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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) 

Sound Samples

Sonatina in G major: I. Andantino
Sonatina in G major: II. Allegro
Enfants d'un reve (Dream Children), Op. 43: I. Andantino
Enfants d'un reve (Dream Children), Op. 43: II. Allegretto piacevole
3 Pieces, Op. 4: No. 1. Idylle
Carissima
May Song
Douce pensee, "Rosemary"
The Sanguine Fan, Op. 81: No. 7: Allegro, "Echo's Dance" (piano adaptation)
3 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10 (arr. for piano): 3 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10: No. 2. Serenade mauresque (arr. piano)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Theme
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 1: C. A. E. (The Composer's Wife)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 2: H. D. S-P. (Hew David Steuart-Powell)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 3: R. B. T. (Richard Baxter Townshend)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 4: W. M. B. (William Meath Baker)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 5: R. P. A. (Richard Penrose Arnold)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 6: Ysobel (Isabel Fitton)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 7: Troyte (Troyte Griffith)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 8: W. N. (Winifred Norbury)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 9: Nimrod (A. J. Jaeger)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 10: Intermezzo: Dorabella (Dora Penny)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 11: G. R. S. (George Robertson Sinclair)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 12: B. G. N. (Basil G. Nevinson)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 13: Romanza: *** (Lady Mary Lygon)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma" (version for piano): Var. 14: Finale: E. D. U. (The Composer)

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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