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Elgar: Piano Music / Ashley Wass


Release Date: 09/26/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570166   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In days of yore, when the piano served as ye olde home entertainment center, a great demand existed for small pieces that were easy on the ear and required from the pianist just enough ability to get around the keyboard. Like many composers, Elgar was not averse to earning a quick buck, and he happily churned out such keyboard fluff or revamped pre-existing compositions when he was not writing symphonies, oratorios, and other serious fare.

Yet even the slightest piano trifles can sound like mini-masterpieces when the performer takes the trouble to play them artistically. And that's precisely what Ashley Wass does. His instinctive, natural sounding rubato and gift for lyrical inflection ennoble pieces such as Une idylle
Read more (originally for violin and piano) and Carissima. The Sonatina's brisk second movement is imaginatively pointed, and seems to dance off of the page.

Although the Enigma Variations' textural complexity and orchestral ingenuity are considerably compromised in Elgar's keyboard reworking (those horrid silent-movie tremolos in the finale!), much of the music proves quite effective in purely pianistic terms. For example, you might consider Variation Eleven (G.R.S.) the love child of Brahms and Rachmaninov, while Variation Three (R.B.T.) takes on a more austere personality. Without the orchestra's sustaining power, the theme and the famous Ninth Variation (Nimrod) can easily fall apart, yet Wass' concentrated phrasing, chord voicings, and control of dynamics substantiate his slow tempos. There's enough Elgar piano music to fill another volume; will Naxos and Wass follow suit?

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonatina for Piano by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889/1931; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 4 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
2.
Une idylle, Op. 4 no 1 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
3.
Carissima by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
4.
May Song by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901/1928; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
5.
Danse pensée "Rosemary" by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
6.
The Sanguine Fan, Op. 81: no 7, Allegro "Echo's Dance" by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1917; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1917
St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
7.
Characteristic Pieces (3), Op. 10: no 2, Sérénade mauresque by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
8.
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898-1899; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 32 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 
9.
Dream Children, Op. 43 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Ashley Wass (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; England 
Venue:  St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK 
Length: 6 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK (01/30/2006 - 02/01/2006) 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Brillant August 18, 2014 By RUTH L. (Young, New South Wales) See All My Reviews "Ashley Wass gives a wonderfully delicate rendition of Elgar's piano music. Very expressive and moving. Great introduction for students to Edward Elgar. Highly recommend this recording to anyone!" Report Abuse
 Lovely Album March 4, 2012 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "This offering was a revelation. I didn't know Elgar had written anything of significance for piano--every piece included is indeed significant. The piano playing is so expressive!" Report Abuse
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