Arthur Bliss was one of the generation of English modernists who came of age in the shadow of Elgar and the Great War. In his time, Bliss was the last word in driving rhythms, gleaming colors, and dazzling virtuosity, but his time passed and these days Bliss enjoys a reputation south of Arnold and north of Brian in the Pleiades of English modernists.
This brilliant recording should help restore Bliss' reputation. The Piano Concerto is a grand work in the best virtuoso tradition, the Piano Sonata is a tough and sinewy work, and the Concerto for Two Pianos is a lighter and more lyrical work that pianist Peter Donohoe plays with precision and panache. Donohoe is one of the best English pianists of his generation and a compelling advocate of Bliss' music, turning in a bravura Concerto, a muscular Sonata, and a captivating two-piano Concerto with second pianist Martin Roscoe. David Lloyd-Jones leads the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in performances that are strong in themselves, yet wholly integrated with the soloist's conception of the works. Naxos' sound is crisp and vivid.