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Bax: Clarinet Sonatas, Trios / Plane, Gould Piano Trio


Release Date: 05/16/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557698   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arnold Bax
Performer:  Benjamin FrithLucy GouldAlice NearyRobert Plane
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The works on this collection cover pretty much the entire span of Bax's composing career. The Clarinet Sonata in E and the Romance are among Bax's earliest (around 1901) published compositions, and both display the strong influence of Brahms. Five years later came the one-movement Trio where Bax's emerging style had by now expanded to reflect his immersion in the music of Scriabin and Debussy. Even so, there are many hints of the composer's mature style in this rhapsodic work, which originally was scored for piano, violin, and viola. Bax's well-considered revision provides ample opportunities for clarinetist Robert Plane, who takes to the part with discernible relish, playing with gorgeous tone and rhythmic acuity throughout--just as he Read more does in the earlier Sonata and Romance.

The D major Clarinet Sonata (1934) is a work of Bax's full maturity, easily recognizable by its distinctive harmonic language, rhythmic sense, and frequently winsome mood--this last which Plane captures perfectly in his free-flowing rendition. The mood turns elegiac for the Folk-Tale, which features beautiful and quite moving writing for cello and piano, masterfully conveyed by Alice Neary and Benjamin Frith. Finally, Bax's 1945 Piano Trio in B-flat proved to be his last chamber work. This is now the composer we know from the symphonies--indeed, the first movement, with its persistent jig-rhythm and fast-slow-fast formal plan has much in common with Bax's Symphony No. 4. It's a marvelous work that relaxes for a languorous middle movement, then perks up again with a stimulating 5/8 finale. The Gould Piano Trio's superlative performance crowns this most enjoyable disc, which includes the added benefit of excellent recorded sound. Bax fans, this one's for you.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Trio for Piano and Strings in B flat major by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano), Lucy Gould (Violin), Alice Neary (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 20 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/21/2004 - 12/23/2004) 
2. Folk Tale for Cello and Piano by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Alice Neary (Cello), Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/21/2004 - 12/23/2004) 
3. Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in D major by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Robert Plane (Clarinet), Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/21/2004 - 12/23/2004) 
4. Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E major by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano), Robert Plane (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/21/2004 - 12/23/2004) 
5. Romance for Clarinet and Piano by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Benjamin Frith (Piano), Robert Plane (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/21/2004 - 12/23/2004)
This work is sometimes listed as the second movement of the Clarinet Sonata in E major (1901). 
6. Trio in one movement for Violin, Viola/Clarinet and Piano by Arnold Bax
Performer:  Lucy Gould (Violin), Robert Plane (Clarinet), Benjamin Frith (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gould Piano Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; England 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (12/21/2004 - 12/23/2004) 

Sound Samples

Piano Trio in B flat major: I. Allegro con brio
Piano Trio in B flat major: II. Adagio (alla breve) con moto
Piano Trio in B flat major: III. Tempo moderato e molto ritmico
Clarinet Sonata in D major: I. Molto moderato
Clarinet Sonata in D major: II. Vivace
Folk Tale
Clarinet Sonata in E major
Romance
Trio

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
  Nice Recording April 9, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The clarinet features prominently in this eclectic collection of chamber works by Arnold Bax. Composed over a period of 45 years (1901-1946), the pieces on the program are easy on the ear, with a restrained, British ambiance that should find favor with serious chamber fans. Clarinetist Robert Plane joins the Gould Piano Trio (or more correctly various members of the Gould Piano Trio)for 2 clarinet sonatas, a romance for clarinet and piano, and finally the excellent trio for piano, violin, and clarinet). The recording opens with Bax's piano trio from 1946, with the Gould Piano Trio delivering a very fine reading of this work from late in the composer's career. The clarinet sonatas are well played, of course; whether or not one considers the mix of clarinet and piano sufficient to produce a compelling sound world is open to question, at least in my mind. The addition of the violin in the final trio (piano, violin, and clarinet, as listed above) makes all the difference in the world, because here one finds an excellent composition, full of vitality and dynamism. Naxos' sonic qualities are first rate, as usual, and the listener gets a lot of bang for his buck with the program lasting over 75 minutes. Overall, I found this to be a pleasant chamber music recording, and I think it deserves a listen." Report Abuse
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