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Bridge - Piano Music, Vol 2 CD


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Product details

  • Composer: Frank Bridge
  • Audio CD (30 April 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000OQDRUK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,470 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Piano Sonata: I. Lento ma non troppo - Andante ben moderato - Allegro energico15:32Album Only
Listen  2. Piano Sonata: II. Andante ben moderato 9:20Album Only
Listen  3. Piano Sonata: III. Lento - Allegro ma non troppo 9:48Album Only
Listen  4. Lament: Lament, "Lament for Catherine" 4:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. 3 Improvisations for the Left Hand: No. 1. At Dawn 4:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. 3 Improvisations for the Left Hand: No. 2. A Vigil 2:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. 3 Improvisations for the Left Hand: No. 3. A Revel 1:49£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. 3 Sketches: No. 1. April 2:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. 3 Sketches: No. 2. Rosemary 4:02£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. 3 Sketches: No. 3. Valse capricieuse 1:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Moderato 2:55£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Pensees Fugitives: Pensees fugitives I 3:16£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Scherzetto: Scherzettino 4:43£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Sonate pour piano - Lament for Catherine - 3 Improvisations pour la main gauche - 3 Sketches - Moderato - Pensées fugitives I : Andante moderato - Scherzettino : Prestissimo / Ashley Wass, piano

Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Dodds on 29 July 2007
Format: Audio CD
This CD contains music of an exceptionally high quality, beautifully performed and recorded.

One of the earliest and most melodic pieces featured (track no. 12) dates from the summer of 1902 and was written when Frank Bridge was still a student at the Royal College of Music. It is an impressive work, especially for a young composer, and helps one appreciate why Bridge left the college with a glowing reference from its principal, Hubert Parry.

'Three Sketches', written in 1906, is likewise delightful. On the other hand, the CD contains music (again of a high calibre) that is mournful, reflective and tormented. This is true, for example, of 'Lament for Catherine.' Bridge wrote the piece in June 1915. He did so in memory of a girl he knew who had recently lost her life when the Lusitania was torpedoed.

The most tormented and awesome piece featured -- Bridge's most important solo work for the piano --is the sonata which dates from 1921-24. Bridge dedicated it to the memory of a friend and fellow composer killed as World War One was drawing to a close. The music reflects the pain and deep anguish that the war had engendered in Bridge and, owing to its intense, agitated and dark nature, was not well received by critics when it was first performed in 1925 but is now rightly regarded as a masterpiece.

I strongly recommend this CD. In my opinion it generally features superior material than that found on Bridge Piano Music Vol 1, though that CD is also well worth purchasing.

Although not as well known as composers such as Purcell, Elgar and Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge was undoubtedly one of the finest composers England has ever produced and this CD eloquently testifies to his awesome talent.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 27 July 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is Volume 2 of a three-volume series -- No. 3 has not been released yet -- of all of the piano music written by Frank Bridge (1879-1941) and it contains what is undoubtedly his most significant work for piano, the Piano Sonata (1921-24). Its three-year gestation period suggests how difficult it was for Bridge to write. This was for at least two reasons. It is a memorial to his friend, composer Ernest Farrar, who was killed on the front lines in World War I and by which the composer, a lifelong pacificst, was deeply saddened. And it also represents a major change in Bridge's musical style. He had, early on, written in a late Romantic style, and then he moved more towards impressionistic writing, influenced by Debussy and Scriabin, and finally he began writing more chromatic and bitonal music as exemplified by the Sonata and the Second Piano Trio. Because of its ground-breaking style, the piece was turned down by its intended first player, Harold Samuel, and was then premièred by Myra Hess at the Wigmore Hall in late 1925. There have been two other recordings of it that I'm aware of. Peter Jacobs played it beautifully on a Continuum CD perhaps ten years ago, and I understand that Mark Bebbington has recorded it for Somm; I have not heard the latter performance.

The Sonata takes more than half an hour, is in three movements of which the first is the longest. The first movement has two main themes -- both solemn, even agonized although the second theme has some tenderness as well -- that later figure in the succeeding movements. It is in extended sonata form and in spite of its unclear tonality one can make the form out even on first hearing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Woolley on 14 Dec. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anthony Wass' recordings of Bridge's piano music clearly fill a great gap as older recordings are now no longer widely available and pretty expensive. It's about time that this music is receiving more attention. Bridge, like many 'minor' composers, seems destined to be remembered for only a handful of works such as his orchestral suite 'The Sea'. He also sits uncomfortably within the traditional historiography of modernist music, which sees its principal driving force as the development of a more 'radical' musical language. For Bridge, the story goes that pretty much all his piano music apart from the 'radical' Piano Sonata, the principal work to be found on this recording, was light 'salon' music intended for genteel Edwardian audiences. This image is somewhat reinforced by the reproduction of Charles Sims' 'The Little Faun' on the cover of the CD. However, the mixing of types of piece and styles on the CD (and also in vol. 1 of the series) is refreshing. Interestingly, the Piano Sonata comes first and is followed by pieces of increasingly earlier date, including a few very early student pieces. Even in the earlier pieces Bridge's use of the pianistic idiom seems to be highly sophisticated. They clearly indicate a great affection for the instrument and its possibilities. Here there is definitely continuity between the 'salon' pieces and the Piano Sonata!

The recording is excellent quality and Wass's playing is highly polished and imaginative -- a highly recommended introduction to Bridge's music at a bargainous price. May it be a spur to other fine pianists to get into Bridge and see him alongside Debussy, Scriabin and the like!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Astonishing Sonata 17 Feb. 2008
By N. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A very lovely, strange sonata. It has an emotional power that lifts it above the sonatas of Bax (who in all fairness is a much better orchestral composer!), and deserves to be heard and played more. The second movement is particularly haunting. Wass' playing throughout is admirable. I would recommend this recording, and Bridge's Phantasms for piano and orchestra on the Lyrita label - probably the most impressive piano music I have heard from a British composer!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Bridge's Superb Piano Sonata 27 July 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is Volume 2 of a three-volume series -- No. 3 has not been released yet -- of all of the piano music written by Frank Bridge (1879-1941) and it contains what is undoubtedly his most significant work for piano, the Piano Sonata (1921-24). Its three-year gestation period suggests how difficult it was for Bridge to write. This was for at least two reasons. It is a memorial to his friend, composer Ernest Farrar, who was killed on the front lines in World War I and by which the composer, a lifelong pacifist, was deeply saddened. And it also represents a major change in Bridge's musical style. He had, early on, written in a late Romantic style, and then he moved more towards impressionistic writing, influenced by Debussy and Scriabin, and finally he began writing more chromatic and bitonal music as exemplified by the Sonata and the Second Piano Trio. Because of its ground-breaking style, the piece was turned down by its intended first player, Harold Samuel, and was then premièred by Myra Hess at the Wigmore Hall in late 1925. There have been two other recordings of it that I'm aware of. Peter Jacobs played it beautifully on a Continuum CD perhaps ten years ago, and I understand that Mark Bebbington has recorded it for Somm; I have not heard the latter performance.

The Sonata takes more than half an hour, is in three movements of which the first is the longest. The first movement has two main themes -- both solemn, even agonized although the second theme has some tenderness as well -- that later figure in the succeeding movements. It is in extended sonata form and in spite of its unclear tonality one can make the form out even on first hearing. It ends abruptly to be replaced by the consolatory middle movement containing a lovely tender theme, an all but unrecognizable modification of the first movement's second theme. The finale -- Lento - Allegro ma non troppo -- brings us back to music evoking the horrors of the War which the excellent booklet writer, Andrew Burn, says reminds him of newsreel footage of soldiers going to their doom 'over the top of the trenches'. The sonata ends by returning to the opening theme 'drained of all hope.' A powerful work that gains on repeated listening. It is played marvelously by the young and talented British pianist, Ashley Wass.

There are a couple of other latish short piano pieces included here: 'Lament for Catherine' (1915), written in memory of a child Bridge knew who died in the sinking of the Lusitania; it is probably better known in its string orchestra guise. And 'Three Improvisations for the Left Hand' (1918), written for a British pianist, Douglas Fox, who had lost his right arm in the war. The last of these, 'A Revel', is particularly virtuosic.

The CD ends with six works that are from Bridge's early late-Romantic period: Three Sketches (1906), Moderato (1903), Pensées fugitives I (1902 -- this is the only one of three Pensées fugitives Bridge finished), and Scherzettino: Prestissimo (1902). These are, for me, fairly negligible works although they have a certain charm.

For me the reason to have this disc is the Piano Sonata, certainly one of the finest piano sonatas written by a British composer. The earlier recording by Peter Jacobs is probably a little more 'settled in' and thus somewhat more immediately effective, but Wass's performance is also quite good and in any case the Jacobs is more than likely a bit difficult to obtain now.

Strongly recommended for the Piano Sonata primarily.

Scott Morrison
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
hypnotic 25 Jan. 2011
By jsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The music of Frank Bridge, who was a pacifist, changed significantly after the Great War, which by all accounts deeply affected him. The pastoral and impressionistic works of his early career - The Sea, Three Idylls, Rosemary, Suite for String Orchestra etc - were largely replaced by darker-hued and then astringent compositions. The change was gradual though: during the War, observed one Bridge biographer, "the leaf is beginning to wither on the bough and mildew settles on the landscape." Afterward, the composer "gradually pitched into a world of night music, sour fanfares, Gehennas of the psyche, despairing dreams, bitterly grim marches and negation."

The Piano Sonata (1921-24), which is the centerpiece of this absorbing program from Ashley Wass, may incorporate Bridge's reaction to the horrors of the War, but it will surprise the listener who is willing to temporarily set aside historical context and approach the music without preconceived notions. By listening without a specific program in mind, I found that the Sonata, by building on certain themes, first and foremost has an otherworldly cast to it. There's none of the jagged dissonance that Prokofiev brought to his War sonatas; instead, there's a mystical feel to the whole thing, as if the plane we're visiting is inhabited by ghosts. The effect is both fascinating and hypnotizing. Contrary to what one might expect, it's not bleak, harrowing, tragic or even depressing. I didn't envision scorched earth scenarios, nor did it call up the "menacing march of destruction, which vividly evokes archive newsreel images of wave upon wave of soldiers going over the top of trenches, only to be mercilessly mown down" described by Andrew Burns in his liner notes. Ultimately, if one considers the historical context, my sense is that this extraordinary music is a meditation on the War rather than a description of it, and this implies an entirely different thing. I wonder if I'm alone in thinking that the Sonata may be the greatest thing Frank Bridge wrote.

In an insightful stroke of programming, the Sonata is followed by "Lament for Catherine," a haunting work from 1915 written to memorialize a nine year old girl who drowned in the Lusitania disaster. The mood is serious; however, it is a lament with an otherworldly feel to it, not a funeral march. The mood shifts with the Three Improvisations for the Left Hand (1918), imaginative pieces that were written for a pianist who lost his right arm in the War. The tone of these pieces, along with the Sketches and other short works that conclude this program, is English modernist/impressionist and complement the Sonata and "Lament."

Ashley Wass delivers thoroughly convincing performances of this truly rewarding music and the sonics are excellent. Five stars
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