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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 manner of harmonic and instrumental colours exploited to super effect, Arnold Bax’s Quintet is arguably a precursor of his later symphonies.
Frank Bridge’s early work (1904-5, revised 1912) combines his admiration for the music of Fauré with the highly integrated ‘fantasy’ techniques he honed when composing music for the famous Cobbett Prize.
Arnold Bax: Piano Quintet in G minor
I. Passionate and Rebellious (Tempo moderato)
II. Slow and Serious (Lento serioso)
III. Moderate tempo (Tempo moderato) - Allegro vivace - Lento con gran'espressione
Frank Bridge: Piano Quintet in D minor
I. Adagio - Allegro moderato - Adagio e sostenuto
II. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro con brio - Adagio ma non troppo
III. Allegro energico
“Wass and the Tippett Quartet rise magnificently to [the Bax's] challenges, striking the perfect balance between sheer OTT grandiloquence and intense and genuine feeling...this is a thrilling performance with the authentic all-or-nothing flavour.”
“Confounding the popular view of him as fey rural pastoralist, Bax's Piano Quintet is wonderfully off-the-leash and extreme...The Tippetts choose not to compromise their physical impact, nor Bax's obsessive-compulsive, hard-driven finale...I can't imagine the Bax receiving a more passionate, devoted performance.”
“At 41 minutes the Quintet may be on the long side but it certainly holds the interest throughout, particularly in a fine performance such as this by the Tippett Quartet and Ashley Wass, who obviously relishes the virtuoso element in the piano writing.”
16th December 2010
“[The Bax] brings the best out of pianist Ashley Wass and the Tippett Quartet, for they attack Bax's huge, teeming first movement with gung-ho intensity that sweeps all before it, and which they sustain right through the work.”
29th October 2010
“Conceived on a large scale and cunningly wrought, Arnold Bax’s Piano Quintet ...is given a vibrant performance by Ashley Wass and the Tippett Quartet, one that does not shy away from the music’s monumental architecture and density of texture but at the same time brings vitality to its Celtic melodic contours.”