Here's your disc of the week for Feb. 3, 2013. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.
Artist: Alessio Bax, piano.
Repertoire: Johannes Brahms: Ballades, Op. 10; Eight Klavierstücke, Op. 76, and Variations on a Theme of Paganini.
Label: Signum Records.
Among the younger generation of international piano virtuosos, Alessio Bax is one of the most compelling. Born in Bari, Italy, a winner of the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition as well as a prestigious Avery Fisher career grant, Bax has laid the foundation of what promises to be a sustained, serious career.
Married to Canadian pianist Lucille Chung, with whom he performs in an acclaimed piano duo, Bax is based in New York. There, he's a regular with the Chamber Music at Lincoln Centre Series which features New York's A-list classical musicians in intimate performances. But it's through his studio recordings that Bax is building an international following.
Just out is his seventh CD (he's also recorded two as half of the Bax/Chung Piano Duo) and in many ways it's his most impressive. Previous forays into repertoire by Rachmaninov and Bach reveal a committed, intelligent musician. This new Brahms disc shows us a musician with something unique to say.
"Brahms," writes Bax, "connects on such an intimate, deep level and allows us as performers and listeners to explore and indulge a huge range of emotions on our journeys through his music."
Included in this recording is Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Paganini, which Bax calls "some of the most fearsome works ever written for piano."
Bax, though, doesn't seem at all daunted by the musical challenges. He approaches this appealing program with panache and thoughtfulness – a potent combination.
Here are two excerpts from the disc:
listen Brahms: Ballade in B minor, Op. 10, No. 3.
listen Brahms: Capriccio in C major, Op. 76, No. 8.
Barenboim teaches Bax in a Beethoven Masterclass
What makes Glenn Gould great? (includes answers from Lucille Chung)
Disc of the week: Alain Lefèvre plays Dompierre
on Feb 03, 2013