ClassicsOnline Home » ALWYN, W.: Piano Music, Vol. 2 (Wass) - 12 Preludes / Contes Barbares / Movements > Review List

ALWYN, W.: Piano Music, Vol. 2 (Wass) - 12 Preludes / Contes Barbares / Movements

Composer(s):Alwyn, William
Artist(s) Wass, Ashley, piano
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.570464
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

Alwyn’s approach to writing for the piano was essentially that of a romantic, born out of the tradition exemplified by Liszt and Rachmaninov, through to the impressionism inherent in the music of Debussy and Ravel. Influences aside, however, Alwyn found his own individual way in writing for the piano, as can be heard from the works presented here. His intuitive writing for the instrument resulted not just in virtuoso pieces for the concert hall, but also sensitive miniatures of a highly expressive nature, along with many educational pieces for examination purposes. As with the previous volume of piano music (8.570359) examples of all these will be found on this recording.


Review By Em Marshall,Albion Magazine Online,January 2009

This second volume of Alwyn’s piano music is another first-rate recent Naxos release. [Vol 1 is 8.570359— Ed.] Played by Ashley Wass, who is making a name for himself in British piano music generally, it features the Twelve Preludes, Contes Barbares and Movements, as well as a number of shorter pieces. This record is well worth looking out for.

Review By Em Marshall,Albion Magazine Online,January 2009

Everything about this excellent collection of Elgar part-songs is wonderfully clean and clear: the sound, the enunciation, and the vocal lines. The Cambridge University Chamber Choir under Christopher Robinson sing with great precision and their diction is outstanding (listen to Death on the Hills, for example). On the negative side, the performance is sometimes a bit too measured so that there is no sense of thrill or exhilaration in the music. Nevertheless, these are good crisp performances of some wonderful songs, with top-quality singing.

Review By Giv Cornfield,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,December 2008

The thirty tracks on this generous CD cover a broad swath of this composer’s music, from 1926 to 1961, some never previously recorded. British pianist Ashley Wass gives the music his best shot, but one is not likely to walk away from hearing it humming a tune. For decades I was engaged in promoting contemporary music, mostly piano works, on records. In every case, the composer in question had a following among her/his students, friends and admirers, and foundations or individuals to help defray the cost of such activity. It takes a bold enterprise such as Naxos’ to continue such commendable activity.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,September 2008

Even among the arresting discoveries we have enjoyed in Naxos’s British Music Series, William Alwyn’s piano output is something very special.Born in 1905, Alwyn’s musical education was terminated while still a teenager, his father’s premature death making it necessary to earn a living. Yet such had been his achievements thus far at London’s Royal Academy of Music that at the age of twenty-two he returned there as a composition tutor. Commissions to write more than 60 film scores financially allowed Alwyn to devote much time in later life to ‘serious’ composition, though his unwillingness to join the latest trends did not please the musical establishment. Highly productive, he has left us with a large catalogue of music that included



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