Alessio Bax

Lullabies for Mila

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Lullabies for Mila is not an album dictated by a marketing concept or any other outside force; rather, it is a selection of pieces not only dedicated to the young daughter of pianist Alessio Bax, but actually suggested by him as conducive to getting her to sleep. Mila's mother, pianist Lucille Chung, appears on a couple of four-hand arrangements of Brahms waltzes. Bax weaves a spell that develops not only within the individual pieces, but over the first half of the program, starting with limpid Grieg and pulling out the venerable Bach arrangements by Alexander Siloti, Leopold Godowsky, and Egon Petri to excellent effect (sample one of these for Bax's smooth, just-short-of-sentimental tone here). Then he breaks the mood at the end with the slow movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595: that kid isn't going to sleep if she finds an entire symphony orchestra crowded into her room. There were any number of late Mozart solo piano slow movements that could have filled the bill. But there are various small pleasures along the way, and not only for kids: the Scriabin Prelude for the left hand, Op. 9, No. 1, is not something you'd expect to hear in this context. Indeed, Bax avoids obvious choices throughout. Beautifully recorded, this is recommended, especially for listeners with small children.

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