English Piano Sonatas (Double CD)




Malcolm Binns piano
BMS434-435CD (two CDs)

Arnold Bax
Piano Sonata No 1 in F sharp minor
Piano Sonata No 2 in G
Piano Sonata No 3 in G minor
Piano Sonata No 4 in G

John Ireland
Piano Sonata

Frank Bridge
Piano Sonata

Following his highly acclaimed previous recording for the British Music Society of piano music by Patrick Piggott (BMS430CD), distinguished English concert pianist Malcolm Binns has now recorded an historically important and exciting recital of six famous English piano sonatas: four by Arnold Bax, and those by John Ireland and Frank Bridge – all written during the first three decades of the 20th century. The 2CD set will be released to mark the 50th anniversary year of Malcolm Binns’ London debut recital at the Wigmore Hall.

Of particular historic interest is that for these recordings Malcolm Binns has consulted the original manuscripts of the Bax sonatas held in the British Library, and incorporated his findings in his readings, which will include two short Appendices of music from the Second Sonata which was excised before final publication.

He has also used the little-known 1951 revision of the Ireland Piano Sonata for his performance – a revision which is described and discussed in an article by producer John Talbot published in the 2007 edition of the Society’s journal British Music.

Included in the accompanying CD booklet is a transcript of a recent conversation about these recordings between Malcolm Binns and Lewis Foreman, whose definitive biography of Arnold Bax was republished in 2007 by the Boydell Press, in a third edition newly revised and enlarged by the author.


“… when played [Bax] with such enraptured intensity as by Malcolm Binns…the music’s ecstatic chromaticism possesses a Scriabinesque hypnotic power. Binns also tames the technical intricacies of the Ireland and Bridge sonatas to a remarkable degree…” International Piano

”… a resounding success for Malcolm Binns and a feather in the BMS cap…the sound quality retains the high definition imperative for music of such personality,” International Record Review

”… a generous and stimulating set that no dedicated Anglophile should overlook,” Gramophone

”… all six of these pieces are of greater stature than their present rating would imply, and they here receive the masterly performances on disc they have long deserved…he gives the best performance I have heard of John Ireland’s Sonata…this is an essential issue,” Musical Opinion

”Malcolm Binns is one of Britain’s best-kept secrets; his pianism and musicianship are magisterial, matched by few and surpassed by none… He penetrates their spirit and plays with eloquence and conviction…” Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music 2009