Ireland, John: Berceuse for Violin and Piano
Although one of Ireland’s earliest published works, his Berceuse for violin and piano of 1902 displays the exemplary grace of salon music at its most sophisticated. The finely crafted melody wears lightly the elegance of the genre, as perfectly expressed in Elgar’s Chanson de Matin and Salut d’Amour. In the accompaniment, details of harmony suggest the influence of Tchaikovsky and a passionate utterance more typically Russian than English. Liberated by the innovations of Debussy and Ravel, Ireland in his later songs and piano solos would recreate this quality on his own terms; but the essence of his uniquely romantic voice feels already embryonically present in this exquisite Edwardian miniature.