Bax: Piano Sonatas Nos. 3 & 4; Water Music; Winter Waters

Bax: Piano Sonatas Nos. 3 & 4; Water Music; Winter Waters

by Ashley Wass


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Bax: Piano Sonatas Nos. 3 & 4; Water Music; Winter Waters

Ashley Wass offers his second disc of the piano works of Arnold Bax here, featuring Bax's "Third" and "Fourth Sonatas" and a few shorter pieces. The large, colorful orchestral sounds of Bax's writing are found in the "Sonata No. 3" and in the piece called "Water Music," while the "Sonata No. 4" and "Winter Waters" are more pianistic works, but no less dramatic. One can hear how easy it would be to inundate all of these works with even more pedal than Bax called for and more drama, making them trite examples of post-Romantic, lush melodrama. Wass avoids that and is able to make them utterly convincing with controlled yet sincere emotional expression. Even the "Sonata No. 4," which literature about piano repertoire has both praised and criticized, works well in his hands. The two outer movements focus more on form than on sound, representing Bax's dabbling in neo-Classicism, while the middle slow movement is more like his more Impressionist writing. Because Wass plays clearly and sensitively, he is able to bring out the beauty of the middle movement and yet make it sound more consistent with the outer movements. And even though the first and last movements are structured, they still have an energetic, lively grandeur, which allows the slow movement to become a tender respite between them. The last two works, "Country-Tune" and "O Dame Get Up and Bake Your Pies," are folk-ish nuggets of playfulness that are refreshing after the more substantial works. The sound of the recording allows the shadings of the music to come out with a degree of warmth, even in the darkly hued "Winter Waters."

Product Details

Release Date: 05/17/2005
Label: Naxos
UPC: 0747313259229
catalogNumber: 8557592


  1. Piano Sonata No. 3
  2. Piano Sonata No. 4
  3. Water Music, for piano
  4. Winter Waters, for piano
  5. Country-Tune, for piano
  6. O Dame Get Up and Bake Your Pies, variations for piano

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