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Arnold Bax: Quintet for harp and strings
I. Tempo moderato
III. Tempo primo
Arnold Bax: Elegiac Trio
Arnold Bax: Phantasy Sonata
I. Allegro molto
II. Allegro moderato
III. Lento espressivo
Arnold Bax: Sonata for Flute and Harp
I. Allegro moderato
III. Moderato giocoso
“Some of the best Bax is here. In these atmospheric pieces he was able to throw off the fetters of inherited symphonic forms and allow his Celtic fantasy to pursue its own improvisatory course. The melodic writing is free and fertile. Bax's harp writing is especially poetic. Best of all is the short, moody Elegiac Trio. The Fantasy Sonata, for harp and viola, is remarkable for the way it holds the attention for well over 20 minutes; not easy with two such reticent instruments. The six musicians of Mobius play this music with feeling, imagination and energy, proof that harp music doesn't have to be all elfin and willowy.”
“ensemble of seven prize-winning instrumentalists from four different countries, and their scrupulously shaded, fervent playing betokens a very real empathy with this gorgeous repertoire. In both the Elegiac Trio and Harp Quintet these artists favour a more boldly etched, less delicately evanescent approach than that of the Nash Ensemble (which is perhaps marginally more successful in distilling the poignant heartache of two works indissolubly associated with the tragic events of the 1916 Easter Rising). Especially valuable is the impassioned rendering of the marvellous Fantasy Sonata for harp and viola of 1927. Certainly, harpist Alison Nicholls (a beguiling presence throughout) copes heroically with the daunting technical demands of Bax's writing (tailored for the virtuosity of the great Russian harpist, Maria Korchinska); moreover, she's splendidly partnered by violist Ashan Pillai. Likewise, the engagingly relaxed Sonata for Flute and Harp emerges with delightful freshness, its plangent central 'Cavatina' as haunting as ever. Sound and balance are just fine. Terrific value and strongly recommended.”
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