Elgar: Piano Music

Elgar: Piano Music

by Ashley Wass
     
 

It's more than possible that even the most devoted Elgar aficionado might not know that the late Romantic English master of the symphony and the oratorio also wrote piano music. At first, Elgar, like his contemporaries Sibelius and Strauss, seems to be a composer whose invention is invariablySee more details below

Overview

It's more than possible that even the most devoted Elgar aficionado might not know that the late Romantic English master of the symphony and the oratorio also wrote piano music. At first, Elgar, like his contemporaries Sibelius and Strauss, seems to be a composer whose invention is invariably associated with the specific sound of the modern symphony orchestra, and that shorn of its coat of many orchestral colors, it would appear at best thin and threadbare. But as this disc of Elgar's piano music performed by the able young English pianist Ashley Wass proves, this was not at all the case. Indeed, while some of the works here are slighter salon pieces originally written for the instrument, the composer's transcriptions of "Dream Children" and the "Enigma Variations" sound nearly as magnificent played on the keyboard as by a full orchestra. The intimate melodies of "Dream Children" make wonderfully lyrical pieces à la Grieg and the "Variations"' character studies come off beautifully when reduced to their musical essence. And while it is true that the "Variations"' Finale's massive sonorities sound less impressive as rolled chords and tremolos, the sonorous depths of the famous "Nimrod" variation sound just as profound when played on the piano. Of course, Elgar's seductive salon pieces like "May Song" and "Carissima" can hardly match his mighty "Nimrod," but Wass makes as persuasive a case as possible for their occasional hearing by dedicated fans of the composer. Naxos' sound is honest and straightforward.

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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News - Scott Cantrell
[Grade: A-] Lovely, charming stuff, and Mr. Wass' generous rubato sounds just right.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/26/2006
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313016679
catalogNumber:
8570166
Rank:
223579

Tracks

  1. Sonatina for piano (2 versions)  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  2. Dream Children, for small orchestra (or piano), Op. 43  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  3. Pieces (3) for violin & piano, Op. 4: No. 1. Une Idylle  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  4. Carissima, for small orchestra (or piano)  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  5. May Song, for piano (also for violin & piano or orchestra)  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  6. Rosemary ("That's for remembrance - Douce pensée"), for orchestra  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  7. Echo's Dance, for piano  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  8. Characteristic Pieces (3), for orchestra, Op. 10: No. 2 Sérénade Mauresque  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass
  9. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36  - Edward Elgar  - Ashley Wass

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