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Arnold Bax: Viola Sonata
I. Molto moderato - Allegro
II. Allegro energico e non troppo presto
III. Molto lento
Arnold Bax: Concert Piece
Concert Piece (Fantasy)
Arnold Bax: Legend
Arnold Bax: Trio
“Here is a stunningly coordinated reading of urgent drive, bold contrasts and edge-of-seat drama reminiscent of dedicatee Lionel Tertis's even fleeter 1929 recording with the composer and manages to knock more than four minutes off that of their transatlantic rivals. It's sensationally exciting in its way, but there's no escaping the fact that others convey the greater bardic poetry and affectionate warmth. Although a tad dry, Naxos's sound is accommodating. Reservations evaporate in the flamboyant Concert Piece (1904) and wintry Legend from 1929, both convincingly done, and proceedings conclude with the 1906 Trio in one movement for piano, violin and viola. In his autobiography Farewell,My Youth, Bax witheringly refers to it as 'a derivative and formless farrago', but the 'Irish' skip some five minutes in is characteristic. This dashing performance has real fire in its belly and strikes me as every bit the equal of Naxos's own rival version (see below) from Robert Plane and colleagues where the viola part is assigned to the clarinet (an option authorised by the composer). Don't let my minor niggles concerning the sonata deter you. Expertly annnotated by Lewis Foreman, here's a release that all Baxians should check out.”
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