Author Topic: Sir Arnold Bax  (Read 200865 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1140 on: June 04, 2021, 09:29:40 PM »
Most interesting RS and f and p  :)
I was just happily playing my new Naxos CD of 'English Music for Viola' and when the gloomy opening chords of Bax's 'Legend' started I sat bolt upright, thinking 'What is this?' I must have payed it about ten times now and can't understand how I missed it before. Despite being a short chamber work it has something of the oppressive and turbulent atmosphere of the Second Symphony and IMO inhabits the same spiritual world of the Piano Quintet - what a discovery!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1141 on: June 04, 2021, 10:14:07 PM »
Most interesting RS and f and p  :)
I was just happily playing my new Naxos CD of 'English Music for Viola' and when the gloomy opening chords of Bax's 'Legend' started I sat bolt upright, thinking 'What is this?' I must have payed it about ten times now and can't understand how I missed it before. Despite being a short chamber work it has something of the oppressive and turbulent atmosphere of the Second Symphony and IMO inhabits the same spiritual world of the Piano Quintet - what a discovery!

Yes absolutely - its a real gem.  According to Graham Parlett's wonderful catalogue it dates from 1929 just after the 2 Piano Sonata & 3rd Symphony and just before Winter Legends so really Bax at his peak.  Also, Parlett says; "the work was apparently 'inspired' by Herbert Read's peom "This X".

On a slight tangent - another revelatory performance of a powerfully concise Bax work was flagged up on another Bax forum recently.  Its a video of the Rhapsodic Ballad for solo cello

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKuxXncYXu0

This is a remarkable work and shamefully little known.  12 minutes of solo cello would tax any composer.  There is a CD performance that many reading this will know but simply put this is a far more impressive performance

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1142 on: June 04, 2021, 11:35:18 PM »
Yes absolutely - its a real gem.  According to Graham Parlett's wonderful catalogue it dates from 1929 just after the 2 Piano Sonata & 3rd Symphony and just before Winter Legends so really Bax at his peak.  Also, Parlett says; "the work was apparently 'inspired' by Herbert Read's peom "This X".

On a slight tangent - another revelatory performance of a powerfully concise Bax work was flagged up on another Bax forum recently.  Its a video of the Rhapsodic Ballad for solo cello

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKuxXncYXu0

This is a remarkable work and shamefully little known.  12 minutes of solo cello would tax any composer.  There is a CD performance that many reading this will know but simply put this is a far more impressive performance
Totally agree, the 'Legend for Viola and Piano' is vintage Bax.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Biffo

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1143 on: June 05, 2021, 12:19:43 AM »
I listened to the Bax Legend yesterday to remind myself of it - gloomy and atmospheric. I have it played by Paul Coletti viola and Leslie Howard piano (Helios)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1144 on: June 05, 2021, 12:49:38 AM »
I listened to the Bax Legend yesterday to remind myself of it - gloomy and atmospheric. I have it played by Paul Coletti viola and Leslie Howard piano (Helios)
I'm sure that I have that recording...somewhere!
There's also an alternative Naxos recording on an all Bax CD.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1145 on: June 05, 2021, 07:04:54 AM »
On a slight tangent - another revelatory performance of a powerfully concise Bax work was flagged up on another Bax forum recently.  Its a video of the Rhapsodic Ballad for solo cello

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKuxXncYXu0

This is a remarkable work and shamefully little known.  12 minutes of solo cello would tax any composer.  There is a CD performance that many reading this will know but simply put this is a far more impressive performance

Thanks for bringing this video to our attention! The Rhapsodic Ballad is a powerful work and it’s interesting to hear Bax composing for just a solo string instrument instead of a full orchestra. It’s a great addition to the solo cello repertoire - I really ought to learn it at some point!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1146 on: June 06, 2021, 01:24:34 PM »
I heard the Legend for viola and piano following the recommendations here. An eloquent and atmospheric work. It has its merits, but I felt the piano part more attractive, with nicer ideas.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1147 on: June 06, 2021, 10:25:37 PM »
I'm sure that I have that recording...somewhere!
There's also an alternative Naxos recording on an all Bax CD.

Going way back the infamous Barrington-Coupe released a recording on his Delta label.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1148 on: June 07, 2021, 08:50:42 AM »
Going way back the infamous Barrington-Coupe released a recording on his Delta label.
I assume that's a genuine release Lol. Interestingly I ordered the two genuine Joyca Hatto releases (CD Bax, Symphonic Variations, 4th Symphony etc) but he also threw in one of the bogus Rachmaninov releases.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1149 on: June 07, 2021, 12:17:12 PM »
I assume that's a genuine release Lol. Interestingly I ordered the two genuine Joyca Hatto releases (CD Bax, Symphonic Variations, 4th Symphony etc) but he also threw in one of the bogus Rachmaninov releases.

It is Jeffrey. Would go as far to say the Elgar Quintet is my favourite recording of the work. I would like to think that Joyce Hatto was relatively innocent and Barrington-Coupe used his wife shamefully. What did you think of her Bax?
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1150 on: June 07, 2021, 12:35:01 PM »
It is Jeffrey. Would go as far to say the Elgar Quintet is my favourite recording of the work. I would like to think that Joyce Hatto was relatively innocent and Barrington-Coupe used his wife shamefully. What did you think of her Bax?

Part of the "problem" for Hatto when she recorded the Bax Symphonic Variations was that the orchestral parts (and the solo part) was riddled with errors.  Also, Harriet Cohen - long past her concertising days - was ferociously (jelously?) protective of the Bax scores and deeply resented that anyone but her should make the first recording.  I used to own all the Revolution/Bax LP's but consigned them to a 2nd hand shop almost as soon as the Fingerhut versions became available which were finer in every respect - sorry Joyce!

Offline Daverz

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1151 on: June 07, 2021, 01:25:04 PM »
Part of the "problem" for Hatto when she recorded the Bax Symphonic Variations was that the orchestral parts (and the solo part) was riddled with errors.  Also, Harriet Cohen - long past her concertising days - was ferociously (jelously?) protective of the Bax scores and deeply resented that anyone but her should make the first recording.  I used to own all the Revolution/Bax LP's but consigned them to a 2nd hand shop almost as soon as the Fingerhut versions became available which were finer in every respect - sorry Joyce!

I think the Ashley Wass recordings are even better than Fingerhut.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1152 on: June 07, 2021, 09:35:57 PM »
It is Jeffrey. Would go as far to say the Elgar Quintet is my favourite recording of the work. I would like to think that Joyce Hatto was relatively innocent and Barrington-Coupe used his wife shamefully. What did you think of her Bax?
Oh, I like it Lol, although I don't have RS's technical musical insight. Also, there's something about the atmosphere of that Hatto Symphonic Variations which appealed to me. One of my earliest encounters with Bax was that and Vernon Handley's Guildford recording of the 4th Symphony - I was delighted when it reappeared on CD and had a nice letter exchange with the infamous Barrington-Coupe about it. When he sent me the two Bax CDs he kindly sent an additional freebie of fraudulent Rachmaninov recordings - a most strange business, which instead of enhancing his wife's reputation actually had the opposite effect.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2021, 09:38:50 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1153 on: June 07, 2021, 10:09:21 PM »
I think the Ashley Wass recordings are even better than Fingerhut.

I agree - but the comment was based on comparing the 'old' Hatto to the then 'new' Fingerhut.  I liked Wass in the Piano Sonatas as well but he seems to have been dropped by Naxos/any other recording company which is a shame

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1154 on: June 07, 2021, 11:43:59 PM »
I agree - but the comment was based on comparing the 'old' Hatto to the then 'new' Fingerhut.  I liked Wass in the Piano Sonatas as well but he seems to have been dropped by Naxos/any other recording company which is a shame
[/quote

I like Wass as well especially the VW Piano Concerto.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1155 on: June 07, 2021, 11:53:15 PM »
I agree - but the comment was based on comparing the 'old' Hatto to the then 'new' Fingerhut.  I liked Wass in the Piano Sonatas as well but he seems to have been dropped by Naxos/any other recording company which is a shame
[/quote

I like Wass as well especially the VW Piano Concerto.

+1 for that RVW disc.  But I'd also add James Judd as a generally under-appreciated conductor.  One of those people who has a substantial discography - and I can't think of a single dud - but he's never had a glamorous "house" contract with say Chandos or Hyperion although I generally think he's a better conductor than say Edward Gardner

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1156 on: June 08, 2021, 12:11:18 AM »
+1 for that RVW disc.  But I'd also add James Judd as a generally under-appreciated conductor.  One of those people who has a substantial discography - and I can't think of a single dud - but he's never had a glamorous "house" contract with say Chandos or Hyperion although I generally think he's a better conductor than say Edward Gardner
+1 for James Judd.
There is a very fine Copland Symphony 3 and Lilburn symphonies from him on Naxos.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1157 on: June 08, 2021, 05:57:04 AM »
Part of the "problem" for Hatto when she recorded the Bax Symphonic Variations was that the orchestral parts (and the solo part) was riddled with errors.  Also, Harriet Cohen - long past her concertising days - was ferociously (jelously?) protective of the Bax scores and deeply resented that anyone but her should make the first recording.  I used to own all the Revolution/Bax LP's but consigned them to a 2nd hand shop almost as soon as the Fingerhut versions became available which were finer in every respect - sorry Joyce!

As Jeffrey has already alluded to, non-musical trained listeners are not necessary looking for the "best" or the most perfect performance. To be perfectly honest performance errors would pass me by anyway. Other factors come into play, historical and authenticity to name but two. I would not dispatch Joyce or any other performer because a later more note perfect recording. If I did that half my record collection would be wiped out!
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1158 on: June 08, 2021, 06:08:39 AM »
As Jeffrey has already alluded to, non-musical trained listeners are not necessary looking for the "best" or the most perfect performance. To be perfectly honest performance errors would pass me by anyway. Other factors come into play, historical and authenticity to name but two. I would not dispatch Joyce or any other performer because a later more note perfect recording. If I did that half my record collection would be wiped out!

No such thing as a perfect performance of anything!  And 'best' is wholly subjective anyway.  For me Fingerhut/Waas are "better" especially when LP vs. CD and general engineering are factored in as well.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arnold Bax
« Reply #1159 on: June 08, 2021, 12:39:06 PM »
I found this interesting, although don't always agree with his verdicts:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/nov03/Bax_Adams.htm
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).