The second of three volumes devoted to Andrés Isasi’s complete string quartets is again performed by the composer’s foremost champions, the Isasi Quartet, who premièred all the works on this recording. String Quartet No 4 in D major reveals his vibrant and imaginative use of textures and his affiliations with the music of Dvořák. Though unfinished, the 1921 String Quartet No 3 in E minor fuses melodic richness and serenity. Each of the three smaller pieces shows contrast and warmth, not least the beautifully eloquent Prelude in A major.
The real life marriage of concert pianists, Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, has led to one of the leading piano duos of their generation. To cite the UK magazine Music and Arts, “Theirs is a marriage of wondrous colours and dextrous aplomb, subtly balanced to make a musical performance sound as one.” Stavinsky’s 'Petrouchka' was originally arranged for four-hands by the composer as a rehearsal score for the Ballet Russes production of the same name, but in this stripped-down version it brings Stravinsky’s melodic, rhythmic and harmonic inventiveness to the fore. Brahms’ 16 Waltzes Op.39 are an enchanting collection of Romantic miniatures that simultaneously nod to the musical lineage of the composer’s home in Vienna whilst asserting his own flair and individuality. The final four tangos by Piazzolla are a full of Argentine flair and vigour, and were arranged especially for this recording by Bax & Chung.
Sir Andrew Davis is among the most distinguished interpreters of British music today and here turns to the works of Sir Arnold Bax. With the inclusion of the Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra, this album marks the completion of Chandos’s long project to record Bax’s complete orchestral music over time.