Laurence Jackson

Arnold Bax: Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2

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For fans of the music of Arnold Bax, this second volume in Naxos' series of recordings of the composer's complete works for violin and piano will be required listening. Most of the works here have rarely if ever been recorded before, much less been released on a label with international distribution; even those works that have had that distinction have rarely if ever been performed with such style and panache as they are here. As on the first volume, violinist Laurence Jackson and pianist Ashley Wass couple a large-scale and relatively well-known sonata with several shorter and far less known works. The disc opens with the huge, four-movement Violin Sonata No. 2 from 1915, follows it with the Ballade from 1916 and the Legend from 1915, follows them with the very early Sonata movement marked Allegro appassionato from 1901 and concludes with the Sonata in F major from 1928, a two-movement work later rescored then published and performed as the Nonet, which was not performed in its original form until the centenary of the composer's birth in 1983. And as before, Jackson and Wass turn in entirely persuasive performances. Jackson has a focused tone and a strong bow arm, while Wass has a polished technique and a keen sense of form; together they make the best imaginable case for this music. Recorded in Potton Hall in Westleton, Suffolk, in 2004 and 2005, Naxos' digital sound is close, warm, and present.

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