Alessio Bax plays an Italian inspired programme, picking his favourite pieces taken from a rich history of music from one of the most romantic countries in the world.
He opens the programme with a J.S. Bach transcription of a oboe concerto by Venetian composer Alessandro Marcello, which reveals a deep insight into Bach’s mind. This is followed by Rachmaninov’s last ever work for solo piano, which is incredibly eloquent, introspective and personal. The Dallapiccola continues this eloquent theme, showing some beautifully crafted dodecaphonism. The recording is rounded off with two pieces of Liszt, which take the listener on a multi-legged journey through hell, purgatory and heaven, with beauty and drama along the way.
This Italian’s salute to his home country is inspired indeed. The standout performance is a spellbinding account of the Dante Sonata in which Bax masterfully combines scrupulous observation of Liszt’s agogics and dynamics (trusting the composer here really does pay dividends) with quite thrilling bravura in which he throws caution to the wind. Few accounts of the first two pages are so filled with menace and mystery.