Much of his work was increasingly influenced by jazz, especially that performed by Duke Ellington.   The first of his compositions to be written in the jazz style was ‘Elegiac Blues’ (1927), to be followed by the choral fantasia, ‘The Rio Grande’ (1928), which firmly established him as a significant composers of the twentieth century. Other jazz-related compositions, his Piano Sonata and Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments, appeared shortly afterwards.

lambert1.jpg - 21533 Bytes     In the 1930s to early 1950s Lambert concentrated more on conducting and, with Ninette de Valois, in building up the Vic Wells Ballet.   Lambert's music for the ballets ‘Horoscope’ and ‘Tiresias’ was written and performed in this period. He died from diabetes in 1951, shortly after the first performance of the latter work.

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