Ashley Wass (piano)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
James Judd, conductor
The popular overture from Vaughan Williams’s incidental music for Aristophanes’s The Wasps introduces a suite whose mischievously witty, noble and farcical movements underline the play’s satire of the Athenian legal system.
A similar vivacity characterises his English Folksong Suite and The Running Set, where Vaughan Williams relishes setting tunes such as Barrack Hill, Irish Reel, The Blackthorn Stick and Cock o’ the North.
Folksong-like melodies also feature in his magnificent Piano Concerto, in which the magisterial influence of Bach and Busoni may also be heard.
"Make no mistake about it: this boy is special. What I love about his playing is its sincerity and tenderness. He doesn’t just caress the piano, he probes its soft depths with the utmost consideration.”
“The Piano Concerto of Vaughan Williams has been seriously undervalued… a performance as fine as this one from Ashley Wass will simply have one marvelling at the originality of the piece and its distinctive slant on the idea of a piano concerto.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009
“Ashley Wass's commanding way with the solo part is beautifully poised in the Romanza, while admirably resisting any temptation to smooth over the Toccata's hard edges. Both in the Concerto and in the more familiar territory elsewhere, James Judd secures orchestral accompaniments of brilliant colour and focus.”
BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 ****