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Piano Quintets


Price: CDN$ 10.05 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details

  • Performer: Wass; Tippett Quartet
  • Composer: Bax; Bridge
  • Audio CD (Nov. 16 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B0043XCKSU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,291 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By S Svendsen TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 18 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The two piano quintets on this CD were composed just a few years apart, Arnold Bax's in 1914-15 and Frank Bridge's in 1912 (his revision of the 1904-5 original). Bax's seems by far to be the most inventive and is thematically Celtic. Impressions of drifting clouds and choppy seas are called forth. There are plenty of contrasts between the whispering strings and the tempestuous piano. Themes from the first movement are reintroduced in the third by different instruments. Bridge's work is more stately and serene, not as challenging, having fewer twists and turns, but the second movement's lively scherzo is stylistically reminiscent of Grieg or Mendelssohn. The performances from 2009 by Ashley Wass on piano and the strings of the Tippett Quartet are expressive and well nuanced interpretations of these fine British composers' works.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
first rate--another standout Naxos release March 15 2011
By John K. Gayley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was actually taken aback at how much I enjoyed this CD. Oh, I was expecting to enjoy it and all, but it really bowled me over. The renditions here are incredibly well played, and the pieces entirely representative of the early phases of Bax's and Bridge's respective composing careers. A great release by Naxos. Highly recommended.

The Bax quintet (the more challenging--but rewarding--of the two) catches the composer in full celtic cry, in a composition that really feels more like a symphony packed into a quintet. Those who know and love his symphonies will find much to love here. I was particularly struck by the inventiveness of the musical language, particularly in the first movement.

The Bridge quintet is a lovely, late romantic chamber piece of the "phantasy" mold that he (and others such as Ireland) composed for musical competitions.

Hard to beat this quality for the price. btw Ashley Wass' recordings of the Bax violin sonatas (also on Naxos) are equally first rate.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A real winner! Dec 11 2010
By Steven A. Reading - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you know either of these composers and wish to expand your experience of their rarely-heard
music, you will want to get this recording. No reservations. Both works are representative
of these composers at their best and most idiomatic.

The performances are committed and full of the imagination these works require, especially the
very large-scaled Bax. And the recorded sound is up-front enough to get you into the music.

In every way, a superb issue of two little known piano quintets. Wass and the Tippett Quartet
once again reveal how fortunate we are to have so many outstanding chamber music groups exploring,
performing and recording repertoire which many of us rarely, if ever, have heard! In spite of
all the doomsday rhetoric, we are truly in a golden age for chamber music exploration right now.

Thanks, again, to Naxos, for being one of the innovative companies who encourage this with such
creative content, excellent artists and sound, and a reasonable price for the buyer/experiment!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
worthy additions to the British chamber music catalogue Dec 12 2010
By jsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The piano quintet of Arnold Bax is a highly regarded but infrequently recorded chamber work from the great English composer's "early maturity" (1914-15). Indeed, this new recording by Ashley Wass and the Tippett Quartet appears to be the first to come on the scene since a 1992 Chandos disc from David Norris and the Mistry Quartet (Bax: Piano Quintet / String Quartet 2), which I haven't heard. The music itself is outstanding, and given the revival of interest in Bax's chamber works it's nice to see this new recording at budget price from the very capable pianist Wass, even if it seems a bit of a mystery as to why this work has been neglected for so long. Pianist John McCabe in an interview with Robert Barnett, editor of the British Music Society Newsletter, called the Quintet "superb," but also said "I haven't played it - I looked at it once, but this is a case where the writing demands a bigger hand than mine, or that's the impression I got. (The same is true of the Bridge [Quintet], which is another marvelous piece I can't contemplate!)." In any case, it took me a couple of listens to really appreciate what Bax was up to here - the turbulent string parts in the first movement seemed almost off-putting at first - but the beauty of the second movement, the Celtic roots of which are a common thread in the works of Bax, caught me completely; and the third movement completed the final panel of a Baxian triptych.

The Bridge Piano Quintet is well represented in the catalogue, including what's supposed to be a fine recording by Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet (Bridge: Piano Quintet, String Quartet No. 4, Three Idylls); however, familiar as I am with the chamber works from this composer, this one was new to me. The Quintet was composed 1904-05 and received its first performance in 1907, only to be withdrawn and rewritten by Bridge and then reintroduced in 1912. While I hesitate to make such comparisons, the Quintet is reminiscent in a certain way of Faure, but it's not derivative. The musical language is that of early Bridge, which is to say, Bridge before the Great War, the impact of which is evident in his later and sometimes more astringent works.

The recorded sound is excellent; and I'm happy to see that Naxos has dispensed with the saccharin cover art adorning some of their earlier Bax and Bridge releases and instead has designed an atmospheric cover that's compatible with the music inside. Warmly recommended.

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