Bax: Symphonic Variations (Ashley Wass/ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ James Judd) (Naxos: 8.570774)
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Bax completed five works for piano and orchestra, beginning in 1916 with the highly virtuosic 'Symphonic Variations' dedicated to the pianist Harriet Cohen. The work was likened by Rosa Newmarch, who wrote the programme note for the first performance, 'to some great epic poem dealing with the adventures of a hero.... passing through a number of different experiences.'
The 'Concertante for Piano (Left Hand) and Orchestra' (1949) is on a smaller scale. The romantic slow movement opens with a beautiful and haunting piano tune which gives way to a brooding atmospheric middle section, coloured by typical Baxian orchestral textures, like swirling mists in a nocturnal vision of some Irish coastal vista.
\The young pianist Ashley Wass play[s] impeccably - not only stylishly, but also with subtle, expressive shading and lovely liquid tone quality." The Independent"