Sir Arnold Bax

Started by tjguitar, April 15, 2007, 06:12:44 PM

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Irons

Quote from: springrite on January 18, 2024, 07:41:08 AMI have the CHANDOS recording with Jeremy Brown and Seta Tanyel playing essentially the same program. Very enjoyable works!

Noted a Naxos issue of the sonata. I did not know of the Chandos recording.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

Ian

The first time I heard the Spring Fire Symphony I was amazed at how much it reminded me of music that was to come 70 years later, namely the Berlin School electronic music and its use of sequencers is not far away from the first movement of Bax's symphony.

I can't quite put my finger on the piece I'm thinking of right now, but this one isn't a million miles away...


Karl Henning

Quote from: springrite on January 12, 2024, 04:43:17 AMSometimes it is not the "best of", but rather the one that speaks to "me".

In the case of Bax 6, for instance, the Handley does that to me. The Thomson is wonderful as well. It just did not do that same. That is all.

That is the most wonderful aspect of listening to music, isn't it? 
Nicely stated!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Spotted Horses

Quote from: springrite on January 12, 2024, 04:43:17 AMSometimes it is not the "best of", but rather the one that speaks to "me".

In the case of Bax 6, for instance, the Handley does that to me. The Thomson is wonderful as well. It just did not do that same. That is all.

That is the most wonderful aspect of listening to music, isn't it? 

I'm trying to decide which version speaks to me (second symphony) and it is unclear. I've listened to the complete symphony, or individual movements by Thomson, Handley, Lloyd-Jones and Fredman. I think part of the trouble is I try to listen to the complete symphony and I don't really have time for that much music in one go. I end up distracted, worrying about how far behind I am getting on other tasks. I think I will stick to Thomson and do one movement per day.
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

springrite

Quote from: Spotted Horses on January 18, 2024, 08:32:56 AMI'm trying to decide which version speaks to me (second symphony) and it is unclear. I've listened to the complete symphony, or individual movements by Thomson, Handley, Lloyd-Jones and Fredman. I think part of the trouble is I try to listen to the complete symphony and I don't really have time for that much music in one go. I end up distracted, worrying about how far behind I am getting on other tasks. I think I will stick to Thomson and do one movement per day.
If you listen one movement at a time, my bet would be that Thomson's version may come across the best. It is most atmospheric and as I have mentioned before, they are most "symphonic poem"-like.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Spotted Horses

Quote from: springrite on January 19, 2024, 08:55:14 AMIf you listen one movement at a time, my bet would be that Thomson's version may come across the best. It is most atmospheric and as I have mentioned before, they are most "symphonic poem"-like.

I noticed the tendency of Thomson to be more "atmospheric" than Handley in the first symphony. In the second I find their approaches pretty similar. It is the nature of the audio which seems to be different. Thomson a bit more focused, Handley a bit more distant and reverberant, with dynamics more exaggerated. I think I have to just pick one, maybe Thomson.
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

steve ridgway

Quote from: Ian on January 18, 2024, 07:58:20 AMThe first time I heard the Spring Fire Symphony I was amazed at how much it reminded me of music that was to come 70 years later, namely the Berlin School electronic music and its use of sequencers is not far away from the first movement of Bax's symphony.

I can't quite put my finger on the piece I'm thinking of right now, but this one isn't a million miles away...


Tangram?

Ian

Quote from: steve ridgway on January 20, 2024, 04:02:09 AMTangram?
Yes, that's another good example but the one I'm thinking of was really close to the Bax in both tempo and notes... I just can't remember which track it is. Schulze released so much stuff it could be on one of the more obscure live recordings. But anyway, you got the point :)

springrite

Quote from: Spotted Horses on January 19, 2024, 11:01:44 AMI noticed the tendency of Thomson to be more "atmospheric" than Handley in the first symphony. In the second I find their approaches pretty similar. It is the nature of the audio which seems to be different. Thomson a bit more focused, Handley a bit more distant and reverberant, with dynamics more exaggerated. I think I have to just pick one, maybe Thomson.
Just remembered another word I used to describe Thomson's recording of Bax: Episodic. This is not meant to be negative. The result is actually very attractive. I think the reason Handley used a totally different approach is because, as a huge Box fan, he felt the often-heard criticism of Bax as a composer who had difficulty with large forms was deadly wrong. So his recording of the symphonies focused on bringing to the forefront the form and internal logic of the symphonies.
Lloyd-Jones seems to have struck a balance between the two.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

vandermolen

Quote from: springrite on January 20, 2024, 06:29:40 AMJust remembered another word I used to describe Thomson's recording of Bax: Episodic. This is not meant to be negative. The result is actually very attractive. I think the reason Handley used a totally different approach is because, as a huge Box fan, he felt the often-heard criticism of Bax as a composer who had difficulty with large forms was deadly wrong. So his recording of the symphonies focused on bringing to the forefront the form and internal logic of the symphonies.
Lloyd-Jones seems to have struck a balance between the two.

Interesting point Paul
"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).

Spotted Horses

My problem with the second symphony is mainly sonic. I am put off by the use of the organ (only pedals, according to some notes I read). I don't find it blends well with the orchestra, and is mainly used to make the cataclysmic passages sound more cataclysmic, the the effect is a droning rumble. And the audio engineers have to leave room for the eventual entry of the rumble, which tends to make the rest of the music sound thin. Maybe it is more effective live, but how many people will live to hear a Bax symphony live?

I listened to the complete symphony with Lloyd-Jones, and now I am putting it behind me (despite temptation to listen to Handley or Thomson again) and move on.

I will listen to the third symphony next, eventually. Fingers crossed that there's no organ. :)
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Maestro267

Only the 2nd and 4th Symphonies have organ. It's a shame you don't like it; it's the most exciting part of any work to me when a composer just deploys the organ for that killer climax! Sends the work to another stratosphere!

DavidW

Quote from: Spotted Horses on January 21, 2024, 08:29:55 AMMaybe it is more effective live, but how many people will live to hear a Bax symphony live?

My experience with the Saint Saens is that it is really easy live for the orchestra to overwhelm the organ.  It is just hard to pull off either way (live or recording).  But when it works, it really works!

springrite

Quote from: Maestro267 on January 21, 2024, 09:55:11 AMOnly the 2nd and 4th Symphonies have organ. It's a shame you don't like it; it's the most exciting part of any work to me when a composer just deploys the organ for that killer climax! Sends the work to another stratosphere!
I like it in the 2nd as the cataclysmic effect was perfect for the theme of the entire work. I don't quite get it in the 4th. As the Chinese would say, it seems like drawing a snake and then adding feet...
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Roasted Swan

Channelling my inner librarian I've been reorganising a part of my collection.  Which meant moving this disc;



from an 'active' location to a storage one.  So along the way I thought I really ought to relisten to this with as objective an ear as I possibly could.  I know I'm a bit of a cracked record about this but I do find Bostock's recordings underwhelming but I thought - "give it a go".  To be brutally honest I thought it was worse - especially in the Symphony - than I'd remembered.  The orchestra are underpowered (thin and strained strings), cautious and technically compromised.  Bostock commits the cardinal sin of emphasising the sectionality of the work.  This is topped off by a recording where a lot of inner detail is simply obscured.  There is no fantasy, no ecstasy, no dynamism or muscle just dis-jointed waffle.  The kind of performance that makes me wonder why I ever loved Bax in the first place.  Tintagel is better - but eclipsed by several other versions - from Barbirolli to Thomson to Handley that are much better still.  The novelty of the Overture to Adventure is trumped by Handley's finer version on Lyrita.  I would love to hear other non-British orchestras and conductors doing Bax's music but this is a big non-starter for me.  Sorry!!

Karl Henning

Quote from: DavidW on January 21, 2024, 10:23:09 AMMy experience with the Saint Saens is that it is really easy live for the orchestra to overwhelm the organ.  It is just hard to pull off either way (live or recording).  But when it works, it really works!
The Saint-Saëns live at Symphony Hall was a blast
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

relm1

I was listening to David Lloyd-Jones' Bax Symphony No. 6 and really loved it.  So much in fact, I immediately relistened to it.  To me, the first movement evoked primitive ceremony ala Respighi's "Pines of Rome" - the procession of the nobles from antiquity.  One thing I always love about Bax is his epilogue endings.  Musically, it makes me feel like I've read a great book and then need a glass of wine (or something stiffer) to sit down and reflect on how it made me feel.  I just adore how turbulent the symphony starts and how meditative it ends.  Something I frequently encounter in his music.

foxandpeng

Quote from: relm1 on April 03, 2024, 06:54:52 AMI was listening to David Lloyd-Jones' Bax Symphony No. 6 and really loved it.  So much in fact, I immediately relistened to it.  To me, the first movement evoked primitive ceremony ala Respighi's "Pines of Rome" - the procession of the nobles from antiquity.  One thing I always love about Bax is his epilogue endings.  Musically, it makes me feel like I've read a great book and then need a glass of wine (or something stiffer) to sit down and reflect on how it made me feel.  I just adore how turbulent the symphony starts and how meditative it ends.  Something I frequently encounter in his music.

I share your appreciation, not just for Bax 6, but of David Lloyd-Jones' recording. L-J was my intro to Bax, and for many years, my only interpreter. Bax often doesn't quite sound right for me in other versions, as a consequence :)
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

DavidW

The opening of the Bax 6th lives rent free in my head.

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: DavidW on April 03, 2024, 11:45:52 AMThe opening of the Bax 6th lives rent free in my head.
:laugh:  ;D
Pohjolas Daughter