The story of Arthur Bliss' career is one of steady assimilation to an assumed British mainstream of thumping big tunes to which he was--at least in his early post-Impressionist stage and his Jazz age modernist phase--something of an alien. Yet the ambitious 1939 Piano Concerto
includes all these aspects, satisfactorily combined in a work that alternates the magisterial and the mercurial, the gently flowing and the fiercely dynamic. It was written for Solomon, but Peter Donohoe has the work's measure, too, and makes it wholly his own.
This excellent disc usefully includes both Bliss' Piano Sonata from the 1950s and the Double Piano Concerto that he worked on at various points, and rewrote for various combinations of soloists, throughout his career. This Naxos release is a superlative bargain that allows us to get to know a composer whose Establishment status in old ages sometimes obscures his early radicalism and middle-period accomplishment. --Roz Kaveney