Three Pastels is a set of three pieces for piano solo composed in 1941 by John Ireland.
John Nicholson Ireland was an English composer and teacher of music. The majority of his output consists of piano miniatures and of songs with piano. His best-known works include the short instrumental or orchestral work "The Holy Boy", a setting of the poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield, a formerly much-played Piano Concerto, the hymn tune Love Unknown and the choral motet "Greater Love Hath No Man".
A performance of all three pieces takes about 9 minutes. They are:
A pastel is an artwork made using a colouring medium in the form of a stick which consists of powdered pigment and a binder; the stick too is called a pastel. Pastel drawings are often delicate in tone, which may explain Ireland's choice of title for this set of gentle impressionistic pieces.
A pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. The color effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process.
Impressionism in music was a movement among various composers in Western classical music whose music focuses on suggestion and atmosphere, "conveying the moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than a detailed tone‐picture". "Impressionism" is a philosophical and aesthetic term borrowed from late 19th-century French painting after Monet's Impression, Sunrise. Composers were labeled impressionists by analogy to the impressionist painters who use starkly contrasting colors, effect of light on an object, blurry foreground and background, flattening perspective, etc. to make the observer focus his attention on the overall impression.
The title A Grecian Lad may have been taken from A. E. Housman's poem "Look not in my eyes, for fear", No. XV in his 1896 collection A Shropshire Lad . It refers to the Greek legend of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection:
Alfred Edward Housman, usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems wistfully evoke the dooms and disappointments of youth in the English countryside. Their beauty, simplicity and distinctive imagery appealed strongly to Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th-century English composers both before and after the First World War. Through their song-settings, the poems became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself.
A Shropshire Lad is a collection of sixty-three poems by the English poet Alfred Edward Housman, published in 1896. After a slow beginning, it rapidly grew in popularity, particularly among young readers. Composers began setting the poems to music less than ten years after their first appearance. Many parodies have also been written that satirise Housman's themes and stylistic characteristics.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. According to Tzetzes, he was a Laconian hunter who loved everything beautiful. Narcissus was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him, causing some to commit suicide to prove their unrelenting devotion to his striking beauty. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance or public perception.
A Grecian lad, as I hear tell,
One that many loved in vain,
Looked into a forest well
And never looked away again.
There, when the turf in springtime flowers,
With downward eye and gazes sad,
Stands amid the glancing showers
A jonquil, not a Grecian lad.
The jonquil is a species of narcissus, Narcissus jonquilla .
Narcissus jonquilla is a bulbous flowering plant, a species of Narcissus (daffodil) that is native to Spain and Portugal, but has now become naturalised in many other regions: France, Italy, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Madeira, British Columbia, Utah, Illinois, Ohio, and the southeastern United States from Texas to Maryland.
In the Middle Ages, it was a widespread custom to appoint a boy bishop, for example from among cathedral choristers, to parody the actual bishop on some particular church feast day.
Boy bishop was a name given to a custom very widespread in the Middle Ages, whereby a boy was chosen, for example among cathedral choristers, to parody the real bishop, commonly on the feast of Holy Innocents. This custom was linked with others, such as that of the Feast of Fools and the Feast of Asses.
Puck is a mischievous supernatural creature in Celtic folklore. He is perhaps best known from the character Puck in Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.
Camogie is an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women; it is almost identical to the game of hurling played by men. Camogie is played by 100,000 women in Ireland and worldwide, largely among Irish communities. It is organised by the Dublin-based Camogie Association or An Cumann Camógaíochta. UNESCO lists Camogie as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Henry Dixon Cowell was an American composer, music theorist, pianist, teacher, publisher, and impresario. His contribution to the world of music was summed up by Virgil Thomson, writing in the early 1950s:
Henry Cowell's music covers a wider range in both expression and technique than that of any other living composer. His experiments begun three decades ago in rhythm, in harmony, and in instrumental sonorities were considered then by many to be wild. Today they are the Bible of the young and still, to the conservatives, "advanced."... No other composer of our time has produced a body of works so radical and so normal, so penetrating and so comprehensive. Add to this massive production his long and influential career as a pedagogue, and Henry Cowell's achievement becomes impressive indeed. There is no other quite like it. To be both fecund and right is given to few.
Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin was an American pianist and composer.
Green Ways is a set of three short atmospheric piano works composed by John Ireland in 1937; the individual titles are The Cherry Tree, Cypress and The Palm and May. They were written when the composer was 57, and are among the last pieces he wrote for piano.
Marsh's Library, situated in St. Patrick's Close, adjacent to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland is a well-preserved library of the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment. When it opened to the public in 1707 it was the first public library in Ireland. It was built to the order of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh and has a collection of over 25,000 books and 300 manuscripts.
The Voice of the People is an anthology of folk songs produced by Topic Records containing recordings of traditional singers and musicians from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Two Pieces for Piano is a work for piano solo composed in 1921 by John Ireland (1879–1962).
Edvard Grieg's Lyric Suite is an orchestration of four of the six piano pieces from Book V of his Lyric Pieces, Op. 54. Both Grieg and the Austro-Hungarian conductor Anton Seidl had a hand in the orchestration. It consists of three pieces revised by Grieg from Seidl's arrangements, and one piece arranged by Grieg alone.
The Land of Lost Content is a song cycle for voice and piano composed in 1920–21 by John Ireland (1879–1962). It consists of settings of six poems by A. E. Housman from his 1896 collection A Shropshire Lad.
Preludes for Piano is a set of four short pieces for piano solo composed by John Ireland between 1913 and 1915. They were published in the latter year.
Two Pieces for Piano is a set of two pieces for piano solo composed in 1925 by John Ireland.
Two Pieces for Piano is a work for piano solo composed in 1929–30 by John Ireland.
Decorations is a set of three pieces for piano solo composed in 1912–13 by John Ireland.
Leaves from a Child's Sketchbook is a set of three pieces for piano solo composed in 1918 by John Ireland.
London Pieces is a set of three pieces for piano solo composed in 1917–20 by John Ireland.
Sarnia: An Island Sequence is a set of three pieces for piano solo composed in 1940–41 by John Ireland.
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