Author Topic: Sir Arnold Bax  (Read 118321 times)

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Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #860 on: May 31, 2019, 06:34:37 AM »
I really like it Kyle and find the 'sunset epilogue' at the end very moving - a fine end to Bax's cycle of symphonies. I think, though, that the Raymond Leppard version on Lyrita is the best interpretation by far and none of the other versions move me nearly as much. I like the two 'weakest' Bax symphonies, nos 4 and 7.

Thanks, Jeffrey. I knew I could count on a reply from you ;) I’ll have to check out the Leppard version on Lyrita.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #861 on: May 31, 2019, 08:28:43 AM »
Thanks, Jeffrey. I knew I could count on a reply from you ;) I’ll have to check out the Leppard version on Lyrita.
Yes, it's in a class of its own Kyle. Having said that I had the LP all those decades ago which might have influenced my view. However my view of that recording is widely shared.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #862 on: May 31, 2019, 11:35:53 PM »
Thanks, Jeffrey. I knew I could count on a reply from you ;) I’ll have to check out the Leppard version on Lyrita.

I do not consider Symphony 7 to be a 'weak' part of the cycle - just very different in mood from the others - especially the brooding muscular energy of the first two.  Leppard is indeed excellent - although as Jeffrey says - it was for so long the ONLY option that it is hard for that version not to be 'imprinted' on you.

Colin Scott-Sutherland in his book which was the first substantial survey of Bax's music, has an interesting view of the complete cycle.  He considers it as a single large symphonic arch where Nos. 1&2 are the "1st" movement, 3 a 'slow' movement, 4 a scherzo, 5&6 a finale and 7 the epilogue.  Given that the sheer energy of Bax's writing was waning by the time he got to No.7 I think he made a good choice to allow this work to be more valedictory and indeed visionary than the earlier ones (note the key marking at one point in the score "in legendary mood...".  I find it a very satisfying and indeed moving conclusion to a wonderful cycle....

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #863 on: June 01, 2019, 05:52:58 AM »
I do not consider Symphony 7 to be a 'weak' part of the cycle - just very different in mood from the others - especially the brooding muscular energy of the first two.  Leppard is indeed excellent - although as Jeffrey says - it was for so long the ONLY option that it is hard for that version not to be 'imprinted' on you.

Colin Scott-Sutherland in his book which was the first substantial survey of Bax's music, has an interesting view of the complete cycle.  He considers it as a single large symphonic arch where Nos. 1&2 are the "1st" movement, 3 a 'slow' movement, 4 a scherzo, 5&6 a finale and 7 the epilogue.  Given that the sheer energy of Bax's writing was waning by the time he got to No.7 I think he made a good choice to allow this work to be more valedictory and indeed visionary than the earlier ones (note the key marking at one point in the score "in legendary mood...".  I find it a very satisfying and indeed moving conclusion to a wonderful cycle....
An excellent point from Colin Scott-Sutherland, whose book I greatly enjoyed.
The Bax symphonies on Lyrita are my top choices with the exception of Symphony 6. However the LP releases get the prize for the most dreary cover designs (all exactly the same but in different colours). The Thomson LP release cover image for Symphony 7 was much more atmospheric:

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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #864 on: June 01, 2019, 08:32:28 AM »
They illustrate the point I made in another thread about the cover image pre-conditioning the listener towards the music.  I much prefer the Lyrita image for that reason.  And I like my streamable music library, where I can choose to avoid the cover image altogether.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #865 on: June 01, 2019, 10:53:10 AM »
They illustrate the point I made in another thread about the cover image pre-conditioning the listener towards the music.  I much prefer the Lyrita image for that reason.  And I like my streamable music library, where I can choose to avoid the cover image altogether.
Fair enough.

Personally I think that this would have been a much better choice of cover for the Lyrita disc. Never seen it before - just discovered it online tonight:

« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 12:38:36 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline relm1

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #866 on: June 01, 2019, 04:02:31 PM »
I love Bax's No. 7.  I find it very rhapsodic and richly detailed with some Ravelian touches like his early symphonies.  The only version I have heard is the Chandos/LPO/Bryden Thomson which is frankly my favorite cycle.  I do very much enjoy the Raymond Leppard  Lyrita recordings that I've heard but adore Bryden Thomson's other worldly performances on Chandos.  Those of you not convinced of the value of No. 7, check it out. 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #867 on: June 01, 2019, 09:00:30 PM »
I love Bax's No. 7.  I find it very rhapsodic and richly detailed with some Ravelian touches like his early symphonies.  The only version I have heard is the Chandos/LPO/Bryden Thomson which is frankly my favorite cycle.  I do very much enjoy the Raymond Leppard  Lyrita recordings that I've heard but adore Bryden Thomson's other worldly performances on Chandos.  Those of you not convinced of the value of No. 7, check it out.

I think that the Bryden Thomson set is the best choice for someone who wants a complete set of the symphonies. As far as I'm concerned they are all strong performances. Also there are some wonderful shorter works which accompanied the symphonies on their original CD release, including the magical 'Christmas Eve' 'Nympholept', 'Festival Overure' (a much better work than the title suggests) and 'Paen' not to mention 'Tinragel' you can get them all together on a single Chandos CD.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 09:05:56 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #868 on: June 01, 2019, 11:11:09 PM »
Fair enough.

Personally I think that this would have been a much better choice of cover for the Lyrita disc. Never seen it before - just discovered it online tonight:


That is a Lyrita LP release for the American market by HNH. MHS (Musical Heritage Society) also issued Lyrita recordings in the US.

The Keith Hensby designed Lyrita covers are outstanding and most have a connection with the music. Why the Bax set is so drab and uninteresting is a mystery.

Cover art is a subject in itself. I own two books on the subject. It is fascinating how styles have evolved over the years. This is true for today where I often come across images of most imaginative designs of CD covers on GMG. 
And behind the slime and the croaking there was , sure enough, like an old master beneath a layer of dirt, the noble outline of that divine music. - Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #869 on: June 02, 2019, 12:31:35 AM »
That is a Lyrita LP release for the American market by HNH. MHS (Musical Heritage Society) also issued Lyrita recordings in the US.

The Keith Hensby designed Lyrita covers are outstanding and most have a connection with the music. Why the Bax set is so drab and uninteresting is a mystery.

Cover art is a subject in itself. I own two books on the subject. It is fascinating how styles have evolved over the years. This is true for today where I often come across images of most imaginative designs of CD covers on GMG.
Very interesting Lol. Coincidentally I'm listening to Symphony 7 from a Musical Heritage Society set right now! I communicated with Keith Hensby a few years ago as Rob Barnett from Musicweb, in one of his reviews, wondered what had happened to him. I was pleased to report that he was alive and well and  still working as a graphic artist.
I guess that this is him:
https://www.peterbarkerfineart.co.uk/shop/viewcategory.php?groupid=99

PS Thomson's recording of Symphony 7 is indeed excellent, helped by the atmospheric Chandos recording. It has the best epilogue of all the symphonies, certainly the most moving. Symphony No.7 has a hypnotic, dreamlike atmosphere which I find very appealing.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 01:22:39 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #870 on: June 02, 2019, 05:07:19 AM »
Very interesting Lol. Coincidentally I'm listening to Symphony 7 from a Musical Heritage Society set right now! I communicated with Keith Hensby a few years ago as Rob Barnett from Musicweb, in one of his reviews, wondered what had happened to him. I was pleased to report that he was alive and well and  still working as a graphic artist.
I guess that this is him:
https://www.peterbarkerfineart.co.uk/shop/viewcategory.php?groupid=99

PS Thomson's recording of Symphony 7 is indeed excellent, helped by the atmospheric Chandos recording. It has the best epilogue of all the symphonies, certainly the most moving. Symphony No.7 has a hypnotic, dreamlike atmosphere which I find very appealing.

Wow! I have admired Keith Hensby's work for the Lyrita label for decades. I have yet to find an example out of just shy 400 Lyrita covers not designed by him. I had no idea that he excelled in other areas of art and design which in retrospect is a bit daft. I am absolutely delighted he is well and still going strong. Much appreciated, Jeffrey, for passing that on. Thanks.
And behind the slime and the croaking there was , sure enough, like an old master beneath a layer of dirt, the noble outline of that divine music. - Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #871 on: June 02, 2019, 07:16:17 AM »
Wow! I have admired Keith Hensby's work for the Lyrita label for decades. I have yet to find an example out of just shy 400 Lyrita covers not designed by him. I had no idea that he excelled in other areas of art and design which in retrospect is a bit daft. I am absolutely delighted he is well and still going strong. Much appreciated, Jeffrey, for passing that on. Thanks.

Actually it may be that I corresponded with Caractacus Downes of Lyrita about Keith Hensby rather than Mr Hensby himself come to think of it. It was a while ago now and I don't want to be the purveyor of 'Fake News'  8)
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Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #872 on: June 02, 2019, 11:46:19 AM »
Actually it may be that I corresponded with Caractacus Downes of Lyrita about Keith Hensby rather than Mr Hensby himself come to think of it. It was a while ago now and I don't want to be the purveyor of 'Fake News'  8)

Caractacus Downes! Not a name forgotten in a hurry. ;D
And behind the slime and the croaking there was , sure enough, like an old master beneath a layer of dirt, the noble outline of that divine music. - Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #873 on: June 02, 2019, 08:35:11 PM »
Caractacus Downes! Not a name forgotten in a hurry. ;D
No, indeed. I corresponded with him several times hoping that Lyrita would release Edward Downes's recording of Bax's Third Symphony (RCA) on CD without realising that he was the conductor's son!  ::)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #874 on: June 02, 2019, 10:45:04 PM »
No, indeed. I corresponded with him several times hoping that Lyrita would release Edward Downes's recording of Bax's Third Symphony (RCA) on CD without realising that he was the conductor's son!  ::)

You have done it again! Well I never! It must have been very difficult for him at his father's (assisted) passing - back of my mind it was both his parents.

On vinyl the Bax 3rd is released on Italian RCA. I have gone through quite a few and still as to yet not found a decent pressing.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 11:01:55 PM by Irons »
And behind the slime and the croaking there was , sure enough, like an old master beneath a layer of dirt, the noble outline of that divine music. - Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #875 on: June 03, 2019, 12:08:00 AM »
You have done it again! Well I never! It must have been very difficult for him at his father's (assisted) passing - back of my mind it was both his parents.

On vinyl the Bax 3rd is released on Italian RCA. I have gone through quite a few and still as to yet not found a decent pressing.

Yes, when I was corresponding about how much I'd like to see the Downes's recording of Bax's Third Symphony released on a Lyrita CD (it is my favourite version) he replied; 'my father would be pleased as well' I brilliantly failed to put 2+2 together assuming that his father was just another admirer of that recording, rather than him being the conductor of the recording! ::)
Yes, you were right that it was both parents who died at the Swiss clinic. I recall that Caractacus was potentially in trouble over assisting them over there but, quite rightly, was not charged with anything. A very sad situation.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).