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Bax: The Nonet and other chamber music
“A truly first-rate modern recording of Bax's Nonet. What a bewitching creation it is, overflowing with invention and breathtakingly imaginative in its instrumental resource (the sounds created are often almost orchestral). Bax worked on the Nonet at the same time (1929- 30) as he was composing his Third Symphony and there are striking similarities between the two. The Nash Ensemble gives a masterly, infinitely subtle reading.
The remainder of the disc brings comparable pleasure. The delightful Oboe Quintet (written for Leon Goossens in 1922) receives immensely characterful treatment, especially the jaunty, Irish-jig finale (such richly communicative playing).
The same is true of the lovely Harp Quintet, essayed here with rapt intensity and delicious poise. In the hands of these stylish artists, the Elegiac Trio possesses a delicacy and poignancy that are really quite captivating. That just leaves the engaging Clarinet Sonata, a work that has fared well in the recording studio over the last few years. Suffice to report, Michael Collins and Ian Brown are compelling advocates, and theirs is a performance to set beside (if not supersede) all rivals. Beautiful sound throughout.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Bax: Harp Quintet
“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.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2000
“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.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Trios for Flute, Harp & Viola by Bax, Debussy, Ravel, Mathias and Dubois
Bax and Debussy, almost simultaneously and without collusion, created works for flute, viola and harp, and many other composers have written for this combination of instruments since. This disc brings many of them together under the “Terzetti” heading.
The Debussy Ensemble comprises Susan Milan (flute), Ieuan Jones (harp) and Matthew Jones (viola). Many of these works were performed by the Trio at the Purcell Room in late March 2010 (preceded by a performance on R3 “In Tune”).
“The eponymous trio gave a restrained, somewhat understated, performance, which brought out the longing of the music. As an encore, we were treated to a miniature by Théodore Dubois which brought the evening to a serene close. I look forward to hearing the Debussy Ensemble in more repertoire for this combination of instruments for if anyone can create interest in it, these are the people to look to.” Musical Opinion
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Debussy, Ravel & Bax: Works for harp and flute
Mary Golden (harp), Megan Meisenbach (flute), Whit Dudley (harp), Ronald Neal (violin), Delmar Pettys (violin), David Hermann (viola), Gayane Manasjan (cello), Richard MacDowell (clarinet), Leslie Jeffrey (flute), Kiyoshi Tamagawa (celesta), Bruce Williams (viola)
British Chamber Music for Flute, Viola & Harp
Rachel Talitman (harp), Marcos Fregnani-Martins (flute) & Pierre-Henry Xuereb (viola)
A delightful programme of British chamber works, spanning several generations, brought together by this talented trio of musicians. A musical journey, via Bax to the modern composition of Jonathan Lloyd. No listed competition for this programme.
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Triocca: Trios for Flute, Viola & Harp
Ríona Ó Duinnín (flute), Nancy Johnson (viola), Geraldine O'Doherty (harp)
This is the debut release from a group who have gone from strength to strength since Ríona Ó Duinnín (flute), Nancy Johnson (viola) and Geraldine O'Doherty (harp) first played together in 2003. Triocca won a place on Music Network's Young Musicwide scheme three years later, have performed to critical and public acclaim in Europe and Asia and have premiered works by James Wilson, Philip Martin, Eric Sweeney and Linda Buckley, amongst others.
Triocca: Trios for Flute, Viola & Harp reveals how great ensembles are much more than the sum of their parts. Music from Arnold Bax, Debussy and Hamilton Harty is illuminated by the attention to detail and sheer pleasure these musicians take in their playing. Triocca's selection and treatment of works from Irish composers Philip Martin and Eric Sweeney is marked by the way they always pursue substance over style with regard to new music.
Everyone who has heard this CD from the photographer and designers to various lyric staff and friends has loved the music. Triocca: Trios for Flute, Viola & Harp seems to have that melodic and artistic integrity that manages to appeal both to the classical purist and those with more catholic tastes in music.
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