Fiona Maddocks, Chief Music Critic at The Observer reviews Ashley’s new CD for Willowhayne Records:
The young British pianist, Ashley Fripp, strong across a range of repertoire, is already a specialist – as performer and as current Guildhall doctoral scholar – in the music of Thomas Adès. In this recital (Willowhayne Records), Fripp includes the first recording since the composer’s own of Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face, Adès’s explosive precis of his 1995 opera.
Fripp captures all its insouciance, darkness and extravagance. Either side, he plays works by Bach – the English Suite No 2 in A minor, BWV 807, here springy and pliant – and Chopin. It’s perceptive programming. The transition from the erotic tango finale of Powder Her Face into the gentle simplicity of Chopin’s Barcarolle in D flat major, Op 57 is tender and natural. The album ends with the Grande Polonaise Brillante Op 22, played with virtuosity, nobility and the right dash of glamour.