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Recognised as rising stars of their generation, pianist Ashley Wass and the Tippett Quartet join forces to present two contrasting yet equally engaging British piano quintets. Conceived on a grand, expansive scale and influenced by Celtic music, with all
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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!
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.
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 The Quintet was composed 1904-05 and received its first performance in 1907, only to be withdrawn and rewritten by Bridge and then reintroduced in 1912.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.