Marius Dawn

To start your first Beethoven release with the gigantic 'Hammerklavier' shows chutzpah—and Bax has that in spades. No technical demand scares him, and he often chooses tempos faster than many other pianists, though without ruining the musical sense. His 'Hammerklavier', which stands comparison with the finest on CD, is followed by the popular 'Moonlight', where Bax glides his was gracefully through the dreamy first movement, never dragging and never pedantic. Only his utterly wild and racing last movement is not to my liking. His own two idiomatic arrangements of music from The Ruins of Athens round off a Beethoven CD in a class of its own.