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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: tjguitar on April 15, 2007, 05:12:44 PM

Title: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on April 15, 2007, 05:12:44 PM
Bax needs a thread on the new forums...here are some of my favorite Bax CDs, clearly I'm a fan of the "ORCHESTRAL WORKS" series on Chandos :):


(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000DIXS2.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000DIXS0.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0001CCXSE.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45340842_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000C83YV.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44315910_AA240_.jpg)
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000DIXRZ.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45398185_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000DIXS1.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000C83YW.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45402274_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000EFTEAS.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)
(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000DIGLH.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44152886_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00000I9A9.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V46527560_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000059LX7.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45808172_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00012PMNW.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V44376534_AA240_.jpg)
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000EFTEBM.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000C83YU.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45892881_AA240_.jpg)

I also have the two CD's of string quartets on Naxos but apparently amazon doesn't have fullsize images of those. I'm hoping for a Chandos re-issue of the Piano Quintet, or a naxos recording, I currently have a live recording of the piece that was sent to me from a member from the Bax mailing list, which is quite good. It's one of my favorite chamber pieces which unfortunately is well out of print.

By the way, there are some upcoming Bax CD's from Lyrita: In May SRCD.233 which will contain Symphonies 2 & 5; In June SRCD.296 which will contain the Overtures 'To Adventure', 'Rogues Comedy' and 'Work In Progress', Irish Landscape and Symphony No. 6. 


Chandos also has a 2nd disc of Handley conducted Tone Poems recorded last december but it is not scheduled for release yet, probably in '08
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Harry on April 15, 2007, 09:52:52 PM
The Chandos line up is marvelous and almost all I have.
Also Naxos has a impressive catalogue already, with fine recordings of the chambermusic, that are quickly making a name in the business as excellent examples of Bax genius. So worth while to check that out. At least I bought all the chamber music, and can confirm their excellence.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 16, 2007, 01:49:19 AM
The Chandos CD with "Christmas Eve", "Nympholept" (better than the Naxos version), "Paen" etc on is my favourite Bax CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on May 05, 2007, 08:18:23 PM
Quote
By the way, there are some upcoming Bax CD's from Lyrita: In May SRCD.233 which will contain Symphonies 2 & 5; In June SRCD.296 which will contain the Overtures 'To Adventure', 'Rogues Comedy' and 'Work In Progress', Irish Landscape and Symphony No. 6.

In case some of you were interested, I emailed Lyrita last week and they told me the following:


Dear Sir,

The release schedule has shuffled a bit - SRCD.296 is still planned
for June this year, SRCD.233 has now moved to January next year.

I hope that helps.

Regards,

Caractacus Downes
webmaster
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Don on May 05, 2007, 09:29:16 PM
Thank goodness for Lyrita, Naxos and Chandos; Bax would just be a blip on the screen without them.

It does make me wonder why the so-called majors have never invested much in Bax.  After all, they've put out a ton of mind-numbing Vivaldi.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 05, 2007, 11:11:38 PM
I have just ordered Eugene Goosens conducting Bax Symphony 2 on Dutton (1950s recording) which sounds like a very exciting release (with Tintagel etc)

http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=CDBP9779

I wish that RCA would issued Edward Downes's excellent LSO performance of Symphony 3 on CD (unlikely I think as RCA have cut right back on classical issues).This was my introduction to Bax when Lancaster University had the LP in their library in the 1970s. I spent most of my time in the library listening to it!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lilas Pastia on May 06, 2007, 02:40:56 PM
Any thoughts on his piano sonatas? There's a Naxos disc with 1 and 2 and another one with 3 and 4 (don't know how many he wrote). I seem to recall a very favourable review.

Bax certainly deserves more concert hall exposure. His symphonies and tone poems could certainly replace many Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Ravel or Debussy works. Who needs to hear Bolero, Romeo and Juliet or Death and Transfiguration for the 4th or 8th time in concert?

I have the Naxos and Thomson cycles, as well as half a dozen discs from the Chandos orchestral series. I didn't realize there were so many of them :o
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on May 06, 2007, 02:55:58 PM
Quote
Any thoughts on his piano sonatas?

I have the Chandos 4 disk set pictured in post #1, but it is not my favorite recording for the sonatas (but many of the shorter pieces are fine.)


For the sonatas, I have the following disc which is quite good in my opinion:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/312J8HA8K3L._AA240_.jpg)

from http://www.amazon.com/Arnold-Bax-Complete-Piano-Sonatas/dp/B000FIMICK


I haven't heard the Wass piano sonatas on Naxos.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lilas Pastia on May 06, 2007, 04:22:39 PM
Thanks. I have Endres in Schubert, and I like him a lot. Being good at Schubert is not necessarily a recommendation for Bax, but I'll take your advice!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: rubio on May 13, 2007, 06:33:50 AM
Does anyone have a suggestion for which symphony I should sample first of Bax? I see that they have the complete set of Bryden Thomsen's recordings at my local library.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Harry on May 13, 2007, 06:42:56 AM
Does anyone have a suggestion for which symphony I should sample first of Bax? I see that they have the complete set of Bryden Thomsen's recordings at my local library.

In my view you can start with any of them.
Tone poems like Tintagel are also a good way into Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 13, 2007, 07:03:07 AM
In my view you can start with any of them.
Tone poems like Tintagel are also a good way into Bax.

Rubio - I'd agree w/ Harry - really not a 'dud' in Bax's Symphonies - I have the box set below w/ Handley (good value on the Amazon Marketplace for the 5 CDs!)  CLICK on the image for a couple of 'erudite' reviews, somewhat unusal from the Amazonians - but certainly start w/ what you can hear first to determine if you like Bax (I'm sure you will not be disappointed).

And for those interested in earlier 20th century English music of Bax's era, try this THREAD (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,4392.0.html) in the old forum -  :D

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SYGB5PAQL._AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Bax-Symphonies-Arnold/dp/B0000DIGLH/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-8474919-9564165?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1179071540&sr=8-1)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Don on May 13, 2007, 11:02:37 AM
Does anyone have a suggestion for which symphony I should sample first of Bax? I see that they have the complete set of Bryden Thomsen's recordings at my local library.

I always think it's best to approach a cycle of works chronologically.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 13, 2007, 12:05:15 PM
I strongly recommend the new Dutton release of Goosens conducting Bax Symphony 2 etc. Despite the age of the recording (1956 BBC broadcast), the performance makes a greater impact, IMHO,than any of the more recent recordings; a magnificent issue and very cheap too (for details see my post above.)

As for investigating Bax symphonies, I agree that they are all good but would probably start with nos 3,5 and 2.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on May 13, 2007, 12:23:35 PM
As far as the Thomson recordings go, I've only heard the 4th (with the Ulster Orchestra), I'm waiting for chandos to reissue those midprice, but I've heard the London Philharmonic recordings aren't that good from some people, but some people prefer them.

I'm happy with the Handley for now.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: johnQpublic on May 13, 2007, 01:10:09 PM
Does anyone have a suggestion for which symphony I should sample first of Bax? 

#6
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: btpaul674 on May 13, 2007, 09:28:43 PM
Agreed on 6.

Or 1.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Daverz on May 13, 2007, 10:23:52 PM
Agreed on 6.

Thirded.  Lloyd-Jones is excellent here, some of the best sound in that Naxos series.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 13, 2007, 11:32:23 PM
#6

Norman Del Mar's highly rated Lyrita recording of Symphony 6 is out soon.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: sound67 on May 13, 2007, 11:35:34 PM
Again, Handley is the first choice if you need a complete set.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/9767977.jpg)
Also: http://www.musicweb.uk.net/bax/manchester.htm
and: http://www.musicweb.uk.net/bax/adamshandley.htm

I agree that No.6 and No.1 are the works you should select "for starters", they are Bax's most powerful and approachable larger works.

Bax's music is opulent and difficult to capture properly on recordings. Both Chandos sets (Thomson, Handley) I think do the job, the Naxos does not. I am not a fan of Lloyd-Jones's lean approach to this overripe music, Thomson does well to revel in this composer's excesses. His 6th IMHO is the best available, because(!) it's on the bottom-heavy side.

Thomas
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 14, 2007, 10:10:19 PM
I rather like the Douglas Bostock recording of Symphony 6, on Classico, even though it was poorly reviewed at the time of release.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on May 15, 2007, 01:45:49 PM
Just a heads up: ArkivMusic has all the Chandos Classic CDs on sale for $7.99, with discounts on the mutli disc sets. That includes the 8 Bax "Orchestral Works" volumes among other stuff in that Chandos sub-label.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 11, 2007, 08:19:03 PM
I was stuck on an airplane coming home from St Louis yesterday and managed to go through a chunk of the recently-revised Bax biography.  Interesting stuff indeed.

Def. recommend.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/5103vZ3ugxL._AA240_.jpg)


BTW, does anyone know what the delay is for Lyrita releases to get to the US (such as amazon.com) I really want that CD w/ Del Mar's Symphony No. 6 and the unreleased overtures conducted by Handley, that's supposed to be released in June in Europe, but it seems like it takes forever for those discs to get released over here....longer wait than naxos or chandos, I think.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 11, 2007, 10:36:19 PM
The book is great, I just bought it. Can't you order the Lyritas from Amazon UK? Maybe the postage is very high.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 11, 2007, 11:41:39 PM
The book is great, I just bought it. Can't you order the Lyritas from Amazon UK? Maybe the postage is very high.

Sure but its cheaper to wait for Amazon US plus I got extra points w/ my amazon.com visa card (amazon uk or any other international amazon doesnt count)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2007, 06:22:39 AM
Sure but its cheaper to wait for Amazon US plus I got extra points w/ my amazon.com visa card (amazon uk or any other international amazon doesnt count)

I understand, I hope that they get to the US soon. Is there much interest in British composers in the USA?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 12, 2007, 08:29:56 AM
I understand, I hope that they get to the US soon. Is there much interest in British composers in the USA?

I guess it depends what you mean by "much" ...I mean, Is there much interest in *ANY* classical music in the USA?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2007, 12:07:59 PM
I guess it depends what you mean by "much" ...I mean, Is there much interest in *ANY* classical music in the USA?

Yes, I understand. Do British composers ever appear in classical concerts in the USA?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brewski on June 12, 2007, 12:18:10 PM
Yes, I understand. Do British composers ever appear in classical concerts in the USA?

Other than Elgar and Vaughan Williams, apparently not that often (at least, based on casual observation of concert programs over the years).  Actually, the British composer whom I've seen listed most often recently has been...Harrison Birtwistle!  But no Delius, little Holst (other than The Planets), no Grainger, Tippett, Bridge, Berkeley...and I don't think I've ever seen a Bax symphony listed anywhere.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2007, 12:34:47 PM
Other than Elgar and Vaughan Williams, apparently not that often (at least, based on casual observation of concert programs over the years).  Actually, the British composer whom I've seen listed most often recently has been...Harrison Birtwistle!  But no Delius, little Holst (other than The Planets), no Grainger, Tippett, Bridge, Berkeley...and I don't think I've ever seen a Bax symphony listed anywhere.

--Bruce


Bax is rarely performed in Britain. The last Bax symphony to be performed at the London Proms was No 5 in 1984 (I was there). The Albert Hall was half empty :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brewski on June 12, 2007, 12:41:17 PM
This really surprises me!  (And I confess I haven't yet heard all of the Bax symphonies.)  Especially given all the publicity and good comments about the Handley set, I assumed that they show up with some regularity. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2007, 10:36:04 PM
This really surprises me!  (And I confess I haven't yet heard all of the Bax symphonies.)  Especially given all the publicity and good comments about the Handley set, I assumed that they show up with some regularity. 

--Bruce

No, there seems to be little correlation between what appears on CD and concert performances. The record companies (especially Chandos, Hyperion, Lyrita) are far more adventurous in recording the work of British composers.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Hector on June 13, 2007, 01:18:50 AM
This really surprises me!  (And I confess I haven't yet heard all of the Bax symphonies.)  Especially given all the publicity and good comments about the Handley set, I assumed that they show up with some regularity. 

--Bruce

No, and we are forever reliant upon the BBC to get its regional orchestras to perform this stuff in the studio rather than in the concert hall.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 13, 2007, 03:18:04 AM
Yes, I understand. Do British composers ever appear in classical concerts in the USA?

Do American composers ever appear in classical concerts in Britain? Or in any other country? Composers that appear everywhere tend to be German/Austrian for the most part. Sure there are exceptions like Sibelius, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky to name a few others but I'd say 80-90% of the repertoire is German/Austrian.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Hector on June 13, 2007, 03:35:58 AM
Do American composers ever appear in classical concerts in Britain? Or in any other country? Composers that appear everywhere tend to be German/Austrian for the most part. Sure there are exceptions like Sibelius, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky to name a few others but I'd say 80-90% of the repertoire is German/Austrian.

Copland retains his popularity and Ives and Barber get the occasional airing.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 13, 2007, 04:51:33 AM
Do American composers ever appear in classical concerts in Britain? Or in any other country? Composers that appear everywhere tend to be German/Austrian for the most part. Sure there are exceptions like Sibelius, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky to name a few others but I'd say 80-90% of the repertoire is German/Austrian.

I saw Slatkin conduct Copland's Third Symphony at the London Proms a couple of years back. Copland is popular in the UK and infact he made many recordings over here with the Philharmonia and other British orchestras. John Adams is also popular (relatively speaking!) and last year I attended an all Adams concert at the Proms in the presence of the composer. I think it was the UK premiere of "My Father Knew Charles Ives" although I may be wrong.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 13, 2007, 06:58:15 AM
As far as live concerts go, the only Briitsh music Ive heard are some choral works from Walton (Balshazzar's Feast) and RVW (I don't know the piece but it was around Christmastime)----thats about it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 13, 2007, 07:54:24 AM
As far as live concerts go, the only Briitsh music Ive heard are some choral works from Walton (Balshazzar's Feast) and RVW (I don't know the piece but it was around Christmastime)----thats about it.

Does VW second symphony get performed often? It seems to be a very fine work?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 13, 2007, 08:01:06 AM
Does VW second symphony get performed often? It seems to be a very fine work?

I haven't a clue what gets performed around here, the only ones near me really are the LA Phil and the Hollywood Bowl and the latter is mostly Pops stuff.

I heard some Delius (Cuckoo) on XM Pops the other day and that was pretty neat--I may not listen to that station enough, but they don't typically play 20th century stuff on there.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Nunc Dimittis on June 13, 2007, 04:00:13 PM
Other than Elgar and Vaughan Williams, apparently not that often (at least, based on casual observation of concert programs over the years).  Actually, the British composer whom I've seen listed most often recently has been...Harrison Birtwistle!  But no Delius, little Holst (other than The Planets), no Grainger, Tippett, Bridge, Berkeley...and I don't think I've ever seen a Bax symphony listed anywhere.

--Bruce

Are you forgetting Britten.  The San Francisco Sym. performs him frequently.  Here in Sacramento the local opera company will be doing one  of his operas this coming season.  I think the Turn of the Screw.


Bax is rarely performed in Britain. The last Bax symphony to be performed at the London Proms was No 5 in 1984 (I was there). The Albert Hall was half empty :(

I was in London in October of 2003 and Handley performed Bax's Symphony no. 3 at the Royal Academy of Music.  It was sold out.  The audience included the Dutchess of Gloucester and Lady Ursula Vaughan Williams.  The concert hall at the RAM is not as large and this was just before the releaes of Handley's complete set of Bax symphonies.  That may have accounted for the full attendance.  Oh, the person sitting next to me at that concert was Lewis Foreman.  I did not know that there is a new edition of his Bax biography available.  I also heard from a friend who lives in England and likes Bax's music that the First symphony was performed in Northern Ireland a year or two ago.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Hector on June 14, 2007, 05:19:53 AM
Does VW second symphony get performed often? It seems to be a very fine work?

Sir Colin performed it with the National Youth Orchestra at the Proms last year.

No Bax that I can find at the forthcoming Proms but every other British composer of any note, both living and dead, seems to be represented except Delius, including Elgar's Apostles!

I suspect that Bax requires more than the usual amount of rehearsal time which might mitigate against any symphony being included.

Also, so few conductors of any note seem able and willing to take him on.

A seeming convert to the efficacies of British music is Sakari Oramo! Elgar, Foulds...come on Sakari!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on June 23, 2007, 06:52:30 AM
I have just ordered Eugene Goosens conducting Bax Symphony 2 on Dutton (1950s recording) which sounds like a very exciting release (with Tintagel etc)

http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=CDBP9779

I wish that RCA would issued Edward Downes's excellent LSO performance of Symphony 3 on CD (unlikely I think as RCA have cut right back on classical issues).This was my introduction to Bax when Lancaster University had the LP in their library in the 1970s. I spent most of my time in the library listening to it!

Interesting about the Symphony 2.  I just favouritised the Dutton page to order it after this.  I was so impressed with their rework of Barbirolli and the Symphony 3.   I studied this work in some detail against a casette tape recorded from a reissued LP.  I'm also acquainted with the Downes, the more recent Naxos and the Bryden Thompson which I simply couldn't get on with.  Bless his soul, but his tempi are all over the place especially the last movement with exaggerated changes that I found exasperating.  I was happier with his 4th. 

The great news is that the Lyrita 6th is up for reissue this month.  Magical, that one.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 25, 2007, 11:53:44 PM
Interesting about the Symphony 2.  I just favouritised the Dutton page to order it after this.  I was so impressed with their rework of Barbirolli and the Symphony 3.   I studied this work in some detail against a casette tape recorded from a reissued LP.  I'm also acquainted with the Downes, the more recent Naxos and the Bryden Thompson which I simply couldn't get on with.  Bless his soul, but his tempi are all over the place especially the last movement with exaggerated changes that I found exasperating.  I was happier with his 4th. 

The great news is that the Lyrita 6th is up for reissue this month.  Magical, that one.

Yes, you are right about Thomson's No 4. The Lyrita release that I'm most looking forward to is Raymond Leppard's unrivalled recording of Symphony 5.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 28, 2007, 09:09:18 AM
Lyrita has a new Bax CD out:

http://lyrita.co.uk/cgi-bin/lyrita_build.pl?filename=SRCD0296.txt

(http://lyrita.co.uk/covers/SRCD0296.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 29, 2007, 05:41:00 AM
Lyrita has a new Bax CD out:

http://lyrita.co.uk/cgi-bin/lyrita_build.pl?filename=SRCD0296.txt

(http://lyrita.co.uk/covers/SRCD0296.jpg)

great news, have ordered it today :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 29, 2007, 06:54:43 PM
where did you order it/

TJ
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on June 30, 2007, 01:36:12 AM
Unless caiman has it, I'll be ordering from musicweb international.   And about time this got reissued.  I think it first came out around 1964 and Mr Itter would not be persuaded to reissue it. 

Next looking out for the 2nd and 5th on Lyrita. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on June 30, 2007, 08:50:03 AM
Unless caiman has it, I'll be ordering from musicweb international.   And about time this got reissued.  I think it first came out around 1964 and Mr Itter would not be persuaded to reissue it. 

Next looking out for the 2nd and 5th on Lyrita. 

and the Handley recordings on this disc were never even released!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 30, 2007, 09:08:04 AM
where did you order it/

TJ

From MDT mail order UK. They have the Lyritas at £10.00

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/pages/category/category.asp?ctgry=CD&cookie%5Ftest=1
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on July 09, 2007, 09:36:19 AM
Does anyone have any opinions on Bax's choral work?  Any recommmended recordings?

I have the two CDs of ORCHESTRAL CHORAL works on CHANDOS, but I'm talkin about strictly choral such as Mater ora filium
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on July 10, 2007, 09:22:29 PM
If you haven't picked up Chandos Orchestral Works Series yet, Amazon seems to have lowered the price to $9.98 for all of them (even the double CD w/ winter legends  & symphonic variations)

They seem to have lowered MSRP to $9.98 on all the releases in the Chandos Classics Line.  That includes 3 wonderful Moeran discs conducted by Handley and  Bliss's Colour Symphony by the Ulster Orchestra.


Makes me wish I waited a few more months before purchasing some of those, but oh well!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 12, 2007, 03:45:30 AM
Just received the new Lyrita Bax Symphony 6 (Del Mar); a great disc with an appropriately atmospheric photograph of the coastline at Morar (Scotland), where Bax composed most of the symphony( see photo above). The remastering is excellent; the epilogue is hauntingly beautiful and the CD comes with some interesting fill-ups, including "Irish Landscape", "Overture to Adventure" etc.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on July 12, 2007, 07:25:31 AM
Just received the new Lyrita Bax Symphony 6 (Del Mar); a great disc with an appropriately atmospheric photograph of the coastline at Morar (Scotland), where Bax composed most of the symphony( see photo above). The remastering is excellent; the epilogue is hauntingly beautiful and the CD comes with some interesting fill-ups, including "Irish Landscape", "Overture to Adventure" etc.

thanks for the note.  Can't wait for it. I bit the bullet and ordered from amazon uk instead of waiting for the US release.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 12, 2007, 12:04:01 PM
thanks for the note.  Can't wait for it. I bit the bullet and ordered from amazon uk instead of waiting for the US release.

You wont be disappointed. The sleeve notes, from the old Lyrita LP by Peter J Pirie are also excellent.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on July 14, 2007, 06:00:06 PM
You wont be disappointed. The sleeve notes, from the old Lyrita LP by Peter J Pirie are also excellent.


There's a review of the new Lyrita disc by Graham Parlett on the Bax website:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/lyrita.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2007, 03:10:09 PM

There's a review of the new Lyrita disc by Graham Parlett on the Bax website:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/lyrita.htm

Many thanks, I read it with great interest and largely agree with the conclusions. I am looking forward to Symphony 2 and 5 (my favourite) appearing in due course.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on July 15, 2007, 05:44:42 PM
Many thanks, I read it with great interest and largely agree with the conclusions. I am looking forward to Symphony 2 and 5 (my favourite) appearing in due course.

I believe that's coming in January of next year. It was originally slated to be reissued in May, I do not know why they switched the schedule.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2007, 11:35:11 PM
I believe that's coming in January of next year. It was originally slated to be reissued in May, I do not know why they switched the schedule.

Yes, i'd been told May too. Still, No 6 can keep us going until next year!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on July 18, 2007, 10:18:47 AM
Just got an e-mail from NAXOS:

====
From:   "Erica Moats" <[emailremoved]@naxosusa.com>

Thank you for your interest in Naxos and our Bax recordings!

BAX:  Piano Music, Vol.4
Is currently scheduled for a September release

BAX   Violin Sonatas Nos. 2 and 4
Is currently scheduled for a November release

Be sure to visit www.naxos.com for information on these upcoming
releases
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on August 07, 2007, 09:30:40 AM
Another review for the new Lyrita disc:

http://musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2007/Aug07/Bax6_SRCD296.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on September 25, 2007, 01:02:42 PM
(http://photos-125.ll.facebook.com/photos-ll-sf2p/v134/191/42/510456125/n510456125_259942_8166.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mark on September 25, 2007, 02:17:10 PM
(http://photos-125.ll.facebook.com/photos-ll-sf2p/v134/191/42/510456125/n510456125_259942_8166.jpg)

Just read Calum MacDonald's (real name, Malcolm MacDonald (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_MacDonald_%28music_critic%29) - one of very few reviewers whose opinions I take seriously, having been successfully steered by him in the past towards numerous excellent CD purchases) glowing review of this CD in the latest edition of BBC Music magazine. It's been added to my burgeoning wishlist. ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on October 02, 2007, 08:28:07 PM
Another review:


http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/twopianos.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 07, 2007, 12:19:06 AM
Just bought a fascinating second hand CD with the original (piano) version of Bax's First Symphony (John McCabe Continuum CCD 1045). It was originally a Piano Sonata and the quite beautiful central movement is completely different to the one in the Symphony 1. It is a very haunting and atmospheric movement which Bax did not think appropriate for an orchestral treatment.  if you like Bax, look out for this CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: sound67 on October 07, 2007, 01:06:57 AM
Just bought a fascinating second hand CD with the original (piano) version of Bax's First Symphony (John McCabe Continuum CCD 1045).

This work is also included in this, the best recording of Bax's piano sonatas:

(http://www.michaelendres.com/WebSite%20Deutsch/Images/CD%20Cover/BAX%20Mittel.jpg)

Quote
It’s always important for a composer to interest performers outside his own country; but when a musician as eminent as leading German pianist Michael Endres decides to record the Piano Sonatas, we seem to have reached a Baxian watershed comparable to that moment when Bernard Haitink took up his baton to record the complete Vaughan Williams symphonies.   

A watershed in another way, too. Although this is the sixth complete set of the numbered sonatas to be recorded, it’s the first to include the 1921 Sonata in E-flat major which Bax recast orchestrally (with a new slow movement) as his First Symphony. The piano original is a mightily complex and original 3-movement structure, weighing in at 32 minutes; and Endres – in an advance on John McCabe’s pioneer reading on Continuum – leaves us in no doubt that this restless epic is fully worthy of a place alongside its more familiar, equally formidable siblings. 

His poise and lucid articulation are unfailing on, as Robert Hull put it, “an instrument stubborn to reproduce convincingly a harmony not only unusually elaborate but often exceedingly rapid in its integral changes”. That the pianist achieves this so consistently without losing sight of the wood for the technical trees is hugely impressive. In his booklet interview with Richard Adams, Endres pays tribute to Vernon Handley’s “amazing” ability to bring out the structural strength of Bax’s music by tight pacing, and he puts his money where his mouth is – no indulgent lingering here, for sure. He does exactly what’s marked in the score, no more, no less. 

This attractive, easy decisiveness stems no doubt from the experience of having played the works regularly in public. Endres’ pianistic armoury is masterfully deployed, whether in matters of dynamic gradation, rhythmic precision or elasticity of rubato, which is never overdone. When he brings out the big guns at the clangourous climax of the 1st Sonata the impact is overwhelming, but he can impress just as deeply in the reflective, brooding lagoons of the 2nd. Throughout both works tempi and transitions are unarguably judged; and if Endres’ iron-grip personality refuses to indulge Bax’s invitations to Lisztian bravura, the compensation for moments of brusqueness lies in a bar-by-bar vitality which holds the listener in thrall. 

About the last two sonatas there can be no doubts whatsoever. No other recording has captured so fully the mercurial mood changes and emotional variety of the 3rd, which make it the hardest sonata to bring off. Endres uncovers a cornucopia of pianistic colour and musical substance which reveal it to be the most rewarding of the lot – this is an astonishingly good performance! Nor does he sell the simpler, more relaxed appeal of the 4th Sonata short, revelling in its comparatively chaste lines and bringing out hints of neo-classical serenity and unexpected flashes of jazz-cool wit. 

In such multi-planar music no single interpretation could ever be considered “definitive”, but Endres’ musicianship throughout the cycle is consummately absorbing. All five performances grow and deepen on acquaintance. His work is enhanced by a near-perfect recording, engineered by Walburga Dahmen in WDR’s Cologne Bismarck-Saal, bright and clean in the treble but full-throated in the lower reaches, effortlessly capturing Endres’ tonal nuances without dynamic compromise. Nor do Oehms’ unhackneyed photos of the composer, lively interview or booklet design let the side down. Michael Endres has raised the bar for Bax pianists the world over.

Christopher Webber 2006

Thomas
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 07, 2007, 07:33:11 AM
Thanks Thomas,

Will look out for that CD.

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on November 12, 2007, 08:16:18 AM
Another new CD due! :D I think it's already out in the UK?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U22djumCL._SS400_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FcRyURJ9L._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on January 25, 2008, 07:08:59 PM
here's the cover art for the new Lyrita CD:


(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/SRCD233.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on January 26, 2008, 02:56:46 AM
I hope that emusic gets this one up quickly.   I always liked Fredman's rendering of the No 2.   Tempted to buy it as a CD.  As a reissue it's long overdue.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: The new erato on January 26, 2008, 06:55:26 AM
I think Bax may have jut "clicked" for me. Recently listened to the 4t (Handely/Chandos) - 15 years after I bought it and never having been impressed by it - now it was awesome. Quite Sibelian, never have got that reference before either. Will listen to the rest of my Bax CDs (all 3 of them) which also never have made a strong impression. Just the wonder of this hobby.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 26, 2008, 08:17:27 AM
I think Bax may have jut "clicked" for me. Recently listened to the 4t (Handely/Chandos) - 15 years after I bought it and never having been impressed by it - now it was awesome. Quite Sibelian, never have got that reference before either. Will listen to the rest of my Bax CDs (all 3 of them) which also never have made a strong impression. Just the wonder of this hobby.

Great news! Which other works are you now going to try?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: The new erato on January 26, 2008, 08:32:00 AM
Great news! Which other works are you now going to try?
I have 3 Naxos CDs - the string quartets and the symphony nr 1 - and will give them an airing in the space of the next couple of weeks, and then we'll see. Have gotten a recommendation for the violin concerto on Chandos from a friend, and as violin concertoes may be one of the years "projects", maybe that will be a place to start....
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 26, 2008, 08:39:45 AM
I have 3 Naxos CDs - the string quartets and the symphony nr 1 - and will give them an airing in the space of the next couple of weeks, and then we'll see. Have gotten a recommendation for the violin concerto on Chandos from a friend, and as violin concertoes may be one of the years "projects", maybe that will be a place to start....

I don't know the string quartets yet, but I do know the First symphony: very dark, very powerful. From what I have read, though, it seems the Handley performance scores over all the others. I know the Thomson, on Chandos, and though some find fault with it, I have always liked it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Harry on January 26, 2008, 08:51:22 AM
Handley is indeed the best way to go with Bax, but I also have the Thomson recordings, and like them very much. Compare both recordings to the Naxos issues, Handley will come out top, with a close follow up by Thomson. But the Naxos has its merits too.
The SQ on Naxos are superb played.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on January 27, 2008, 08:47:29 AM
I may have said this before.  If so, apologies.

I never got on with Bryden Thomson's renderings except the 4th which I believe was recorded in Belfast and doesn't suffer his quirky tempi - his version of the 3rd is particularly quirky.  I know Bax didn't include metronome markings in most of his scores but Thomson's Bax 3rd really is all over the place.  But the problem afflicting all Thomson's recordings (except the 4th) is that they were recorded in an appalling acoustic.  All-Saints, Tooting Bec, has a lovely cathedrally acoustic - gorgeous for Palestrina but an absolute pain for Bax' romantic, chromatic harmonies.  They get insufferably blurred.  They may appeal to some tastes but those wanting to hear Bax harmonies un-muddied have to turn elsewhere.

The fact that he did a brilliant Bax 4 is great because the rest (apart from 3) can be made up from the Lyrita series which were excellent recordings.
.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 27, 2008, 08:53:28 AM
I may have said this before.  If so, apologies.

I never got on with Bryden Thomson's renderings except the 4th which I believe was recorded in Belfast and doesn't suffer his quirky tempi - his version of the 3rd is particularly quirky.  I know Bax didn't include metronome markings in most of his scores but Thomson's Bax 3rd really is all over the place.

I think you mean the third and final movement especially, where the tempi are indeed very strange.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on January 27, 2008, 09:46:36 AM
I think you may have mentioned that before, Anacho, and like I said before, for many of the shorter orchestral works---Thomson is the only available recording. 

Maybe this will change in the future, but I'll hold on to them.:)

I think I read somewhere that his recordings sounded better when they were on LP then the subsequent CD reissues. I have no idea if that is accurate, but if it is you wonder if the "remastered" CDs (the "Orchestral Works" budget series) sound better.  Supposedly Chandos is reissuing the ballets disc when Handley's 2nd disc of Tone Poems comes out.  That will, I think, complete my collection of the Thomson Bax recordings!

Although I will say, while it's unfortunate that they didn't record the whole series with the Ulster Orchestra, I'm glad that this stuff got recorded, such as the cello and violin concertos, Christmas Eve, Saga Fragment, Winter Legends, etc; because again, if it weren't for Chandos, many of these would be much harder to track down.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on January 27, 2008, 01:49:14 PM
I surely go along with your last remark - but for Chandos the catalogue of British music would be very much the poorer.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 30, 2008, 05:14:20 AM
here's the cover art for the new Lyrita CD:


(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/SRCD233.jpg)

I have been waiting for this for decades, mainly for Leppard's unrivalled performance of Symphony No 5, which had a huge impact on me in the 1970s on LP.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on February 03, 2008, 09:39:31 AM
I have been waiting for this for decades, mainly for Leppard's unrivalled performance of Symphony No 5, which had a huge impact on me in the 1970s on LP.


Amazon.co.uk is showing a release date in April. I hope that's a mistake. if true, it won't be out in the US until even after that, I suspect.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on February 03, 2008, 11:08:24 AM
Curious - MDT has it available now - which doesn't mean they actually have it in stock.  They're pretty efficient though and it means they can order it now (and usually it's in stock at Nimbus).

They table the release date as 02/08 - hopefully that means next Friday in the American date format, not the 2nd of August.

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//SRCD233.htm


Edit - got the day wrong!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2008, 11:40:57 AM
I never got on with Bryden Thomson's renderings except the 4th which I believe was recorded in Belfast and doesn't suffer his quirky tempi - his version of the 3rd is particularly quirky.  I know Bax didn't include metronome markings in most of his scores but Thomson's Bax 3rd really is all over the place.  But the problem afflicting all Thomson's recordings (except the 4th) is that they were recorded in an appalling acoustic.  All-Saints, Tooting Bec, has a lovely cathedrally acoustic - gorgeous for Palestrina but an absolute pain for Bax' romantic, chromatic harmonies.  They get insufferably blurred.  They may appeal to some tastes but those wanting to hear Bax harmonies un-muddied have to turn elsewhere.

I can't let this pass. Thomson's survey of the symphonies has certainly not been surpassed by Handley or Lloyd Jones: it is very much Handley's approach to soften and blur the contour and terracing, emphasizing the visceral passion central to Bax's music- Thompson by contrast is much clearer in his grasp of the music's intensity and sexuality. I know his recordings very well and regard them extremely highly, and the brooding inner world of the Third is marvellously captured, and with a fine account of the visionary slow movement.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 03, 2008, 03:02:24 PM
Just received the new Lyrita of Bax Symphony 2 and 5: a wonderful disc. Raymond Leppard's recording of No 5 is (in my view) in a class of its own.  From the opening bars there is an utterly compelling visionary quality, of enormous epic power which I have not found in other versions (and I have the Lloyd-Jones, Handley and Thomson versions too). Myer Fredman's No 2 is similarly compelling.

I too think that Thomson's Bax recordings are undervalued. My favourite Thomson CD has his unrivalled version of Nympholept, Paen and the beautiful Christmas Eve in the mountains. His recordings of symphonies 1,2,3,4 and 6 are excellent and 5 and 7 are good also.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2008, 03:16:12 PM
Just received the new Lyrita of Bax Symphony 2 and 5: a wonderful disc. Raymond Leppard's recording of No 5 is (in my view) in a class of its own.  From the opening bars there is an utterly compelling visionary quality, of enormous epic power which I have not found in other versions (and I have the Lloyd-Jones, Handley and Thomson versions too). Myer Fredman's No 2 is similarly compelling.

I too think that Thomson's Bax recordings are undervalued. My favourite Thomson CD has his unrivalled version of Nympholept, Paen and the beautiful Christmas Eve in the mountains. His recordings of symphonies 1,2,3,4 and 6 are excellent and 5 and 7 are good also.

I concur. Although I will gladly believe Handley does a very fine job, I have always enjoyed Thomson's readings, ever since buying them (on cassette!) at Tower Records, in London, in the 1980s.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on February 04, 2008, 06:26:20 AM
Don't get me wrong about Thomson's readings - the 4th seems brilliant though it's one of those for which I don't have the score and was IIRC only the second attempt at setting this symphony on record.  His 3rd was...bizarre, especially in the last movement as Jezetha has concurred.  Perhaps I'm biased by Barbirolli's reading - he knew Bax personally - Bax had plenty of opportunity to comment.   

Still, it all comes down to what appeals to us individually in the end.  I gave my view based on an amount of detailed study of Bax' symphonies (except the 4th). 
...I welcome contrary views.   ...And I wish Thomson had chosen somewhere better to record.  The only worse place I can think of is the Sistine Chapel without its drapes.  I start a bit suspicious of Thomson's tempi though.  He was the one who recorded Elgar's 2nd about 15 minutes longer than the slowest hitherto.   
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 04, 2008, 06:44:47 AM
the 4th seems brilliant though it's one of those for which I don't have the score and was IIRC only the second attempt at setting this symphony on record. His 3rd was...bizarre, especially in the last movement as Jezetha has concurred. And I wish Thomson had chosen somewhere better to record.  The only worse place I can think of is the Sistine Chapel without its drapes.    

 ;D

I have never ever seen a Bax score - so you have most of the symphonies? Lucky you! You say Thomson's Fourth 'seems brilliant' - this raises the interesting question whether to believe your ears or your reading eyes... And re the Third - yes, as I said, Thomson does some very strange things with the tempi there that, even without having recourse to a score, seem unwarranted.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 06:52:12 AM
Good to hear from other Baxians- he's a misunderstood composer, intuitive and rhapsodic, rather Wagnerian of course, not transparently structural. Once I understood what he was doing and saw how misplaced my irritation looking for formal frames was, I became a total convert and even listened to nothing but Bax for a while.

The Fourth is the most intoxicated and dreamy, delerious symphony and I played it endlessly. I read there's a Boult/LSO recording of it as well as the Barbirolli. I've talked about Bax a lot in the past so I avoided this thread, but for the record here's the works of his I've got to know-

A Legend, Cathaleen ni Hoolihan, Cello concerto, Christmas eve, Concertante, Cortege, Dance of wild Irravel, Festival overture, From dusk till dawn, Golden eagle, In memoriam,
In the faery hills, Into the twilight, London pageant organ, Malta GC, Mediterranean,
Northern ballads Nos.1-3, November woods, Nympholept, Oliver Twist Parlett suite, On the sea shore completed, Overture to a picaresque comedy, Paean, Rogue’s comedy overture, Romantic overture, Roscatha, Russian suite, Spring fire, Summer music, Symphonic scherzo, Symphonies Nos.1-7, Tamara suite, The Garden of Fand, The Happy forest, The Tale the pine-trees knew, The Truth about the Russian dancers, Three Pieces, Tintagel, Violin concerto, Winter legends, Concertante for piano left hand, Morning song, Saga fragment, Symphonic variations, Clarinet sonata, Elegiac trio, Flute, oboe, harp and string quartet concerto, Harp quintet, Nonet, Oboe quintet, Octet, Piano quintet, Piano trio, String quartets Nos.1-3, Viola sonata, Violin sonatas Nos.1-2, Hardanger, Moy Mell, Piano four hands sonata, Red autumn, The Devil that tempted St Anthony, The Poisened fountain, Rhapsodic ballad, A Hill tune, Apple-blossom-time, A Romance, Burlesque, Country tune, Lullaby, Nereid, O Dame get up and bake your pies,
On a May evening, Piano sonatas Nos.1-4, Sleepy-head, The Maiden with the daffodil
The Princess’s rose garden, Water music, Winter waters, A Lyke-wake, Eternity, Glamour
Slumber song, The Bard of Dimbovitz, Enchanted summer, Fatherland, Mater ora Filium, Walsinghame
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 04, 2008, 06:56:54 AM
That's more or less the whole canon, Sean, as far as I know! Did you read Lewis Foreman's biography, by any chance? I haven't. Yet...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 06:58:55 AM
I guess not...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on February 04, 2008, 08:29:22 AM
;D

I have never ever seen a Bax score - so you have most of the symphonies? Lucky you! You say Thomson's Fourth 'seems brilliant' - this raises the interesting question whether to believe your ears or your reading eyes... And re the Third - yes, as I said, Thomson does some very strange things with the tempi there that, even without having recourse to a score, seem unwarranted.

The 3rd was one I studied in detail.  You're right - the score isn't necessary to see how he botched the last movement - a shame because the entry of the Cor Anglais' "Piu Lento" episode (about halfway through, excluding the Epilogue) is robbed of its tranquil magic almost completely because he takes the preceding section too slowly.  At one point, Bax asks to speed up a little to "piu moderato" which Thomson doesn't, IIRC. 

All the symphony scores now seem available through Warners who took over Chappel, the original publishers - the Warner ones are a bit pricey, the original pocket scores for 1, 3, 5 and 6 are availble through Boosey's (etc) under a "Select Music" imprint.

I don't know if Boult recorded Bax' 4th.  Tapes lifted off the BBC broadcasts in 1956 or thereabouts surface here and there.  The 2nd (cond: Goossens) was issued on CD by Dutton (as was the 3rd by Barbirolli - a better reissue than the EMI imo).  I think Fredman did a No 3 in Australia.   If Sean can find a comprehensive list of performances I'd be most glad to have a look if he'd care to share! 

edit: grammar

 


Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 04, 2008, 08:47:38 AM
I read somewhere (on Musicweb or the Bax site itself) that Goossens' 2nd is terrific. Do you know it?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 08:54:01 AM
Quote
If Sean can find a comprehensive list of performances I'd be most glad to have a look if he'd care to share!


I'm just going on a Boult recording mentioned in the 1984 Penguin guide.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on February 04, 2008, 09:22:21 AM
Quote
If Sean can find a comprehensive list of performances I'd be most glad to have a look if he'd care to share!

I'm guessing this is as comprehensive you will get, of studio recordings, anyway:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/disc.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 09:59:01 AM
A good site- plenty of interesting stuff to read.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 11:25:03 AM
I like this- Handley talking about Vaughan Williams

At the beginning of our interview Tod pulled Lewis Foreman’s study of Bax off his shelf and read a favourite passage from it aloud.

VH: Ah yes, I love this. This is Vaughan Williams in a letter to the Radio Times. And he says: “I notice a curious error in your issue of December 16th in discussing a concert of compositions by Arnold Bax and various continental composers – Szymanowski, Schoenberg, Conrad Beck, Hindemith, Norbert van Halaman, Poulenc and Stravinsky. You state that Arnold Bax is clearly in place in this distinguished company. I take it that the sentence was meant to express that the other composers were not unworthy of a place beside Arnold Bax? Personally I do not consider that most of the names on that list are worthy to stand beside Bax but this, of course, is a matter of opinion.” Glorious!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on February 04, 2008, 12:00:22 PM
Did you read Lewis Foreman's biography, by any chance? I haven't. Yet...

It is excellent.  I pretty much loathe reading books (I do enough of it for school!) but I couldn't put that book down the summer that I got it. A fascinating read bringing some insight about compositions that I didn't know before, also tons of letters to and from the man. 

If most composer biographies are of that ilk---I might need to check out the library! :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on February 04, 2008, 12:43:45 PM
I'm guessing this is as comprehensive you will get, of studio recordings, anyway:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/disc.htm

Many thanks for that! 

I notice it omits the Goossens/BBC SO issue of the No. 2 on Dutton (CDBP 9779) that claims to be off the BBC tapes probably because it wasn't an official recording of the time. 

I read somewhere (on Musicweb or the Bax site itself) that Goossens' 2nd is terrific. Do you know it?

Well, it's ok.  The reading has enough drive but the sound is muffled, a little low on frequency range, considering what was possible at that time.  Certainly a brave effort on Goossens' behalf, considering his age and health.  I bought it - at £6 it was well worth it especially as it contains more Bax.   It doesn't have quite the power of Fredman's reading (speaking from hearing Lyrita's LP.  I've yet to hear the CD but according to reports above it lives up to the high quality of Lyrita reissues.  I'll definitely be buying that one)!

It's a shame that the other BBC recordings aren't available.  They'd make interesting comparisons - probably conductors who knew Bax.

edit: timings of No 2.
In case anyone is interested, the Goossens is 36'47; Fredman: 37'39; Thomson: 41'42. 




Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on February 04, 2008, 01:14:45 PM
Quote
I notice it omits the Goossens/BBC SO issue of the No. 2 on Dutton (CDBP 9779) that claims to be off the BBC tapes probably because it wasn't an official recording of the time.

it could also just be out of date.


Notice it also shows that the Lyrita recording of Symphony 6 and Overtures not released on CD, when of course, they were released quite a few months ago.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 05, 2008, 01:30:37 PM
I read somewhere (on Musicweb or the Bax site itself) that Goossens' 2nd is terrific. Do you know it?

Yes, it's a terrific performance as is his Tintagel which comes on the same disc.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 06, 2008, 01:40:29 AM
I got to know the Second from the Edward Downes/ BBCSO LP, the most remarkable thing about this recording being that the orchestra sounds like it's playing absolutely central repertory not something from the fringes: they play with an entirely naturally mature conviction and refinement you might only expect in say a Brahms symphony. The music very much deserves it of course.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 08, 2008, 05:48:25 AM
I got to know the Second from the Edward Downes/ BBCSO LP, the most remarkable thing about this recording being that the orchestra sounds like it's playing absolutely central repertory not something from the fringes: they play with an entirely naturally mature conviction and refinement you might only expect in say a Brahms symphony. The music very much deserves it of course.

I wish that RCA or someone else would release Bax's Third Symphony (LSO Downes). This was how I got to discover Bax as my university had a copy of the LP in their record library in the 1970s. I spent many hours listening to it. Some critics don't like it but it remains my favourite version.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 08, 2008, 05:55:15 AM
Hi vandermolen

Quote
My favourite Thomson CD has his unrivalled version of Nympholept, Paen and the beautiful Christmas Eve in the mountains.

You're the first person I've come across who's mentioned this disc, but it is very special- Christmas Eve is a fabulous piece, very Wagnerian with the sense of constantly reaching into new realms with those endless chords; Paean of course also has minimalist associations and the intoxication of repetition.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 08, 2008, 06:26:16 AM
I wish that RCA or someone else would release Bax's Third Symphony (LSO Downes). This was how I got to discover Bax as my university had a copy of the LP in their record library in the 1970s. I spent many hours listening to it. Some critics don't like it but it remains my favourite version.

Yes yes! We really are contemporaries - I borrowed the same LP from the music library in Amsterdam. I always found the coupling, The Happy Forest, the best performance I know.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 08, 2008, 08:51:31 AM
Hi vandermolen

You're the first person I've come across who's mentioned this disc, but it is very special- Christmas Eve is a fabulous piece, very Wagnerian with the sense of constantly reaching into new realms with those endless chords; Paean of course also has minimalist associations and the intoxication of repetition.

Hi Sean,

Nice to hear that.  Yes, this is probably my favourite Bax CD (or at least the one I play most often) and yet, apart from Tintagel (on the original Chandos release, though not on the reissue) the pieces are hardly known at all. The Festival Overture starts off conventionally enough but then a characteristically beautiful Baxian tune emerges. Nympholept (more atmospheric in my view than the Naxos version) and Christmas Eve are wonderfully characteristic and, in the latter case, deeply moving works. Paen is a riot. Like Northern Ballad No 1 (on Lyrita), I am surprised (well, saddened rather than surprised) that these works are not better known.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 08, 2008, 08:56:57 AM
Yes yes! We really are contemporaries - I borrowed the same LP from the music library in Amsterdam. I always found the coupling, The Happy Forest, the best performance I know.

That's nice to hear too!

Yes, I was eventually able to buy my own copy when RCA issued it on a mid price label in c 1977/8 but it never made it to CD (RCA also never released Morton Gould conducting Miaskovsky Symphony 21 with Rimsky Korsakov's "Antar" Symphony, which was another great music library discovery from my youth).

A friend of mine on a visit to Russia, many years ago, was amazed at the number of discs devoted to the music of Bax, until he realised that "Bax" was the russian for "Bach"!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 08, 2008, 09:00:31 AM
That's nice to hear too!

Yes, I was eventually able to buy my own copy when RCA issued it on a mid price label in c 1977/8 but it never made it to CD (RCA also never released Morton Gould conducting Miaskovsky Symphony 21 with Rimsky Korsakov's "Antar" Symphony, which was another great music library discovery from my youth).

I found the Morton Gould Miaskovsky 21 somewhere on the Internet, a few weeks ago. Sonically not great, but still... Interested?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 08, 2008, 09:13:19 AM
I found the Morton Gould Miaskovsky 21 somewhere on the Internet, a few weeks ago. Sonically not great, but still... Interested?

Yes, of course.  Do you mean the old LP?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 08, 2008, 09:15:42 AM
Yes, of course.  Do you mean the old LP?

No, a rip... I uploaded it:

http://www.mediafire.com/?4sjbu1zmbxm

No, I didn't - it's Copland's 'The Tender Land'...  :-[
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 08, 2008, 09:24:35 AM
No, a rip... I uploaded it:

http://www.mediafire.com/?4sjbu1zmbxm

Thanks ever so much but I just downloaded it and it is not Miaskovsky Symphony 21!

I think that it is "The Tender Land" by Copland!

I love The Tender Land, so thanks anyway.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 08, 2008, 09:28:30 AM
Thanks ever so much but I just downloaded it and it is not Miaskovsky Symphony 21!

I think that it is "The Tender Land" by Copland!

I love The Tender Land, so thanks anyway.

Hm - I just compared Svetlanov and Gould and noticed they were two completely different works... I am just starting with Miaskosvky's symphonic oeuvre, so I didn't know...  :(

And the Copland piece is new to me, too...

You learn something every day, I suppose.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on February 11, 2008, 08:10:36 AM
Volume 9 in Chandos "Orchestral Works" series, containing Bryden Thomson's recordings of ballet and incidental music is now available for pre-order from MDT:

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//CHAN10457X.htm

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CHAN10457X.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 12, 2008, 06:42:17 AM
I had a message from Lyrita (see below) to say that they are trying to issue the RCA recording of Bax's Third Symphony (LSO, Downes) on Lyrita but negotiations are at an early stage. I will keep my fingers crossed!

Dear Sir,
 
We are already investigating the possibility of getting that recording of Bax 3 for release on Lyrita, but as the process is at an early stage it is impossible to say whether we are likely to be successful.
 
Thank you for your suggestion.
 
Caractacus Downes
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 12, 2008, 06:55:03 AM
I had a message from Lyrita (see below) to say that they are trying to issue the RCA recording of Bax's Third Symphony (LSO, Downes) on Lyrita but negotiations are at an early stage. I will keep my fingers crossed!

Dear Sir,
 
We are already investigating the possibility of getting that recording of Bax 3 for release on Lyrita, but as the process is at an early stage it is impossible to say whether we are likely to be successful.
 
Thank you for your suggestion.
 
Caractacus Downes


Excellent initiative, vandermolen. Let's hope it's successful. (And what a wonderful Elgarian name - 'Caractacus'!)

Johan
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 12, 2008, 08:14:22 AM
Just received the new Lyrita of Bax Symphony 2 and 5: a wonderful disc. Raymond Leppard's recording of No 5 is (in my view) in a class of its own.

I've been looking for that. Where did you purchase it? Its not listed at my usual sources (JPC, Amazon). By the way, it received a 10/10 from Hurwitz:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=11488

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 13, 2008, 01:10:37 AM
I've been looking for that. Where did you purchase it? Its not listed at my usual sources (JPC, Amazon). By the way, it received a 10/10 from Hurwitz:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=11488

Sarge

Sarge/Jezetha

I got it from MDT Mail Order:

www.mdt.co.uk

They sell the Lyritas for £10, which is good value.

Thanks for the interesting link.

I see that, like me, Mr Hurwitz can't wait for Havergal Brian's 6th and 16th symphonies to rise from the ashes.

Caractacus told me that his Dad also wanted to see the Downes Bax 3 on Lyrita. I guess he must be responsible for the Elgarian name of his son!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 13, 2008, 05:35:07 AM
Sarge
I got it from MDT Mail Order:
www.mdt.co.uk

Thanks, Van.

I see that, like me, Mr Hurwitz can't wait for Havergal Brian's 6th and 16th symphonies to rise from the ashes.

Even though I still have the LP of the 6th and 16th, I'm also excited about, and looking forward to, the CD release.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2008, 05:51:14 AM
Thanks, Van.

Even though I still have the LP of the 6th and 16th, I'm also excited about, and looking forward to, the CD release.

Sarge

I have the 6th & 16th on a 25 years old tape cassette - and I can still play them! But it will be smashing to have them finally on CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on February 13, 2008, 06:00:30 AM
I have the 6th & 16th on a 25 years old tape cassette - and I can still play them! But it will be smashing to have them finally on CD.

Scheduled for later this month or early March, I believe?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 13, 2008, 09:00:38 AM
Scheduled for later this month or early March, I believe?

I only have the old LP with no facility to play it. So I am eagerly awaiting the CD release. MDT tell me that they have been inundated with requests for this CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2008, 09:09:32 AM
I only have the old LP with no facility to play it. So I am eagerly awaiting the CD release. MDT tell me that they have been inundated with requests for this CD.

Well well - Brian causing an inundation! Who would have thought it...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on March 05, 2008, 07:31:22 PM
Another new Bax....

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CHAN10446.jpg)


BBC Philharmonic / Vernon Handley

 

· Volume 1 (CHAN10362) – nominated for 2007 BBC Music Award

· Red Autumn – premiere recording

· Three Northern Ballads – recorded together for the first time

 

On Volume 1, International Record Review wrote: ‘This is the greatest single Bax orchestral record I have heard: the orchestral playing is magnificent throughout, of a quality that this music has been crying out for for decades but which it has never received – until now… over and above the excellence of this fine orchestra is the profound understanding and musicianship of Vernon Handley’s conducting.’ For Bax there were several periods of intense creativity when he committed to paper a variety of works in the form of piano scores, and orchestrated them when required. Many of the tone poems performed here were conceived in this fashion, including Red Autumn, which here receives its premiere recording. Originally a solo piano piece, it was then arranged for two pianos by Bax himself. In 2006 the Sir Arnold Bax Trust commissioned Graham Parlett to orchestrate the work in Bax’s early period style specifically for this recording. Heard in its orchestral dress it immediately reveals its family resemblance to the tone poems Nympholept and November Woods, composed round the same time.

 

Vernon Handley brings together for the first time three orchestral movements to which the collective title ‘Three Northern Ballads’ has been given. They date from the late 1920s and early 1930s, breathe much the same atmosphere, and Handley is keen to promote them as forming a unified, almost symphonic, whole. The first, which Bax composed and gave the name ‘Northern Ballad’ in 1927, was followed by a second Ballad, orchestrated in 1931. The third, formally entitled Prelude for a Solemn Occasion, appears to evoke a Sibelian musical landscape, and occupies the same world as the composer’s Sixth Symphony, which followed almost immediately. When Bax orchestrated the third piece he was taking his usual winter sojourn at Morar, Inverness-shire, and in a letter to a friend wrote, ‘It suggests an atmosphere of the dark north and perhaps dark happenings among the mists’. The nature painting in the work certainly calls to mind the wilds of Scotland.

 

Joining this quasi-symphonic work, in addition to Red Autumn, are three further early tone poems. Into the Twilight dates from Bax’s first intensive period of composition, the years immediately preceding World War I, and originated as the prelude to a planned Irish opera, Deirdre. It received only one performance during Bax’s lifetime, in 1909, conducted by Thomas Beecham. Nympholept which followed was the work in which Bax fully achieved the impressionistic technique of his first maturity. It suggests the pagan natural world in which Bax was so deeply interested. The Happy Forest, follows a pastoral short story by Herbert Farjeon, and is an Arcadian evocation much like Nympholept. It was first performed in 1923 under Eugene Goossens, its dedicatee.

 

Vernon Handley, who has known Bax’s music for almost 50 years and in recent years has given us a five-disc set of Bax’s seven symphonies (CHAN10122(5)), conducts the BBC Philharmonic.

 

Chandos CHAN10446
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 06, 2008, 06:04:29 AM
Another new Bax....

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CHAN10446.jpg)

Thank you. This is very exciting news. I was always amazed that there was only one available recording of the First Northern Ballad, one of my favourite shorter Bax works (Boult/Lyrita). Good for Vernon Handley. Nympholept is an entirely characteristic and little known score (there is a fine earlier Chandos recording with Bryden Thomson and a Naxos recording).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on March 06, 2008, 08:16:17 AM
Having spent a good part of last night going through the splendid David Parlett site which lists all Bax's compositions-we still need versions of his 1904 Variations for Orchestra(Improvisations), the 1920 Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra, the Five Fantasies on Polish Christmas Carols for unison trebles and string orchestra(1940-42), 'To Russia' for baritone, chorus and orchestra(1944) and the Variations on the name Gabriel Faure for harp and strings(1949).

Of these I reckon the Viola Phantasy is probably the most important but "To Russia" intrigues!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on March 06, 2008, 09:41:41 AM
Having spent a good part of last night going through the splendid David Parlett site which lists all Bax's compositions-we still need versions of his 1904 Variations for Orchestra(Improvisations), the 1920 Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra, the Five Fantasies on Polish Christmas Carols for unison trebles and string orchestra(1940-42), 'To Russia' for baritone, chorus and orchestra(1944) and the Variations on the name Gabriel Faure for harp and strings(1949).

Of these I reckon the Viola Phantasy is probably the most important but "To Russia" intrigues!

Handley recorded the Viola Phantasy for Conifer a number of years ago but it is well out of print and hard to find.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on March 07, 2008, 05:49:25 PM
BTW Dundonnel, this might have saved you some time:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/unrecorded.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on March 07, 2008, 08:34:32 PM
BTW Dundonnel, this might have saved you some time:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/unrecorded.htm

Thanks for the reference! Oh well, it was good fun anyway!

I missed the Song of War and Victory(1905) which David Parlett simply says is "not lost". I had no idea that it is a 15 minute orchestral work.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on April 05, 2008, 10:10:43 PM
Thank you. This is very exciting news. I was always amazed that there was only one available recording of the First Northern Ballad, one of my favourite shorter Bax works (Boult/Lyrita). Good for Vernon Handley. Nympholept is an entirely characteristic and little known score (there is a fine earlier Chandos recording with Bryden Thomson and a Naxos recording).


Mine arrived yesterday. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet though.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 05, 2008, 11:45:29 PM

Mine arrived yesterday. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet though.

Me too but I have listened to it. I am very pleased to have another recording of Northern Ballad No 1. I am delighted with the disc and prefer the selection to Volume 1 but I marginally prefer Boult in the First Northern Ballad (Lyrita) and Thomson in Nympholept. This is still a must purchase for all Bax fans....a great CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 05, 2008, 11:49:43 PM
Me too but I have listened to it. I am very pleased to have another recording of Northern Ballad No 1. I am delighted with the disc and prefer the selection to Volume 1 but I marginally prefer Boult in the First Northern Ballad (Lyrita) and Thomson in Nympholept. This is still a must purchase for all Bax fans....a great CD.

Jeffrey, how does Handley do 'The Happy Forest'? I have always preferred Downes (only on LP, alas). His is the most poetic reading, IMO. Thomson and Lloyd-Jones are too prosaic.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 12:15:19 AM
Jeffrey, how does Handley do 'The Happy Forest'? I have always preferred Downes (only on LP, alas). His is the most poetic reading, IMO. Thomson and Lloyd-Jones are too prosaic.

Johan, your wish is my command..I am playing "The Happy Forest" now. I think that it is a very atmospheric and beautifully recorded version. A bit faster that the Downes version (similar timing to Lloyd Jones...I don't know the Thomson).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 06, 2008, 12:26:13 AM
Johan, your wish is my command..I am playing "The Happy Forest" now. I think that it is a very atmospheric and beautifully recorded version. A bit faster that the Downes version (similar timing to Lloyd Jones...I don't know the Thomson).

Thank you, Jeffrey!

I think the glory of 'The Happy Forest' is its central section, the tempo ought to be dreamily slow (but not too much, of course, flow is all). The Downes recording does this very well. Thomson and Lloyd-Jones are both too fast for my liking. And Handley generally likes to keep things moving, so - does he bring out the poetry of that section? When you say his interpretation is 'very atmospheric', I conclude he does. Am I right?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 12:49:33 AM
Thank you, Jeffrey!

I think the glory of 'The Happy Forest' is its central section, the tempo ought to be dreamily slow (but not too much, of course, flow is all). The Downes recording does this very well. Thomson and Lloyd-Jones are both too fast for my liking. And Handley generally likes to keep things moving, so - does he bring out the poetry of that section? When you say his interpretation is 'very atmospheric', I conclude he does. Am I right?

OK Johan, I have just listened to the Handley and Downes versions again (although I had some trouble finding the Downes version as my wife "tidied it away" in the five minute period since I last listened to it ::) , focusing on that haunting central section of The Happy Forest. Handley takes c 4 minutes for the whole slow central section.  Downes takes a minute longer (5 mins against 4 mins), so the Handley might seem too fast for you. I think that the Downes version sounds more "dreamy" and the Handley version more "legendary" if that makes any sense. The Chandos recording adds greatly to the atmosphere. In conclusion, the Handley works well for me and I shall probably be returning to that version more often. I will be interested to hear your views if you get the CD. I wish that they would issue the Downes Bax Third Symphony on CD...my favourite version.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 06, 2008, 01:05:11 AM
OK Johan, I have just listened to the Handley and Downes versions again (although I had some trouble finding the Downes version as my wife "tidied it away" in the five minute period since I last listened to it ::) , focusing on that haunting central section of The Happy Forest. Handley takes c 4 minutes for the whole slow central section.  Downes takes a minute longer (5 mins against 4 mins), so the Handley might seem too fast for you. I think that the Downes version sounds more "dreamy" and the Handley version more "legendary" if that makes any sense. The Chandos recording adds greatly to the atmosphere. In conclusion, the Handley works well for me and I shall probably be returning to that version more often. I will be interested to hear your views if you get the CD. I wish that they would issued the Downes Bax Third Symphony on CD...my favourite version.

I am very grateful to you for going to all that trouble, Jeffrey! I don't have that LP with the Third and 'The Happy Forest', sorry to say, I just borrowed it several times from the library in the 1970s - it was my first exposure to Bax, and it converted me for life. I understand exactly what you mean by 'dreamy' and 'legendary'. It's a question of taste, I suppose, what approach you prefer - I'm a Delian, so 'dreaminess' is a thing I don't say no to... But with the 'legendary' I can live, too.

As you say, I'll have to hear for myself!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 01:13:42 AM
I am very grateful to you for going to all that trouble, Jeffrey! I don't have that LP with the Third and 'The Happy Forest', sorry to say, I just borrowed it several times from the library in the 1970s - it was my first exposure to Bax, and it converted me for life. I understand exactly what you mean by 'dreamy' and 'legendary'. It's a question of taste, I suppose, what approach you prefer - I'm a Delian, so 'dreaminess' is a thing I don't say no to... But with the 'legendary' I can live, too.

As you say, I'll have to hear for myself!

As I think I mentioned before that Downes LP was also my introduction to Bax in the 1970s, when I borrowed it almost every day (you had to listen to it on headphones attached to a turntable in the university library...you weren't allowed to take it out of the library). Lyrita told me that they were thinking about trying to issue it on CD but I then got into trouble as I mentioned this on the Musicweb bulletin board and Lyrita were then bombarded with congratluatory emails from people asking for release dates etc. I was told to curb my "natural enthusiasm" :-X So it might never appear on CD sadly.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 06, 2008, 01:20:11 AM
As I think I mentioned before that Downes LP was also my introduction to Bax in the 1970s, when I borrowed it almost every day (you had to listen to it on headphones attached to a turntable in the university library...you weren't allowed to take it out of the library). Lyrita told me that they were thinking about trying to issue it on CD but I then got into trouble as I mentioned this on the Musicweb bulletin board and Lyrita were then bombarded with congratluatory emails from people asking for release dates etc. I was told to curb my "natural enthusiasm" :-X So it might never appear on CD sadly.

Yes, I remember - you had a mail from Caractacus (!) Downes (iirc). I did wonder what became of this... It would be a shame if your enthusiasm had torpedoed a re-issue. On the other hand - they don't have to do any market research anymore - the demand is there!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 01:24:06 AM
Yes, I remember - you had a mail from Caractacus (!) Downes (iirc). I did wonder what became of this... It would be a shame if your enthusiasm had torpedoed a re-issue. On the other hand - they don't have to do any market research anymore - the demand is there!

Yes, it would sell well I'm sure as I have done all their market research free of charge!

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Christo on April 06, 2008, 01:37:48 AM
Yes, it would sell well I'm sure as I have done all their market research free of charge!

You could even telll them you found a third interested customer  8) (no doubt, regarding this interesting Sunday morning dialogue here, your market research so far identified two willing buyers for Bax: one in Delft and one in Sussex  ;) )
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 06, 2008, 01:45:13 AM
You could even telll them you found a third interested customer  8) (no doubt, regarding this interesting Sunday morning dialogue here, your market research so far identified two willing buyers for Bax: one in Delft and one in Sussex  ;) )

Well, there were countless millions on the Musicweb bulletin board...  ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 02:04:19 AM
You could even telll them you found a third interested customer  8) (no doubt, regarding this interesting Sunday morning dialogue here, your market research so far identified two willing buyers for Bax: one in Delft and one in Sussex  ;) )

Yes, Johan I have been enjoying the Anglo/Dutch Sunday morning dialogue. Fortunately my wife is out of the house otherwise I would be faced with onerous domestic tasks instead of being able to indulge in inter-continental exchanges about my favourite composers Bax, Havergal Brian etc  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Christo on April 06, 2008, 03:32:14 AM
... Fortunately my wife is out of the house otherwise I would be faced with onerous domestic tasks ...  ;D

Well, as mine was safely away from home too, for me it posed the right opportunity to fulfill my domestic duties ...  ::) In the meantime, I rather enjoyed the Sunday morning dialogue across the North Sea~!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on April 06, 2008, 06:21:54 AM
Looking forward to my copy of the new Chandos Bax CD arriving on Monday(?). It takes longer for my new CDs to reach Scotland!
Will be very interested to hear the Handley Northern Ballad No.1-which I have never heard before.

I have 'The Happy Forest' in the versions by Lloyd-Jones on Naxos(coupled with the 3rd symphony), by Thomson on Chandos(coupled with 'November Woods', 'The Garden of Fand' and 'Summer Music', and-lo and behold-I seem to have the Downes version as well on LP.
I had forgotten that LP! During the late 1990s and the last few years, as my CD collection expanded, I really ignored my LPs. Now I have my turntable working again I must give the Downes a spin!

I also have the original Handley version of Symphony No.4(my least favourite Bax symphony, I fear), conducting the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on April 06, 2008, 04:17:48 PM
Me too but I have listened to it. I am very pleased to have another recording of Northern Ballad No 1. I am delighted with the disc and prefer the selection to Volume 1 but I marginally prefer Boult in the First Northern Ballad (Lyrita) and Thomson in Nympholept. This is still a must purchase for all Bax fans....a great CD.


What did you think of the orchestrated version of "Red Autumn" ?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 09:22:58 PM

What did you think of the orchestrated version of "Red Autumn" ?

Am listening to it now. It seems very characteristic although a bit diffuse on second hearing (at one point I thought it was turning into La Valse by Ravel!) but it is dramatic, stormily atmospheric and typically Baxian. I shall be returning to it again.

This is a very good CD although, probably my joint favourite Bax tone poem CD, along with the one below, which I strongly recommend, especially at its new reduced price. The older Thomson Chandos CD contains the beautiful and largely unknown "Christmas Eve".

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bax-Orchestral-Works-Vol-5/dp/B0000DIXS1/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207549004&sr=1-2
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 06, 2008, 09:56:38 PM

This is a very good CD although, probably my joint favourite Bax tone poem CD, along with the one below, which I strongly recommend, especially at its new reduced price. The older Thomson Chandos CD contains the beautiful and largely unknown "Christmas Eve".

If I remember correctly, 'Christmas Eve' was coupled originally with the First Symphony. There is a great passage for organ, if I am not mistaken. Yes, beautiful piece.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2008, 10:02:40 PM
If I remember correctly, 'Christmas Eve' was coupled originally with the First Symphony. There is a great passage for organ, if I am not mistaken. Yes, beautiful piece.

Yes it was. The ending of Christmas Eve is magical as is that of the "Festival Overture" despite its rather unpromising title.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on April 07, 2008, 08:07:30 AM
Am listening to it now. It seems very characteristic although a bit diffuse on second hearing (at one point I thought it was turning into La Valse by Ravel!) but it is dramatic, stormily atmospheric and typically Baxian. I shall be returning to it again.

This is a very good CD although, probably my joint favourite Bax tone poem CD, along with the one below, which I strongly recommend, especially at its new reduced price. The older Thomson Chandos CD contains the beautiful and largely unknown "Christmas Eve".

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bax-Orchestral-Works-Vol-5/dp/B0000DIXS1/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207549004&sr=1-2

Yeah, I have all those re-issued Thomson CDs.  V. 5 is one of my favorites. I still need to listen to the latest one (The Truth About Russian Dancers, From Dusk Til Dawn)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on April 07, 2008, 04:25:37 PM
If I remember correctly, 'Christmas Eve' was coupled originally with the First Symphony. There is a great passage for organ, if I am not mistaken. Yes, beautiful piece.

One of the joys of belonging to this site is being reminded of a piece one hadn't heard for years and returning to the CD machine. I have just listened to 'Christmas Eve' again on the original CD coupled with Thomson's version of the 1st symphony. The first half struck me as typically Baxian nature-painting, very pleasant but a little soporific but then it becomes more Sibelian and animated and proceeds to a gloriously rousing and emotional peroration with magnificent involvement of the organ.

Thanks for bringing it back to my notice!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 07, 2008, 11:12:19 PM
One of the joys of belonging to this site is being reminded of a piece one hadn't heard for years and returning to the CD machine. I have just listened to 'Christmas Eve' again on the original CD coupled with Thomson's version of the 1st symphony. The first half struck me as typically Baxian nature-painting, very pleasant but a little soporific but then it becomes more Sibelian and animated and proceeds to a gloriously rousing and emotional peroration with magnificent involvement of the organ.

Thanks for bringing it back to my notice!!

A pleasure Colin. The Festival Overture also starts out in a rather traditional way but turns into something moving by the end.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 08, 2008, 01:23:56 AM
The prominent thing about Christmas eve is its evidence of Wagner's influence on Bax: there's a strong sense of chord after chord creating itself ex nihilo and without pregiven structure, but with great inevitability. Paean is another one that on paper shouldn't work, but whose motive sounds more fantastic the more it's repeated.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 08, 2008, 10:35:25 PM
The prominent thing about Christmas eve is its evidence of Wagner's influence on Bax: there's a strong sense of chord after chord creating itself ex nihilo and without pregiven structure, but with great inevitability. Paean is another one that on paper shouldn't work, but whose motive sounds more fantastic the more it's repeated.

"Paen" is great fun.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 08, 2008, 11:01:07 PM
"Paen" is great fun.

Agreed. A terrible racket, completely OTT, but I always imagine the faces of worthies sitting stony-faced through it...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 08, 2008, 11:14:57 PM
Agreed. A terrible racket, completely OTT, but I always imagine the faces of worthies sitting stony-faced through it...

I think "Triumphal din" was how I once saw it described.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 08, 2008, 11:20:36 PM
I think "Triumphal din" was how I once saw it described.

 ;D

(Remember by whom?)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 08, 2008, 11:28:42 PM
;D

(Remember by whom?)

Probably in a Penguin  or Gramophone CD guide but I just checked the ones on the shelf and that is not how it is described. I will look out for it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 08, 2008, 11:31:00 PM
Found it!! (Google is your friend - liner notes for the Chandos recording)

Paean

This passacaglia, based on a brief marching
motif, was written in 1920 as a piano solo for
Frank Merrick. It was orchestrated specially for
the Sir Henry Wood Jubilee Concert eighteen
years later (the full score is dated 14 April
1938) and provided an excuse to use the
large forces assembled on that occasion,
including bells and the Queen’s Hall organ, to
make a triumphal din.
© Lewis Foreman
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 08, 2008, 11:36:53 PM
Found it!! (Google is your friend - liner notes for the Chandos recording)

Paean

This passacaglia, based on a brief marching
motif, was written in 1920 as a piano solo for
Frank Merrick. It was orchestrated specially for
the Sir Henry Wood Jubilee Concert eighteen
years later (the full score is dated 14 April
1938) and provided an excuse to use the
large forces assembled on that occasion,
including bells and the Queen’s Hall organ, to
make a triumphal din.
© Lewis Foreman

Yes, that's it. Well done Johan!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 10, 2008, 01:55:03 AM
Seriously this is the most heartening thread on the forum. Those who know Bax here know some very interesting things about music and its expressive possibilities and language, and how unusual and subtle the rhapsodic style here is.

I got into Bax first with the Second symphony , perhaps his most coherent, but knowing nothing else about the music, and the Thompson recordings at first defeated me as many of the works seemed impenetrable even after repeated listening (the Downes recording of the Second actually emphasizes an almost Brahmsian sonata like outline to it).

But slowly his weird interrelations, murkiness and intensity percolated through my brain until I saw I think fairly suddenly what the heck he was doing, and Bax became an obssession- I collected 24 discs and even listened to no other composer for many months in the early '90s. I might also compare Bax's meta- or supra-logic to Strauss's, both of course getting it from Wagner.

Here's a few other of his works that made a great impression on me (not sure how far they've been covered here yet)-

Symphonic variations- vintage Bax, fabulously inventive, all with that sublety and complexity as ever hidden just below a surface inscrutability- absolutely ravishing, in the acclaimed Fingerhut recording. (I also recently read an enthusiastic Gramophone review of this at the time by chance, by the Strauss scholar Michael Kennedy).

The first two Violin sonatas- dreamy erotic, hedonistic and brain shiftingly subtle Bax.

The Cello concerto- an uneven work but again with some enormously compelling material once you're past the apparent surface wanderings.

Spring Fire- less developed textures than the regular symphonies but what a fabulous opening (old Handley recording).

Also the short work for solo cello, I forget the name (Rhapsodic ballad?)- the most austere of mediums with its edge bevelled.

There's so much to say about Bax. He'll continue to be misunderstood but a good set of his complete works is one box I'd buy.

Lastly, have any of the voice and piano songs been recorded?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Christo on April 10, 2008, 02:53:51 AM
Spring Fire- less developed textures than the regular symphonies but what a fabulous opening (old Handley recording)

Of course: the Spring Fire Symphony! I treasure that recording (an early Chandos, 1986) and I was happy enough to hear it performed live, in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, some four years ago.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on April 10, 2008, 03:05:10 AM
To follow up on Sean's post, I've been wrangling with Bax for some time now. When I first read about him, I thought, "There's the composer for me." Then I listened and wasn't so sure (though Tintagel immediately struck home in all its glory). But with repeated listening, I've come to enjoy and be intrigued by his writing more and more. Particularly helpful in that regard has been listening to Lloyd-Jones's symphony cycle after trying to work through Handley's. The greater textural clarity and rhythmic incisiveness of the former has really been helping me appreciate these works better.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 10, 2008, 11:33:47 AM
Totally agree with Sean about Symphonic Variations, a wonderfully atmospheric score. I have the Chandos recording and a much older one with Joyce Hatto and the Guildford Philharmonic conducted by Vernon Handley. I don't think that this is one of the fake Hatto recordings, but when I received the CD, I was sent as a freebie what I think is a fake Hatto recording of Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto. Both works were on the now infamous Concert Artist label set up by Hatto's husband.

Whatever the case, Hatto gives a fine performance. For many years this was one of the very few LPs available of Bax's music, together with Edward Downes's recording of Symphony 3 and Vernon Handley's Guildford version of Symphony 4 and The Tale the Pine Trees Know+ some piano music. Then Lyrita issued those great Bax symphonies LPs in the 1970s (which have recently all been issued on CD, although symphs 1 and 7 have been around for some time).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 10, 2008, 07:35:35 PM
Cheers folks. Thoroughly recommend the Double piano sonata also- intoxicating stuff, with the concluding chords some of the most radiant in all music.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: rubio on April 12, 2008, 07:40:28 AM
I just listened to this recording borrowed from the library. I find it very interesting and colourful, but the problem is that all of the 3rd movement is unlistenable due to a large scratch mark on the CD.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41WJXG5YNHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I really would like to buy an excellent version of this symphony, and I wonder if this could be the top of the heap?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TY0953CKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 12, 2008, 07:56:52 AM
I own the Thomson and the Handley - both are very good (pity about the scratch!). I have read only positive things about the Lyrita. But Vandermolen or Dundonnell or others will undoubtedly know this performance, so just wait for their comments...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 12, 2008, 12:58:21 PM
I own the Thomson and the Handley - both are very good (pity about the scratch!). I have read only positive things about the Lyrita. But Vandermolen or Dundonnell or others will undoubtedly know this performance, so just wait for their comments...

The Raymond Leppard on Lyrita  is indeed the best version (in my view anyway). It is a deeply moving and searching performance which makes the best possible case for this enigmatic score. The Epilogue is especially moving. I love this symphony. In spirit it reminds me a bit of Vaughan Williams Symphony 9, another valedictory score. If you don't want to pay full price, there is a very good Naxos CD with a fine performance of Tintagel. Rymond Leppard's recording of Bax's 5th Symphony, on another Lyrita CD is in a class of its own. The Lyrita recording of Symphony 7 is especially valuable as it is coupled with Myer Fredman's terrific version of the turbulent 1st Symphony, so I don't think that you would regret the purchase.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on April 12, 2008, 06:01:19 PM
The Raymond Leppard on Lyrita  is indeed the best version (in my view anyway). It is a deeply moving and searching performance which makes the best possible case for this enigmatic score. The Epilogue is especially moving. I love this symphony. In spirit it reminds me a bit of Vaughan Williams Symphony 9, another valedictory score. If you don't want to pay full price, there is a very good Naxos CD with a fine performance of Tintagel. Rymond Leppard's recording of Bax's 5th Symphony, on another Lyrita CD is in a class of its own. The Lyrita recording of Symphony 7 is especially valuable as it is coupled with Myer Fredman's terrific version of the turbulent 1st Symphony, so I don't think that you would regret the purchase.


I don't actually know the Leppard version of the 7th symphony(I do have the Thomson and Lloyd-Jones versions and can recommend those) but it is very highly regarded. Actually, I have to admit, that I have never taken to the 7th in the way I do respond to the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th.

I would very much agree with vandermolen however about Leppard's version of the 5th and Fredman's 1st(both of which i have in the original Lyrita LP incarnations). What a superb job both these conductors did in reviving interest in Bax with their tremendous performances! It is a pity that Raymond Leppard seemed to disappear off to Indianapolis and cease recording British music. Fredman was an early Lyrita 'house conductor' and what a good one he was! His performances of Havergal Brian are amongst the best of that composer's music. Again, a great shame that we have not heard more of him on disc in more recent years.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 12, 2008, 07:15:22 PM
The Seventh is a powerful and strange work to close the cycle: I know it from the Thomson, who finds much of the unusual colour and mood.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 12, 2008, 11:48:16 PM
I don't actually know the Leppard version of the 7th symphony(I do have the Thomson and Lloyd-Jones versions and can recommend those) but it is very highly regarded. Actually, I have to admit, that I have never taken to the 7th in the way I do respond to the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th.

I would very much agree with vandermolen however about Leppard's version of the 5th and Fredman's 1st(both of which i have in the original Lyrita LP incarnations). What a superb job both these conductors did in reviving interest in Bax with their tremendous performances! It is a pity that Raymond Leppard seemed to disappear off to Indianapolis and cease recording British music. Fredman was an early Lyrita 'house conductor' and what a good one he was! His performances of Havergal Brian are amongst the best of that composer's music. Again, a great shame that we have not heard more of him on disc in more recent years.

Totally agree about Leppard and Fredman. I sent a fan email to Fredman not long ago and had a very nice reply, mentioning the difficults of recording Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem in a freezing warehouse in New Zealand! I regretted the same things as Dundonnell and he mentioned that he had made a recording of Bax's Third Symphony that had appeared on LP many years ago. Maybe this will make it to CD one day.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on April 13, 2008, 06:11:36 AM
Totally agree about Leppard and Fredman. I sent a fan email to Fredman not long ago and had a very nice reply, mentioning the difficults of recording Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem in a freezing warehouse in New Zealand! I regretted the same things as Dundonnell and he mentioned that he had made a recording of Bax's Third Symphony that had appeared on LP many years ago. Maybe this will make it to CD one day.

Myer Fredman has his own website-http://people.aapt.net.au/~mfredman/

Sadly, it shows just how little music he has been asked to put on disc!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2008, 04:15:04 AM
Here, apropos of nothing, are my favourite Bax symphony recordings:

No 1: LPO Fredman (Lyrita)

No 2: Goosens: New Symphony Orchestra (Dutton) Historical Recording 1956

No 3: LSO Downes (unavailable on CD) RCA

No 4: Ulster Orchestra Thomson (Chandos)

No 5 LPO Leppard (Lyrita)

No 6 New PO Del Mar (Lyrita) or RSNO Lloyd-Jones (Naxos)

No 7 LPO Leppard (Lyrita)

If you want a box set get the Vernon Handley BBC Phil. one on Chandos
If you want a budget set, the Lloyd-Jones on Naxos are good too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 17, 2008, 04:29:42 AM
Here, apropos of nothing, are my favourite Bax symphony recordings:

No 1: LPO Fredman (Lyrita)

No 2: Goosens: New Symphony Orchestra (Dutton) Historical Recording 1956

No 3: LSO Downes (unavailable on CD) RCA

No 4: Ulster Orchestra Thomson (Chandos)

No 5 LPO Leppard (Lyrita)

No 6 New PO Del Mar (Lyrita) or RSNO Lloyd-Jones (Naxos)

No 7 LPO Leppard (Lyrita)

If you want a box set get the Vernon Handley BBC Phil. one on Chandos
If you want a budget set, the Lloyd-Jones on Naxos are good too.

Interesting list, Jeffrey. I only know (or will know quite soon...) two of them - 3 and 4. The others I have only read about. I have Handley, Thomson and a few by Lloyd-Jones. If Fredman is better in the First than Handley, I don't think I'll survive the experience... I read about the Goossens that his tempi are rather fast, that it's a very fiery reading. Correct? Re the Del Mar Sixth - does he really bring off that massive climax in the last movement which some consider the summit of all Bax's symphonies? Handley comes close, but I am still not as blown away as I would have liked...

P.S. Just listened to No. 3 conducted by Sir Edward Downes - it really is as good as I remembered it and you say it is. Everything sounds unforced and natural. Yes - great performance.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2008, 11:17:06 AM
Interesting list, Jeffrey. I only know (or will know quite soon...) two of them - 3 and 4. The others I have only read about. I have Handley, Thomson and a few by Lloyd-Jones. If Fredman is better in the First than Handley, I don't think I'll survive the experience... I read about the Goossens that his tempi are rather fast, that it's a very fiery reading. Correct? Re the Del Mar Sixth - does he really bring off that massive climax in the last movement which some consider the summit of all Bax's symphonies? Handley comes close, but I am still not as blown away as I would have liked...

P.S. Just listened to No. 3 conducted by Sir Edward Downes - it really is as good as I remembered it and you say it is. Everything sounds unforced and natural. Yes - great performance.

The Fredman No 1 is different to the Handley but not necessarily better and the Handley recording is better. Maybe it's just that I grew up with the Fredman. The Goosens is great (No 2), very stormy and it comes with a marvellous version of Tintagel (premiere recording from 1929), which has been brilliantly transferreed. Glad you are enjoying the Downes No 3.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 18, 2008, 11:41:48 PM
My fellow Baxians! I have uploaded a rip of the long OOP Third Symphony and The Happy Forest under Sir Edward Downes to Rapidshare (courtesy of a generous fellow poster), so that you can enjoy those performances too.

The Happy Forest:

http://rapidshare.com/files/108660277/1_The_Happy_Forest.mp3

Symphony No. 3:

http://rapidshare.com/files/108660278/2_I_Lento_moderato_-_Allegro_moderato_-_Allegro_feroce.mp3

http://rapidshare.com/files/108660279/3_II_Lento.mp3

http://rapidshare.com/files/108660280/4_III_Moderato_-_Epilogue__Poco_lento.mp3

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2008, 01:49:06 AM
In praise of Bax's Fourth Symphony

Allegedly the "weakest" of the seven (all the books/CD guides say so) but I find that I listen to it more than the others at the moment. I accept that it is more diffuse but it has all the ingredients of his finest works, dreamlike, mystical episodes and, in the last movement, an entirely characteristic pagan march.

Any other views?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 19, 2008, 02:20:52 AM
I only listened to the Fourth once (Thomson). I'll have to listen to it again, choosing the Handley for a change, to have any opinion on it...

Later: I think the first two movements are fine, although you do get a sense Bax is taking a holiday. The first movement has all the joy of Paean combined with the dreaminess of some of the symphonic poems. Of course, there isn't much at stake here, but the music is excellent all the same. The same goes for the second movement. The last movement is the slightest, in my opinion, understandably so - as there hasn't been any struggle, the festivities from the first movement are simply resumed and developed. I like the sound of it, but there isn't much sense...  ;)

All in all, the Fourth Symphony is a work that if any other composer had written it, people would call masterly and colourful, albeit not very deep.

Bax almost did himself a disservice by writing three powerful symphonies first...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: rubio on April 19, 2008, 10:40:11 AM
How is this Barbirolli 3rd?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Y9VBMW05L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brewski on April 19, 2008, 10:55:50 AM
How is this Barbirolli 3rd?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Y9VBMW05L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Sorry, can't answer your query, but that is one beautiful cover!

I'd be interested to know, too.  I have a few Dutton discs and given that they are historical recordings, they are exemplary.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: rubio on April 19, 2008, 12:43:54 PM
Sorry, can't answer your query, but that is one beautiful cover!

--Bruce

Yes, it could be almost worth it just because of that! :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 20, 2008, 01:54:49 AM
Rather briefly on this, I feel the Fourth is possibly Bax's greatest symphony, certainly the one I've played most, maybe 25-30 times, with some of his most Dionysian and sensual thought. It may be diffuse, but not in the sense that the material is uncertain and at one time I could long stretches of it through in my head. The slow movement certainly isn't as interesting as that of the Third or First (of course).

The Violin concerto I see as a weaker piece. No matter how much I returned to it it didn't materialise for me; the Cello concerto despite its uneveness is a much higher and more characteristic level of invention.

Also Winter Legends was somewhat disappointing after the heights of Symphonic variations.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 20, 2008, 02:17:19 AM
Rather briefly on this, I feel the Fourth is possibly Bax's greatest symphony, certainly the one I've played most, maybe 25-30 times, with some of his most Dionysian and sensual thought. It may be diffuse, but not in the sense that the material is uncertain and at one time I could long stretches of it through in my head. The slow movement certainly isn't as interesting as that of the Third or First (of course).

How do you square 'possibly Bax's greatest' with 'slow movement certainly isn't as interesting', Sean? Wouldn't that diminish its overall quality? Or is 'interesting' less of a recommendation than 'Dionysian' or 'sensual' however 'diffuse'?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 20, 2008, 10:46:38 AM
Thanks v much Sean and Johan for taking up my question about views on Bax's 4th. it's odd that I too find myself listening to it more than the others at the moment.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 20, 2008, 10:49:11 AM
How is this Barbirolli 3rd?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Y9VBMW05L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Greatest 3rd Symphony of the lot according to most. Terrific and not to be missed. Recorded during World War Two (hence the fine cover design), but Dutton have done wonders with the transfer. Don't like the Violin concerto much. If you like Bax, this is an essential CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 20, 2008, 10:51:52 AM
Greatest 3rd Symphony of the lot according to most. Terrific and not to be missed. Recorded during World War Two, but Dutton have done wonders with the transfer. Don't like the Violin concerto much. If you like Bax, this is an essential CD.

Okay okay, point taken!  ;D

(scribbles furiously on wishlist)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: rubio on April 20, 2008, 12:17:36 PM
Greatest 3rd Symphony of the lot according to most. Terrific and not to be missed. Recorded during World War Two (hence the fine cover design), but Dutton have done wonders with the transfer. Don't like the Violin concerto much. If you like Bax, this is an essential CD.

So how does it compare to the excellent Downes/LSO recording interpretation-wise?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 20, 2008, 02:51:10 PM
How do you square 'possibly Bax's greatest' with 'slow movement certainly isn't as interesting', Sean? Wouldn't that diminish its overall quality? Or is 'interesting' less of a recommendation than 'Dionysian' or 'sensual' however 'diffuse'?

I guess the others make up for it. The overall conception puts the work in an almost unique category; it was composed in conjunction with the love affair with his girl and it's carnality in music. I know it from the Thomson (a Gramophone award winning disc in the 80s?) but I was surprised to find my loyalties to Chandos challenged by Handley's version from a few years back- a very different approach, underlining the swirl and vigour, and glutinous quality...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 20, 2008, 02:59:38 PM
The Thomson Third is recommendable, and he's thoroughly inside the Bax idiom in the whole cycle I think: his Sixth is perhaps less well organized and the sound rougher. The Third's opening movement is very brooding and covered in the thick cold haze of coastal islands, and the amazing slow movement luminous and with that sensation of creation ex nihilo and peculiar sectional working.

I bought the Mordkovich recording of the Violin concerto (can't remember if Thomson conducts), coupled with the Golden legend suite.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 20, 2008, 02:59:41 PM
I guess the others make up for it. The overall conception puts the work in an almost unique category; it was composed in conjunction with the love affair with his girl and it's carnality in music. I know it from the Thomson (a Gramophone award winning disc in the 80s?) but I was surprised to find my loyalties to Chandos challenged by Handley's version from a few years back- a very different approach, underlining the swirl and vigour, and glutinous quality...

I found Handley's to be a very strong performance, too. But I'll have to listen to Thomson again to see how it now compares. Regarding 'carnality in music' - I didn't notice it. If it's there, it isn't adequately sign-posted for me... What that says about you, about me, others must decide! I can generally hear 'sensuality' (in Wagner, Scriabin, Delius, and, yes, Bax). But 'carnality'? The Tannhäuser Bacchanale perhaps... Don't know.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 20, 2008, 03:02:42 PM
C'mon, you're not thinking: that opening movement surges, lurches, delights and blends together in a particularly heady way...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 20, 2008, 03:04:09 PM
C'mon, you're not thinking: that opening movement surges, lurches, delights and blends together in a particularly heady way...

Perhaps I am thinking too much...  ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Montpellier on April 21, 2008, 08:51:47 AM
So how does it compare to the excellent Downes/LSO recording interpretation-wise?

If I can add tuppenceworth (having the Downes LP which I haven't bothered to convert to a CD), the Downes is a more gentlemanly performance.  It lacks something - the anger isn't as angry so the placid doesn't seem as placid.  The climaxes don't seem as climatic.  I don't know - it has the tempi but doesn't seem to have the drive; all compared with Barbirolli on the Dutton restoration.  It might be a general recording mezzoforte that hangs over the Downes but Barbirolli seems to coax greater dynamic variation.  I haven't put a test meter on them, just an impression. 

Having heard a few recordings of this work I still rate the Barbirolli as getting closer to what Bax wanted (considering they knew each other, too).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 21, 2008, 09:06:37 AM
If I can add tuppenceworth (having the Downes LP which I haven't bothered to convert to a CD)

Your tuppenceworth is much appreciated. I remember hearing a fragment of this performance on BBC Radio 4, on a programme called My Music. But that was a long time ago...

It's clear I have to have this!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 22, 2008, 01:21:11 AM
So how does it compare to the excellent Downes/LSO recording interpretation-wise?

My own favourite is the Downes but I agree that it is less "urgent" than the Barbirolli version. Downes's is a more reflective performance (a bit like the difference between Boult's two recordings of Vaughan Williams' 9th Symphony). But I grew up with the Downes and that's why I am so attached to it. If you want one version only (and don't mind a historical recording), get the Barbirolli (the Downes is unavailable anyway).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: rubio on April 22, 2008, 01:35:51 AM
My own favourite is the Downes but I agree that it is less "urgent" than the Barbirolli version. Downes's is a more reflective performance (a bit like the difference between Boult's two recordings of Vaughan Williams' 9th Symphony). But I grew up with the Downes and that's why I am so attached to it. If you want one version only (and don't mind a historical recording), get the Barbirolli (the Downes is unavailable anyway).

This is what I really loved with the Downes recording, but it will be very interesting to hear Barbirolli.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on April 22, 2008, 01:45:18 AM
Thought I'd mention the Martyn Hill performances of the orchestral songs on Chandos- he has a voice to do justice to the special hues of the language. Originally coupled with the Fifth symphony (and the fantastic job Thomson makes of this, what passion at the end): A Lyke-wake, Eternity, Glamour & Slumber song. I also know The Bard of Dimbovitz from a Handley broadcast I recorded once... As I say though I don't know of any recordings of the dozens of v&pf songs.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 22, 2008, 05:26:08 AM
Okay okay, point taken!  ;D

(scribbles furiously on wishlist)

Yeah, get on with buying it! ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 23, 2008, 11:51:59 AM
From Graham Parlett's review of Handley's second instalment of Bax's Tone Poems (http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/tone0408.htm):

The next work on the disc is The Happy Forest, a ‘Nature-Poem’ composed in 1914 after an Arcadian prose-poem by Herbert Farjeon but not orchestrated for another ten years. It is the only published work on the disc (full score from Murdoch, 1925, now Warner Chappell) and provides a contrast to its companions, being in effect a scherzo and trio. The outer sections are full of lively woodwind and string figurations, suggesting the fantastic denizens of the forest cavorting merrily (or lasciviously) in the sunlight, while the slow middle section is not unlike the ‘Woodland Love’ movement of its near-contemporary, Spring Fire (1913). The work was first recorded by Edward Downes with the LSO nearly forty years ago, in January 1969 (RCA label, coupled with the Third Symphony), and it remains my favourite performance, lively in the outer sections and with the middle section taken at a slower pace than in any other version but with really sensitive playing from the LSO; a pity that it has never been reissued on CD, though I have heard rumours that this may yet happen. Then came Bryden Thomson’s recording for Chandos, which is slower than Downes’s in the outer parts but faster in the middle, and finally David Lloyd-Jones recorded it for Naxos, taking the opening (marked ‘Vivacious and fantastic’) at a cracking pace. Handley, in contrast, plays the first section more slowly than any of the other conductors, and I confess to finding it rather heavy-footed and lacking in sparkle. The third section, which repeats much of the material in modified form, is slightly quicker, but the preceding slow middle section is taken at a surprisingly fast pace, which for me spoils the enchanted atmosphere that Bax was trying to create. Nevertheless, the dance music is strong rhythmically, and with such an experienced conductor at the helm there cannot fail to be many points of interest along the way.


I feel vindicated in feeling for more than three decades that Downes really did The Happy Forest proud... And on another point: is Graham Parlett influenced by our very own Vandermolen in thinking the Downes record could be reissued on CD? Or does he know something we don't know?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 24, 2008, 06:03:40 AM
Thanks to a friend who has given me an eMusic account for three months (yummy!), I have just downloaded and listened to Handley's performance of The Happy Forest. As Vandermolen rightly pointed out, the difference between Handley and Downes is between the 'legendary' and the 'dreamy' approach. Handley, as ever, doesn't like to let things drag, he is on the move - the effect is as if you are listening to someone excitedly telling you about The Happy Forest. In the middle section there is no languor, everything flows on, as if the story musn't be interrupted. Downes, on the other hand, makes you a part of the experience, there is no distancing. You're inside the frame, as it were.

Well, that's what I make of it...

I think both approaches are valid. And the sheer sound of the Handley is superb!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 24, 2008, 08:50:26 AM
Thanks to a friend who has given me an eMusic account for three months (yummy!), I have just downloaded and listened to Handley's performance of The Happy Forest. As Vandermolen rightly pointed out, the difference between Handley and Downes is between the 'legendary' and the 'dreamy' approach. Handley, as ever, doesn't like to let things drag, he is on the move - the effect is as if you are listening to someone excitedly telling you about The Happy Forest. In the middle section there is no languor, everything flows on, as if the story musn't be interrupted. Downes, on the other hand, makes you a part of the experience, there is no distancing. You're inside the frame, as it were.

Well, that's what I make of it...

I think both approaches are valid. And the sheer sound of the Handley is superb!

Totally agree with you. Interesting that a Musicweb reviewer mentioned a possible reissue of the Downes (would be great) as the Music web put in a disclaimer after I had reported back what Caracacus Downes (maybe a relative of Edward's  ;D)had said about tentative negotiations for a reissue (see Music web bulletin board).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on May 26, 2008, 09:55:24 PM
Not sure if this link will work:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Arnoldbax/message/1154

but Richard Adams wrote a message about Naxos new recording of Symphonic Variations by James Judd,Bournemouth Symphony and Ashley Wass, where he attended the sessions of.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 26, 2008, 10:04:27 PM
Not sure if this link will work:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Arnoldbax/message/1154

but Richard Adams wrote a message about Naxos new recording of Symphonic Variations by James Judd,Bournemouth Symphony and Ashley Wass, where he attended the sessions of.

The link doesn't work, because a) you must have a Yahoo account (which I have) and then have b) Web Access (which I haven't). Couldn't you cut and paste it?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on May 27, 2008, 07:34:45 AM
The link doesn't work, because a) you must have a Yahoo account (which I have) and then have b) Web Access (which I haven't). Couldn't you cut and paste it?

I guess:


Quote
Hello all...

I've just returned from Poole, England where I was fortunate to
attend the sessions of Ashley Wass's recordings of the Bax's
Symphonic Variations (SV) and the Left-Hand Concertante for Naxos
with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by James
Judd. The recordings took place over two days and all involved were
in absolute top-form. Those familiar with Wass's leisurely
recordings of the Bax Piano Sonatas will be in for a surprise as his
interpretations of both the Symphonic Variations and Left-Hand
Concertante were extremely urgent and muscular. While his playing of
the SV contains much of the poetry of Margaret Fingerhut's fine
interpretation on Chandos, his version is much more powerful and
concise and as a result, his Symphonic Variations comes off as a much
more virtuosic and involving piece, at least to my ears. He was
wonderfully supported by James Judd, who kept things moving but at
the same time never underplayed the work's grand gestures or delicate
lyricism. Judd told me that his experience conducting Bax is minimal
but he thoroughly enjoyed conducting the SV and Concertante and plans
to go back and study the symphonies more carefully as he now
recognizes Bax to be a very major composer.

The Left-Hand Concertante also benefited from the taut playing of
Wass and the very passionate playing of the Bournemouth
Orchestra. All were very moved by Wass's interpretation of the
immensely moving middle movement of that concerto, which may be the
last great music Bax ever composed -- his final testament and
expression of affection for all that Harriet Cohen had meant to him
throughout the years. Again, Wass and Judd seemed to emphasize the
intense emotion of the the music even more than Handley and Fingerhut
in their fine Chandos recording.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra deserves special praise as they
were reading from photocopies of Bax's original manuscripts. The
existing parts are a mess and it's a travesty that works of this
significance have never been published. We can never expect public
performances of Symphonic Variations, Left-Hand Concertante, Winter
Legends or any number of Bax's most important works until these
scores are published or made available in printed copies.

This Naxos disc should be released next year. I feel safe
predicting that Wass's new recording of the Symphonic Variations will
be recognized as the definitive edition upon release and more
importantly, I predict critics will be asking why this amazing music
remains so little know in the concert hall. Quite honestly, I had
never considered Bax's Symphonic Variations to be among his better
works but hearing Wass and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra play it
last week, my opinion has changed dramatically. I now regard it as
one of Bax's most important masterpieces and I want to thank Mr.
Wass, Mr. Judd and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for changing
my opinion of this great work through their inspired and dedicated playing.

Richard R. Adams
www.arnoldbax.com
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 27, 2008, 08:12:50 AM
Excellent! Thank you very much.

Edit: After reading this I am really looking forward to that Naxos disc!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on June 07, 2008, 06:36:50 PM
It may be of interest to some people that I ran into a lengthy review of a Bax release (http://www.amazon.fr/Bax-Symphonies-Arnold/dp/B0000DIGLH/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1212895930&sr=8-2) on Amazon.fr of all places. I didn't think that anyone who didn't speak English or Dutch had even heard of a composer like Bax, let alone liked him :P
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 07, 2008, 10:45:51 PM
Interesting review, Lethe. The writer prefers Bryden Thomson's Third and Fifth to Vernon Handley's, though Handley excels in the First and Second. He/she also thinks the Seventh is possibly Bax' most beautiful work. The Sixth is not the greatest symphony Bax ever wrote but the most 'puissant', 'tellurique' and 'sombre', and Handley's reading of it is the most startling the writer knows.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on June 08, 2008, 07:06:43 AM
Indeedie, it was more helpful for me (with a mediocre grasp of French) than almost any of the US/GB Amazon reviews. I am going to leave Thomson for a long time though, I can't imagine what it would be like to familiarise with Bax through that first cycle (which many here presumably did) - it feels sluggish in many ways to me, I think Handley is better at bringing the structure to the fore.

Once I actually like Bax, I can imagine how Thomsons's approach may work well in the 3rd and 5th (and perhaps 7th - I have lumped these together as the more obviously "lush" sounding works) in particular.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 08, 2008, 07:31:13 AM
For all (aspiring) Baxians, this is the place to be, Lethe:

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/index.html
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on June 08, 2008, 05:08:51 PM
My apologies if this has been posted before but I came across a fascinating interview with Myer Fredman in which he talks about recording the first two Bax symphonies for Lyrita-

http://musicweb.uk.net/bax/Fredman.htm

It is so interesting to read how he learned the two works in ten days before going into the recording studio with the LPO. The article has a lot more fascinating material about recording Havergal Brian's 6th and 16th with a jet-lagged LPO. which reminds one of the incredible adaptability and proficiency of the members of the London orchestras!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 11, 2008, 12:04:06 AM
I just bought Bryden Thomson's old (1983) set of Bax's Tone Poems Vol 1 with the excellent Ulster Orchestra, featuring November Woods, The Happy Forest, The Garden of Fand, The Garden of Fand and Summer Music (first recording). I can't understand why I never bought this CD before (maybe because I had the first three works in other recordings (Boult/Lyrita, Downes/RCA). Anyway, I am delighted with this purchase (for c £2 second-hand on Amazon). November Woods might not be as dark a performance as Boult's but I have listened to it several times now and Thomson's more mellow performance has really grown on me. Also the dreamy central section of The Happy Forest (dear to Jezetha I recall) is taken slowly, investing it with great beauty (Handley's recent recording, good as it is, is rather too fast I think). A great Bax disc, which I am delighted to discover.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 11, 2008, 12:56:32 AM
Also the dreamy central section of The Happy Forest (dear to Jezetha I recall)...

Yes.

... is taken slowly, investing it with great beauty (Handley's recent recording, good as it is, is rather too fast I think).

Yes.

I still think Sir Edward Downes gave us the best Happy Forest, though.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 11, 2008, 04:24:08 AM
Yes.

Yes.

I still think Sir Edward Downes gave us the best Happy Forest, though.

Yes, he did. Pity it's not on CD.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on October 14, 2008, 03:02:50 PM


      Some of my impressions from the Handley symphony set:

      I was surprised to hear the 6th symphony reminding me of Mahler in the first movement. Less surprising is the tribute to Delius in the 2nd movement, evident in the shape of the themes as well as the harmony. This really does sound like the strongest of the symphonies. Every one of them sounds strong to me, though. It's taking some time to grasp everything about these works, because they display such virtuosity and technical command that you really have to listen hard and repeatedly.
     
      Like Handley, I'm bowled over by the Epilogue in the 3rd symphony.

     
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: jowcol on October 14, 2008, 04:12:06 PM
I've been waiting to weigh in on Bax, but I must admit I'm a bit intimidated by the scholarship here.  I guess I haven't had the time or resources to collect different versions, but I've had a lot of fun devoring the cycle on Naxos.  He definitely had an impressive approach to the symphony-- not as strong on memorable themes, but what color and invention!

For me, the second is my favorite all around.  I love the first movement of the third, and also the first starts picking up in the second movement.   6 and 5 are very strong. 

I must admit, the 4th or 7th haven't done much for me, but I may not have been listening for the right thing.  That's what happens when you try to gobble up a composer's output in a short amount of time.

For some reason , I adore the Winter Legends-- every bit as much as symponies 2 and 6-- and the Symphonic Variations didn't seem to have the same impact on me.   Does anyone else have a "thing" for Winter Legends?


Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 14, 2008, 11:56:53 PM
I've been waiting to weigh in on Bax, but I must admit I'm a bit intimidated by the scholarship here.  I guess I haven't had the time or resources to collect different versions, but I've had a lot of fun devoring the cycle on Naxos.  He definitely had an impressive approach to the symphony-- not as strong on memorable themes, but what color and invention!

For me, the second is my favorite all around.  I love the first movement of the third, and also the first starts picking up in the second movement.   6 and 5 are very strong. 

I must admit, the 4th or 7th haven't done much for me, but I may not have been listening for the right thing.  That's what happens when you try to gobble up a composer's output in a short amount of time.

For some reason , I adore the Winter Legends-- every bit as much as symponies 2 and 6-- and the Symphonic Variations didn't seem to have the same impact on me.   Does anyone else have a "thing" for Winter Legends?




Personally I prefer the Symphonic Variations but i must listen again to Winter Legends.  I like all Bax's symphonies. No 5 is a great score, especially in Raymond Leppard's Lyrita recording. I have been listening to No 4 a lot recently..underrated I think.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on October 15, 2008, 01:27:20 PM
More Bax on the way from Lyrita...


(http://www.lyrita.co.uk/covers/REAM3113.jpg)

 Arnold Bax - The Piano Music

Iris Loveridge, piano

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2008 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: REAM.3113
UPC/EAN: 5020926311320
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD Mono
Number of discs: 3
Total playing time: 3 hours 44 mins
Price: £ 29.99 (+ postage & packing)

Recording dates: CD 1 Track 1, CD 3 Tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, January & May 1959
CD 2 Tracks 2, 7, 9, CD 3 Track 12 November 1959 & January 1960
CD 1 Tracks 7, 8, CD 2 Track 1, CD 3 Tracks 4, 9, 10, 11, 16 July 1960
CD 1 Tracks 3, 4, 10, CD 2 Track 5, CD 3 Tracks 5, 13, 14, 15 January 1961 & October 1962
CD 1 Tracks 2, 5, 6, 9, 11, CD 2 Tracks 3, 4, 6, 8 September 1963
The Music Room, Burnham, Buckinghamshire
Richard Itter, Producer & Engineer

The piano music of Arnold Bax stands a little apart from the rest of modern English music for the medium. This latter usually tends to be spare, wistful, predominantly chordal, small in scale, the equivalent of ‘Georgian’ poetry. The very distinguished piano music of John Ireland is perhaps the best and most typical, and something of Ireland’s spirit, and much of his letter, haunts a good deal of minor English piano music. He is a safer model than the very individual and
Disc 1
1    Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor (1910, rev. 1917 - 21)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    18.43
2    Concert Valse in E-flat (1910)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    6.52
   Two Russian Tone-Pictures (1912)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    
3    Nocturne: May Night in the Ukraine       7.30
4    National Dance: Gopak       5.33
5    Toccata (1913)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    6.02
6    The Princess’s Rose Garden (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    7.36
7    In a Vodka Shop (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.44
8    The Maiden with the Daffodil (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    4.16
9    Apple-Blossom-Time (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.44
10    Sleepy-Head (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    5.00
11    A Mountain Mood (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    5.16
Disc 2
1    Winter Waters (1915)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    6.38
2    Dream in Exile (Intermezzo) (1916)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    8.31
3    Nereid (1916)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    4.05
4    On a May Evening (1918)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    6.55
5    A Romance (1918)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    5.25
6    Whirligig (1919)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.32
7    Piano Sonata No. 2 in G (1919, rev. 1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    24.07
8    The Slave Girl (1919)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    4.30
9    What the Minstrel told us (Ballad) (1919)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    9.44
Disc 3
1    Ceremonial Dance (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.36
2    Serpent Dance (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.33
3    Water Music (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    5.12
4    Lullaby (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.51
5    Burlesque (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.10
6    Country-Tune (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    2.13
7    A Hill Tune (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    4.11
8    Mediterranean (1920)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.19
   Piano Sonata No. 3 in G-sharp Minor (1926)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    25.00
9    I Allegro moderato       10.17
10    II Lento moderato       9.30
11    III Allegro       6.13
12    Pæan (Passacaglia) (1928)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    3.18
   Piano Sonata No. 4 in G (1932)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    16.34
13    I Allegro Giusto       5.35
14    II Allegretto quasi andante       5.08
15    III Allegro       5.55
16    O Dame get up and bake your pies (1945)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    2.47



edit:

another Bax reissue on Lyrita that was never mentioned here:

(http://www.lyrita.co.uk/covers/REAM2104.jpg)
 Arnold Bax - Sonata for Cello and Piano • Sonatina • Legend-Sonata etc.
Gordon Jacob - Divertimento for Solo Cello etc.

Florence Hooton, cello
Wilfrid Parry, piano

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2008 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: REAM.2104
UPC/EAN: 5020926210425
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD Mono
Number of discs: 2
Total playing time: 1 hours 45 mins
Price: £ 14.99 (+ postage & packing)

Recorded July & September 1958 (Bax), July & November 1958 (Jacob), The Music Room, Burnham, Buckinghamshire
Richard Itter, Producer & Engineer

... a striking simplicity of texture, developed in his later years, revealed the essential Englishman in Bax’s last works - simple, sensuous and passionate, the Violin Concerto and the Legend-Sonata, not to mention Morning Song, belong in the true English tradition ...
Disc 1
1    Folk-Tale (1918)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    9.20
   Sonata for Cello and Piano (1923)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    34.25
2    I Moderato, Tempo vaccilando       12.31
3    II Poco lento       11.15
4    III Molto vivace ma non troppo       10.39
   Sonatina (1933)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    16.04
5    I Allegro risoluto       4.48
6    II Andante       7.02
7    III Moderato       4.14
Disc 2
   Legend-Sonata (1943)    Arnold Bax (1883 - 1953)    25.53
1    I Allegro risoluto       9.21
2    II Lento espressivo       8.53
3    III Rondo (Allegro)       7.39
   Divertimento for Solo Cello (1955)    Gordon Jacob (1895 - 1984)    12.04
4    I Prelude       1.41
5    II Improvisation       5.04
6    III Minuet & Trio       2.29
7    IV Rondino       2.50
8    Elegy for Cello and Piano (1959)    Gordon Jacob (1895 - 1984)    7.41
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 16, 2008, 01:36:55 AM
Thanks, tjguitar!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Hector on October 16, 2008, 05:47:16 AM
It may be of interest to some people that I ran into a lengthy review of a Bax release (http://www.amazon.fr/Bax-Symphonies-Arnold/dp/B0000DIGLH/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1212895930&sr=8-2) on Amazon.fr of all places. I didn't think that anyone who didn't speak English or Dutch had even heard of a composer like Bax, let alone liked him :P

Which makes me wonder whether this is a French National rather than a Brit plugging his own culture.

Clever references to Thomson et al which I may or may not disagree with.

**** rating, I note!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on October 16, 2008, 06:06:46 AM
Surely if there are English-speaking 'nutters'(sorry, cognoscenti) here who appreciate lesser known French composers like Jean Cras or Philippe Gaubert there must be a few French people(at least) who appreciate British composers like Bax?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 16, 2008, 06:20:54 AM
Surely if there are English-speaking 'nutters'(sorry, cognoscenti) here

 ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on October 16, 2008, 06:26:50 AM
;D

I was-of course-alluding to the utterly misbegotten perception of our goodselves and others, Jeffrey, held by those who have sadly yet to discover the wonders and magic of the marvellous composers of whom we rave(sorry, speak). Who knows-perhaps even in time you may convert your wife and daughter! (Oh well, maybe not :()
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 16, 2008, 09:15:55 AM
I was-of course-alluding to the utterly misbegotten perception of our goodselves and others, Jeffrey, held by those who have sadly yet to discover the wonders and magic of the marvellous composers of whom we rave(sorry, speak). Who knows-perhaps even in time you may convert your wife and daughter! (Oh well, maybe not :()

No, I doubt very much whether my wife and daughter will ever share my enthusiasm for the music of Bax, Bantock, Miaskovsky, Egge, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Brian, Rootham, Arnell etcetc.

MUST WE LISTEN TO THIS NOISE? remains their habitual response to my music. Hence the gift of a pair of headphones for my birthday  ::)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 16, 2008, 10:07:57 AM
No, I doubt very much whether my wife and daughter will ever share my enthusiasm for the music of Bax, Bantock, Miaskovsky, Egge, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Brian, Rootham, Arnell etcetc.

MUST WE LISTEN TO THIS NOISE? remains their habitual response to my music. Hence the gift of a pair of headphones for my birthday  ::)

In nine days' time wife and daughter will be confronting the combined might of the Two Johans - their defences will crumble. Back in Sussex, your wife and you will be fighting over who'll listen to the 'Gothic' first.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on October 16, 2008, 04:00:52 PM
 :) :) :)

You sort them out, Johan ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 17, 2008, 04:09:01 AM
In nine days' time wife and daughter will be confronting the combined might of the Two Johans - their defences will crumble. Back in Sussex, your wife and you will be fighting over who'll listen to the 'Gothic' first.

Can't wait  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Hector on October 17, 2008, 05:53:17 AM
Surely if there are English-speaking 'nutters'(sorry, cognoscenti) here who appreciate lesser known French composers like Jean Cras or Philippe Gaubert there must be a few French people(at least) who appreciate British composers like Bax?

You wish!

An Anglophile?

But would they bother to write reviews on Amazon?

If I had the time and command of language I think that I would be tempted to promote British composers on International websites.

Who knows, perhaps I have 8)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on October 17, 2008, 06:08:12 AM
http://www.amazon.ca/Sir-Arnold-Bax-Concerto-Romantic/dp/B000000AO9

The review is written by a K.Farrington who gives his address as Missegre, France. Missegre is a village in Languedoc, west of Narbonne and north-west of Perpignan. So maybe 'twas he :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 16, 2008, 01:33:32 AM
I find that I listen to the two symphonies which are considered to be the weakest; No 4 and No 7 more than the others. No 7 is a wonderful work which, despite containing pre-echoes of the less-inspired 'ceremonial' Bax of later years, also harks back to the celtic/ twilight world of The Garden of Fand etc. Like Vaughan Williams's 9th Symphony it has a strange, magical atmosphere and the seascape at the end is very moving. All the Bax symphonies are of a very high standard (like Vaughan Williams's cycle). Oddly enough, my least favourite is No 6, which is considered to be the greatest by many. Maybe because I got to know it through Norman Del Mar's recording on Lyrita which, I think, is not as good as the recordings by Myer Fredman and Raymond Leppard of the other symphonies on the same label.

Here we are again at the 'favourite v greatest' discussion. The greatest Bax symphonies IMHO are nos 5 and 3, although No 2 is also a wonderfully imaginative score.

Just some rambling thoughts to delay me getting on with marking (grading to you Americans) my student's homework. A completely tedious job  :P
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Guido on November 16, 2008, 03:52:00 AM
What do you teach?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 16, 2008, 03:53:55 AM
What do you teach?

History/History of Art
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Guido on November 16, 2008, 05:23:16 AM
Interesting. Do you teach at A level? Is there even a history of Art A level?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on November 16, 2008, 11:21:42 AM


     I think No. 7 may be underrated just a bit. I don't think, however, that the 3rd and the 6th are in any way less impressive than their reputations would suggest.

     I find the whole issue of "favorite vs. great" even more difficult with Bax than with other composers, because I can simultaneously admire the phenomenal technical achievement and yet not be totally enthralled. You could call this the "Reger Effect" after Max Reger, the composer who famously was the greatest contrapuntalist after Bach and, to coin a phrase, so what?

     Not that I dislike Reger, or Bax, or any other composer who is a little bit more admirable than lovable. It may only mean I need to listen more. But then there's the ghost of Reger, and the appalling specter of Bad Taste....maybe what I like isn't this good :o, and composers like Bax are just too rich for me.

     
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 17, 2008, 02:45:47 AM
Interesting. Do you teach at A level? Is there even a history of Art A level?

OT

Yes to both questions. History of Art is only available at A level over here (UK).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 17, 2008, 02:47:31 AM

     I think No. 7 may be underrated just a bit. I don't think, however, that the 3rd and the 6th are in any way less impressive than their reputations would suggest.

     I find the whole issue of "favorite vs. great" even more difficult with Bax than with other composers, because I can simultaneously admire the phenomenal technical achievement and yet not be totally enthralled. You could call this the "Reger Effect" after Max Reger, the composer who famously was the greatest contrapuntalist after Bach and, to coin a phrase, so what?

     Not that I dislike Reger, or Bax, or any other composer who is a little bit more admirable than lovable. It may only mean I need to listen more. But then there's the ghost of Reger, and the appalling specter of Bad Taste....maybe what I like isn't this good :o, and composers like Bax are just too rich for me.

     

Thanks. Maybe you would like some of Bax's chamber musuc; the Harp Quintet for example - a lovely work.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on November 17, 2008, 03:46:52 PM
Thanks. Maybe you would like some of Bax's chamber musuc; the Harp Quintet for example - a lovely work.

     I haven't given up on the symphonies at all, and they have made a powerful impression. This may just be a stage I'm going through. I love the tone poems I've heard, and I think I might go for Winter Legends based on the clips. The Bax symphonies are definitely a step up in terms of the commitment needed to really appreciate them.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 22, 2008, 07:58:03 AM
Interesting new release:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on November 22, 2008, 08:03:07 AM
Interesting new release:



I (very cheekily) took Brian to task for suggesting that 'Tintagel kicks butt" ;D ;D

Maybe Vanska's version will bear out his assessment ;D ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 27, 2009, 06:35:21 AM
I guess it depends what you mean by "much" ...I mean, Is there much interest in *ANY* classical music in the USA?
As a recently signed in observer in this forum, I personally am pleased that there is interest in classical music by many, although enthusiasts are scattered about.  I'm sure that conservatory strudents and faculty are well aware of the classics.  I don't know how much is studied in terms of much of 20th century British (or Czech, Scandinavian, or others for that matter).  Moreover, CD's., thank the muses, provide much for the impassioned but lonely listener.  For the most part, Americans are but all too absorbed in general by the wertched "Pop Culture" which is everywhere.  This to me is not music.  I hear the stuff everywhere: in TV commercials, in movies, in restaurants.  Classical music will survive but only for the few in the future.  I'm not all that familiar with composers' works in the second half of the previous century, let alone the first decade of the 21st. Some Finnish works are, of course, an exception for my predilections. Sir Arnold's works are truly redemptive. and they should survive for those of us "cultos."
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on January 29, 2009, 01:24:37 AM
I think No. 7 may be underrated just a bit.

I find parts of it to be as close to Tintagel as his symphonies get, which can only be a good thing... 0:)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on March 10, 2009, 12:32:56 PM
New Bax!


(http://www.naxos.com/SharedFiles/Images/cds/others/8.570774.gif)

Symphonic Variations in E major
Wass, Ashley, piano
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Judd, James, Conductor
 
1.         Part I: Theme: Lento espressivo - 00:02:31
2.         Part I: Variation 1, "Youth": Allegro: Restless and tumultuous - 00:04:11
3.         Part I: Variation 2, "Nocturne": Slow and serene, Broadly - 00:06:36
4.         Part I: Variation 3, "Strife": Allegro vivace 00:07:39
5.         Part II: Variation 4, "The Temple": Slow and solemn - 00:09:46
6.         Part II: Variation 5, "Play": Scherzo: Allegretto vivace - Intermezzo, "Enchantment": Very moderate tempo - 00:10:27
7.         Part II: Variation 6, "Triumph": Moderate tempo: Glowing and passionate 00:04:39

   Concertante for Piano Left Hand
Wass, Ashley, piano
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Judd, James, Conductor
 
8.         I. Allegro moderato 00:08:08
9.         II. Moderato tranquillo 00:07:47
10.         III. Rondo: Allegro moderato 00:06:27
      
Total Playing Time: 01:08:11
      


http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.570774
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 10, 2009, 01:22:47 PM
New Bax!


(http://www.naxos.com/SharedFiles/Images/cds/others/8.570774.gif)

Symphonic Variations in E major
Wass, Ashley, piano
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Judd, James, Conductor
 
1.         Part I: Theme: Lento espressivo - 00:02:31
2.         Part I: Variation 1, "Youth": Allegro: Restless and tumultuous - 00:04:11
3.         Part I: Variation 2, "Nocturne": Slow and serene, Broadly - 00:06:36
4.         Part I: Variation 3, "Strife": Allegro vivace 00:07:39
5.         Part II: Variation 4, "The Temple": Slow and solemn - 00:09:46
6.         Part II: Variation 5, "Play": Scherzo: Allegretto vivace - Intermezzo, "Enchantment": Very moderate tempo - 00:10:27
7.         Part II: Variation 6, "Triumph": Moderate tempo: Glowing and passionate 00:04:39

   Concertante for Piano Left Hand
Wass, Ashley, piano
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Judd, James, Conductor
 
8.         I. Allegro moderato 00:08:08
9.         II. Moderato tranquillo 00:07:47
10.         III. Rondo: Allegro moderato 00:06:27
      
Total Playing Time: 01:08:11
      


http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.570774

Thanks for alerting us to this release. The Symphonic Variations is a fine work. Another £5.99 up the chimney  ::)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on March 10, 2009, 02:15:25 PM
Surely you must have the Chandos versions of both works, Jeffrey?

Margaret Fingerhut recorded both works accompanied by Bryden Thomson and Vernon Handley respectively.

You don't need another version ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: jowcol on March 12, 2009, 01:54:29 PM
I'm a big fan of Winter Legends.  It probably ranks with the 2nd Symphony and Tintagel as my favorite large scale works of his.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on March 14, 2009, 09:04:43 AM
per Bax webmaster Richard Adams:

Quote
This really is a major disc for Bax fans as Wass's performance is very different from the wonderful Fingerhut performance. Wass is more muscular in his playing and I think the work benefits from his moving it along just a bit faster. Nethertheless, he's still intensely poetic where he needs to be. I can't wait for him to record "Winter Legends" next year!

The more I keep listening to this disc, the more impressed I am with every aspect of it. Ashley Wass's playing is just stunning - the range of sound he can produce from the most delicate passage work to those huge, thundering chords while at the same time producing the most beautiful, refined sound is remarkable. Judd and the Bournemouth are inspired and all involved reveal the Symphonic Variations to be among Bax's greatest works -- something I'd never thought before until hearing Wass play this work. I've listened to nothing else this week but that disc and I'm still can't get enough of it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 14, 2009, 09:29:32 AM
Surely you must have the Chandos versions of both works, Jeffrey?

Margaret Fingerhut recorded both works accompanied by Bryden Thomson and Vernon Handley respectively.

You don't need another version ;D

Too late Colin, too late  :-[

Actually I have been playing the Fingerhut version in my car (an old Chandos cassette  :o) - and I had forgotten what a terrific work it is. I also have the old Joyce Hatto (really)/Vernon Handley Version (which I received from Concert Artists with free bonus CD of Joyce Hatto not playing Rachmaninov Piano Concerto 2 and 3) - which is also very good.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on March 14, 2009, 09:50:00 AM
Too late Colin, too late  :-[

Actually I have been playing the Fingerhut version in my car (an old Chandos cassette  :o) - and I had forgotten what a terrific work it is. I also have the old Joyce Hatto (really)/Vernon Handley Version (which I received from Concert Artists with free bonus CD of Joyce Hatto not playing Rachmaninov Piano Concerto 2 and 3) - which is also very good.

Well after reading the comments by the Bax webmaster posted by tjguitar I can see why ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: haydnguy on March 14, 2009, 11:46:15 AM
How shall I put it??? A must buy!!  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Martin Lind on March 29, 2009, 04:44:23 PM
Hi!

Recently I acquired some sets of symphonies: The Magnard ( Brilliant), the Bax ( Handley) and the Miaskovsky ( Svetlanov). I was disappointed by Magnard, am very enthusiastic about Miaskovski ( whom I loved before) but I really don't know about the Bax. I listened to the first three symphonies. Don't get the message in 1 and 2 but somehow liked more the 3rd. But I am not completely convinced by the 3rd although it sounds really marvelous but somehow I miss the beef of really good ideas. When I listened to 2nd I thought, now you must listen to something really beautifull, so I listened to Brahms 2nd.

Before I bought this set I had a Decca CD with works of Bax of which I really loved Tintagel with Boult. Thinking of Tintagel I thought that I should buy this Handley set. I have also a Naxos CD with tone poems but was not convinced ( Tintagel with Boult is much better).

So don't be angry if I say that Bax hasn't convinced me completely yet but it may be also not such an easy composer. But as I said I somehow like the 3rd and listened to that most often. And I will certainly listen to this set more often but slowly. But just now I listen more to Miaskovsky.

Regards
Martin
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on March 29, 2009, 05:01:10 PM
Martin - Bax is not the easiest composer to familiarise yourself with, so don't worry.

I like him and have been listening closely to his symphonies ever since the Handley set was released, but I too am still not 100% convinced. However, I feel that he can only rise in my estimation, simply due to the superb ideas and moments which keep me listening, despite my doubts over the overall structure of many of his symphonic works.

He may not be perfect or easy, but I keep listening because he is compelling.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on March 30, 2009, 04:17:10 AM
He may not be perfect or easy, but I keep listening because he is compelling.

That sums up Bax for me too. I've had mixed feelings about him since my first encounter, but there are things that keep drawing me back and making my time with his work very rewarding. Whatever its flaws, it really engages me, really makes me dig in and listen and think.

Martin, you should try more of Bax's tone poems, which many feel cohere better than the symphonies. Try different recordings by Thomson, Lloyd-Jones, etc. And to get a different view of the symphonies, I highly recommend Lloyd-Jones's cycle on Naxos.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 30, 2009, 12:21:04 PM
Recently I acquired some sets of symphonies: The Magnard ( Brilliant), the Bax ( Handley) and the Miaskovsky ( Svetlanov). I was disappointed by Magnard

Martin, which works disappointed you? If you only listened to the first two symphonies, I can go along with you - they have their beauties, but the unmistakable 'Magnard sound' isn't there yet.. But Nos 3 & 4 are really great. Please try them, if you haven't done so!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 30, 2009, 01:35:45 PM
Martin, which works disappointed you? If you only listened to the first two symphonies, I can go along with you - they have their beauties, but the unmistakable 'Magnard sound' isn't there yet.. But Nos 3 & 4 are really great. Please try them, if you haven't done so!

Yes, Symphony No 4 and Chant Funebre are great works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: jowcol on March 31, 2009, 05:51:06 AM
if you are finding a learning curve with Bax, I would have to warn you that he is not a great melodist, and his works can ramble, but there is such a wonderful range of orchestral color and invention that you can surrender to that.  I didn't think the first symphony hit it's stride until the second movement.  I adore the second, and (to repeat myself) Winter Legends is great!

Bax is sort of the Anti-Rubbra in British Symphony.  Rubbra is more into structure and development, Bax is more of explosions of color.  I know that is a bit of a simplification-- but that's how I view Bax's symphonic work. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brian on April 01, 2009, 07:53:32 PM
New Bax!


(http://www.naxos.com/SharedFiles/Images/cds/others/8.570774.gif)

Symphonic Variations in E major
Wass, Ashley, piano
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Judd, James, Conductor
 
1.         Part I: Theme: Lento espressivo - 00:02:31
2.         Part I: Variation 1, "Youth": Allegro: Restless and tumultuous - 00:04:11
3.         Part I: Variation 2, "Nocturne": Slow and serene, Broadly - 00:06:36
4.         Part I: Variation 3, "Strife": Allegro vivace 00:07:39
5.         Part II: Variation 4, "The Temple": Slow and solemn - 00:09:46
6.         Part II: Variation 5, "Play": Scherzo: Allegretto vivace - Intermezzo, "Enchantment": Very moderate tempo - 00:10:27
7.         Part II: Variation 6, "Triumph": Moderate tempo: Glowing and passionate 00:04:39

   Concertante for Piano Left Hand
Wass, Ashley, piano
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Judd, James, Conductor
 
8.         I. Allegro moderato 00:08:08
9.         II. Moderato tranquillo 00:07:47
10.         III. Rondo: Allegro moderato 00:06:27
      
Total Playing Time: 01:08:11
      


http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.570774
I'm listening right now!  :D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on November 08, 2009, 05:00:45 AM
Bax's birthday today  :D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 08, 2009, 06:09:08 AM
Bax's birthday today  :D

Happy 126th Sir Arnold  :)

I am thinking of buying the new CD with the Concertino on - it has been well reviewed. But I have spent too much on CDs recently  ::)

Interesting article:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2009/07/03/arnold-bax-concertino-to-see-the-light-65233-24068338/
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on December 28, 2009, 03:10:25 PM
Father Christmas bought me Bax's newly recorded 'Concertino for Piano and Orchestra' (1939). I greatly enjoyed this work.  I suspected that the diminutive title indicated a rather 'light' work, but this is not the case.  Bax's 'Concertino' seems to reflect the times in which it was written (Bax was despondent about the international scene in 1939). I'd say that the dreamy opening and the lyrical and turbulent first two movements are entirely characteristic of Bax's music at its (almost) best.  Any Bax fan should like this work and the John Ireland pieces make for a great programme (Somm label).

Father Christmas also bought me the Boult recording of Havergal Brian's 'Gothic Symphony' which I am much looking forward to hearing in due course.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on December 29, 2009, 06:50:58 AM
Father Christmas bought me Bax's newly recorded 'Concertino for Piano and Orchestra' (1939). I greatly enjoyed this work.  I suspected that the diminutive title indicated a rather 'light' work, but this is not the case.  Bax's 'Concertino' seems to reflect the times in which it was written (Bax was despondent about the international scene in 1939). I'd say that the dreamy opening and the lyrical and turbulent first two movements are entirely characteristic of Bax's music at its (almost) best.  Any Bax fan should like this work and the John Ireland pieces make for a great programme (Somm label).

Father Christmas also bought me the Boult recording of Havergal Brian's 'Gothic Symphony' which I am much looking forward to hearing in due course.

This apparently is a newly "discovered" Bax.  Before I purchase, I'd like  to hear a personalised review on your part if possible.  The Ireland Concerto is superb. I have the old LP recording. Two "musts."
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on December 29, 2009, 07:44:10 AM
Father Christmas bought me Bax's newly recorded 'Concertino for Piano and Orchestra' (1939). I greatly enjoyed this work.  I suspected that the diminutive title indicated a rather 'light' work, but this is not the case.  Bax's 'Concertino' seems to reflect the times in which it was written (Bax was despondent about the international scene in 1939). I'd say that the dreamy opening and the lyrical and turbulent first two movements are entirely characteristic of Bax's music at its (almost) best.  Any Bax fan should like this work and the John Ireland pieces make for a great programme (Somm label).

Father Christmas also bought me the Boult recording of Havergal Brian's 'Gothic Symphony' which I am much looking forward to hearing in due course.


Does anyone have any idea or opinion as to why Bax's "Four Pieces For Piano" was never recorded?   These were some of Bax's last compositions.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: offbeat on December 29, 2009, 08:42:12 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414DJ3YTJGL._SL160_AA115_.jpg)

Has anybody heard this - have always like its rather shadowy feel
and seems to have a strong poetic feel which suits my hearing buds  :D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on December 30, 2009, 07:57:08 AM
This apparently is a newly "discovered" Bax.  Before I purchase, I'd like  to hear a personalised review on your part if possible.  The Ireland Concerto is superb. I have the old LP recording. Two "musts."

Don't have much to add except to say that I keep wanting to play the Bax (in fact the entire CD) which must be a good sign. The dreamy, rhapsodic opening of the Bax reminded me of Cyril Scott's Piano Concerto No 1 - a work I greatly admire.  I prefer the 'Legend' to the Piano Concerto by Ireland (I am over familiar with the PC, having c 8 different recordings of it).  The Piano Concertino is not top draw Bax but is a work of some power and depth, with a particularly engaging opening and First Movement. The First Movement soon develops a characteristically 'legendary' feel to it.  In spirit it compliments the John Ireland concerto and 'Legend' very well.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on December 30, 2009, 10:46:42 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414DJ3YTJGL._SL160_AA115_.jpg)

Has anybody heard this - have always like its rather shadowy feel
and seems to have a strong poetic feel which suits my hearing buds  :D

Do you mean the Cello Concerto?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: offbeat on December 30, 2009, 02:19:48 PM
Do you mean the Cello Concerto?
yes sorry i forgot to enlarge the image - always liked this although does not seem to catch many bax admirers  ?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on December 31, 2009, 02:03:45 AM
yes sorry i forgot to enlarge the image - always liked this although does not seem to catch many bax admirers  ?

Thanks - I have this CD and will give it a listen soon.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on December 31, 2009, 02:56:40 AM
if you are finding a learning curve with Bax, I would have to warn you that he is not a great melodist, and his works can ramble, but there is such a wonderful range of orchestral color and invention that you can surrender to that.  I didn't think the first symphony hit it's stride until the second movement.  I adore the second, and (to repeat myself) Winter Legends is great!

Bax is sort of the Anti-Rubbra in British Symphony.  Rubbra is more into structure and development, Bax is more of explosions of color.  I know that is a bit of a simplification-- but that's how I view Bax's symphonic work.

     I find Bax is slowly but steadily becoming a favorite composer. No, he isn't a melodist like Rachmaninov, but then Beethoven wasn't either. Bax is a master of coloristic effects, textures and harmonies, and he even has a good tune occasionally.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on December 31, 2009, 04:00:17 AM
Bax is the greatest British composer from any period.

However a word on the Handley symphonies set- there are some interesting insights and I particularly like his intoxicated Fourth (and his Spring Fire), but these recordings do Bax a grave disservice: as Handley himself explains on the interview CD, he looks at and tries to justify the music in traditional formal terms with symmetries and balance.

This is emphatically not what Bax was doing- he may often have began with a framework but goes on to use it only as a trellis to plaster his intuitively moving ideas (Shostakovich Fourth would be a similar example, Bax having closest relations with Shostakovich, and underlined by his often Russian themes): emphasizing sketchy sonata form and reducing the music's amazing inspiration in the moment per se to this is an enormous mistake- the music's achievement and fascination is in its self-justifying Dionysian logic not relation to Apollonian frames (Messiaen's juxtapositional style is another case of finding aesthetic logic across seemingly disparate material, independent of pre-given structure).

Sorry folks, you need to stick with the fabulous Thomson set.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on December 31, 2009, 04:38:16 AM
Sorry folks, you need to stick with the fabulous Thomson set.

I've yet to hear that one (though I have a bunch of his other Bax recordings), but of the two Bax symphony cycles I do have, I generally lean heavily towards Lloyd-Jones over Handley, in terms of both performance and sound.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: offbeat on December 31, 2009, 04:41:49 AM
Bax is the greatest British composer from any period.

However a word on the Handley symphonies set- there are some interesting insights and I particularly like his intoxicated Fourth (and his Spring Fire), but these recordings do Bax a grave disservice: as Handley himself explains on the interview CD, he looks at and tries to justify the music in traditional formal terms with symmetries and balance.

This is emphatically not what Bax was doing- he may often have began with a framework but goes on to use it only as a trellis to plaster his intuitively moving ideas (Shostakovich Fourth would be a similar example, Bax having closest relations with Shostakovich, and underlined by his often Russian themes): emphasizing sketchy sonata form and reducing the music's amazing inspiration in the moment per se to this is an enormous mistake- the music's achievement and fascination is in its self-justifying Dionysian logic not relation to Apollonian frames (Messiaen's juxtapositional style is another case of finding aesthetic logic across seemingly disparate material, independent of pre-given structure).

Sorry folks, you need to stick with the fabulous Thomson set.
i think i understand what you mean - for me Bax was not interested so much in structure but more in feelings and poetry - i think maybe he got a bit carried away with his romantic aspirations that its hard to get a handle on his music but worth it when you do- strangely i have never rated the 4th symphony compared with the other symphonies = i must listen again  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on December 31, 2009, 06:09:29 AM
i think i understand what you mean - for me Bax was not interested so much in structure but more in feelings and poetry - i think maybe he got a bit carried away with his romantic aspirations that its hard to get a handle on his music but worth it when you do- strangely i have never rated the 4th symphony compared with the other symphonies = i must listen again  :)

Hi offbeat, yes Bax is an interesting experience and I remember well being exasperated by his music at first, but then this more primal logic creeps up on you. The Fourth is the most controversial for the structuralists but is hence possibly his greatest symphony, not as benighted Handley et al would have it as the weakest: once I understood Bax I played the Thomson Fourth so much I could almost remember the whole wayward thing in my head.

Nice avatar by the way- is it you? Most posters feel some daft need not only to use false names but false images...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: offbeat on December 31, 2009, 01:52:19 PM
Hi offbeat, yes Bax is an interesting experience and I remember well being exasperated by his music at first, but then this more primal logic creeps up on you. The Fourth is the most controversial for the structuralists but is hence possibly his greatest symphony, not as benighted Handley et al would have it as the weakest: once I understood Bax I played the Thomson Fourth so much I could almost remember the whole wayward thing in my head.

Nice avatar by the way- is it you? Most posters feel some daft need not only to use false names but false images...
Yes Sean i have always liked Bax - when i first discovered his music i felt its language talked to me personally - hope this doesnt sound weird - Not quite so manic nowadays but still like his music espeically his symphonies particularly no 3 and 6 - maybe no 4 is less manic but all of them are good i think
re my avatar - haha no its arvo part another of my obsessions l :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 03, 2010, 11:30:40 AM
Interesting discussion here. My favourite Bax symphony CD performance is actually Raymond Leppard's Symphony 5 (LPO Lyrita) and I wait patiently for the CD release of Edward Downes' Symphony No 3 (LSO, RCA). Agree about the Thomson set too. Yes, Symphony No 4 is the one I listen to most - vastly under-valued and great in Thomson's Ulster version.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on January 03, 2010, 02:30:49 PM
Sure thing. I got to know the Second from the Downs LSO.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: offbeat on January 03, 2010, 03:11:41 PM
Interesting discussion here. My favourite Bax symphony CD performance is actually Raymond Leppard's Symphony 5 (LPO Lyrita) and I wait patiently for the CD release of Edward Downes' Symphony No 3 (LSO, RCA). Agree about the Thomson set too. Yes, Symphony No 4 is the one I listen to most - vastly under-valued and great in Thomson's Ulster version.
oh thats interesting i did not realize Downes version of the 3rd going to cd - i have vinyl version but i have ditched my vinyl player years back - I dont usually like buying 2 versions of the same work (its a personal thing  ;D) but i might make an exception with the Downes - also tempted to get Del Mars sixth which i noticed is listed on amazon - had this on vinyl too and its brill  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 03, 2010, 11:02:07 PM
oh thats interesting i did not realize Downes version of the 3rd going to cd - i have vinyl version but i have ditched my vinyl player years back - I dont usually like buying 2 versions of the same work (its a personal thing  ;D) but i might make an exception with the Downes - also tempted to get Del Mars sixth which i noticed is listed on amazon - had this on vinyl too and its brill  :)

Sorry to disappoint but no plan that I know of for the Downes No 3 to go to CD, but I live in hope.  Lyrita had some thoughts about this as it is run by Downes' son, Caractacus but since the death of his parents at the swiss Dignitas clinic, Lyrita seem to have gone very quiet.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on January 04, 2010, 07:19:00 AM
Father Christmas bought me Bax's newly recorded 'Concertino for Piano and Orchestra' (1939). I greatly enjoyed this work.  I suspected that the diminutive title indicated a rather 'light' work, but this is not the case.  Bax's 'Concertino' seems to reflect the times in which it was written (Bax was despondent about the international scene in 1939). I'd say that the dreamy opening and the lyrical and turbulent first two movements are entirely characteristic of Bax's music at its (almost) best.  Any Bax fan should like this work and the John Ireland pieces make for a great programme (Somm label).

Father Christmas also bought me the Boult recording of Havergal Brian's 'Gothic Symphony' which I am much looking forward to hearing in due course.


I'm STILL waiting for this to be available on Amazon.com. Pretty soon I'm going to have to pay extra & import it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 05, 2010, 11:44:51 AM
Don't have much to add except to say that I keep wanting to play the Bax (in fact the entire CD) which must be a good sign. The dreamy, rhapsodic opening of the Bax reminded me of Cyril Scott's Piano Concerto No 1 - a work I greatly admire.  I prefer the 'Legend' to the Piano Concerto by Ireland (I am over familiar with the PC, having c 8 different recordings of it).  The Piano Concertino is not top draw Bax but is a work of some power and depth, with a particularly engaging opening and First Movement. The First Movement soon develops a characteristically 'legendary' feel to it.  In spirit it compliments the John Ireland concerto and 'Legend' very well.

Just received the Concertino from amazon.UK.  They were quite pronto. Was not aware of the CD until I saw it in your posting.  Haven't  heard a new (to me) Bax work in years. Appreciate much the two  Ireland works.  Good disk.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 06, 2010, 04:45:28 AM
Just received the Concertino from amazon.UK.  They were quite pronto. Was not aware of the CD until I saw it in your posting.  Haven't  heard a new (to me) Bax work in years. Appreciate much the two  Ireland works.  Good disk.

What's your view of the Bax?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on January 06, 2010, 04:48:44 AM
Of the piano and orchestra works I bought recordings of the Concertante for piano left hand, Morning song, Saga fragment Symphonic variations & Winter legends: of these the Symphonic variations is the overwhelming masterpiece, one of Bax's very greatest works and indeed one of the finest and most integrated sets of variations of any kind- the Fingerhut/ Thomson disc is superb, and had a memorable Gramophone review from Michael Kennedy when it came out 20 years back.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 06, 2010, 05:40:32 AM
What's your view of the Bax?

Heard it once.  From first hearing I sense, indeed, "feel" the Baxian current throughout.  Subtle passages comparable with other tone poem delights.  Will need a couple more exposures to assess fully. Nice find this recent first recording of a Baxian orchestral work of which I was totally unaware.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 07, 2010, 01:48:30 AM
Heard it once.  From first hearing I sense, indeed, "feel" the Baxian current throughout.  Subtle passages comparable with other tone poem delights.  Will need a couple more exposures to assess fully. Nice find this recent first recording of a Baxian orchestral work of which I was totally unaware.

Thanks. Yes, it's a nice discovery and is a characteristic work.  I like the South Downs cover  image (notwithstanding a cloud formation which resembles a nuclear explosion mushroom cloud!) as I live near the South Downs and often walk there (I have seen the converted windmill where John Ireland lived, with his cat).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 07, 2010, 04:34:15 AM
Thanks. Yes, it's a nice discovery and is a characteristic work.  I like the South Downs cover  image (notwithstanding a cloud formation which resembles a nuclear explosion mushroom cloud!) as I live near the South Downs and often walk there (I have seen the converted windmill where John Ireland lived, with his cat).
I may be wrong, but I learned when I was in England years ago, that Bax and Ireland resided in  the same area of Sussex.  I do recall my having stayed three nights in  the same hotel where the maestro spent many of his later years; the name of the hotel escapes me for now.  I'll Google it. The English landscape is lovely, and much of it reminded me of the pastoral works of so many fine composers: Bax, Delius, Gibbs, VW, Howells, Lloyd, Hadley, Bliss, Butterworth, Bridge, Bainton, Moeran, Cyril Scott, plus others I don't immediately recall.



















Scott, Howelss, Gibbscompo
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 08, 2010, 07:25:55 AM
I may be wrong, but I learned when I was in England years ago, that Bax and Ireland resided in  the same area of Sussex.  I do recall my having stayed three nights in  the same hotel where the maestro spent many of his later years; the name of the hotel escapes me for now.  I'll Google it. The English landscape is lovely, and much of it reminded me of the pastoral works of so many fine composers: Bax, Delius, Gibbs, VW, Howells, Lloyd, Hadley, Bliss, Butterworth, Bridge, Bainton, Moeran, Cyril Scott, plus others I don't immediately recall.
Scott, Howelss, Gibbscompo

Yes, Bax and Ireland lived not far from each other in Sussex, which is where I live.  Bax lived for the last part of his life in a pub - The White Horse in Storrington.  I forced my wife to visit the pub with me once, a few years ago.  It was rather drab, but may be better now.  There is not much about Bax, but there is a plaque outside (see picture) and a little bit of information inside.  To be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment, but worth a visit if you are a Bax fan in the area.

John Ireland's converted windmill looks fun (see picture), but not open to the public I think.

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 08, 2010, 07:54:49 AM
Yes, Bax and Ireland lived not far from each other in Sussex, which is where I live.  Bax lived for the last part of his life in a pub - The White Horse in Storrington.  I forced my wife to visit the pub with me once, a few years ago.  It was rather drab, but may be better now.  There is not much about Bax, but there is a plaque outside (see picture) and a little bit of information inside.  To be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment, but worth a visit if you are a Bax fan in the area.

John Ireland's converted windmill looks fun (see picture), but not open to the public I think.

Thanks for the reply.  Storrington!  Yes.  We also stayed a few days @a Bed and Breakfast.  Can't remember the names except the lady's first name:  Francis, I believe.  She did not kn ow of Bax but did she did mention  Elgar. I recall either having heard or via some uncalled email, that there was some information  regarding the White Horse Tavern; viz, that the room in  which Bax stayed had been somehow changed, or remodeled. I do recall Bax's picture in front of the White Horse Tavern.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on January 20, 2010, 07:51:30 PM
However a word on the Handley symphonies set- there are some interesting insights and I particularly like his intoxicated Fourth (and his Spring Fire), but these recordings do Bax a grave disservice: as Handley himself explains on the interview CD, he looks at and tries to justify the music in traditional formal terms with symmetries and balance.

This is emphatically not what Bax was doing- he may often have began with a framework but goes on to use it only as a trellis to plaster his intuitively moving ideas (Shostakovich Fourth would be a similar example, Bax having closest relations with Shostakovich, and underlined by his often Russian themes): emphasizing sketchy sonata form and reducing the music's amazing inspiration in the moment per se to this is an enormous mistake- the music's achievement and fascination is in its self-justifying Dionysian logic not relation to Apollonian frames (Messiaen's juxtapositional style is another case of finding aesthetic logic across seemingly disparate material, independent of pre-given structure).

Sorry folks, you need to stick with the fabulous Thomson set.

Thanks for this interesting post. I've avoided the Handley set, as I find he too often overlooks expressive opportunities. Talk of record-setting fast tempos was also a turn-off. I have the Lloyd-Jones, which I'm happy with, apart from some sound problems (generally lacking in the warm mid-range frequencies). I have ordered the Lyrita disc of 1 and 7, as those had the poorest sound in the Naxos cycle.

It's a damn shame the Thomson set remains out of print. I'm sure many Baxians would welcome the opportunity to compare and contrast the two Chandos sets.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 21, 2010, 07:54:36 AM
Thanks for this interesting post. I've avoided the Handley set, as I find he too often overlooks expressive opportunities. Talk of record-setting fast tempos was also a turn-off. I have the Lloyd-Jones, which I'm happy with, apart from some sound problems (generally lacking in the warm mid-range frequencies). I have ordered the Lyrita disc of 1 and 7, as those had the poorest sound in the Naxos cycle.

It's a damn shame the Thomson set remains out of print. I'm sure many Baxians would welcome the opportunity to compare and contrast the two Chandos sets.

The Lyrita disc is outstanding - my favourite performance of both works. The Lyrita CD with Raymond Leppards 5th Symphony is also very good.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 21, 2010, 02:47:09 PM
It took me a little bit time to read the whole thread, but I've learnt much about the interpretations of Bax's symphonies, as I only listened to the Thomson/Chandos one.

I thought I could contribute with a few impressions about Bax's works, as I have listened several of them and especially the fascinating Chandos series of orchestral works (#1).

- The symphonies : I don't like the Symphony nr.1 (1922): too brutal,  too much brass everywhere, rudely epic, thematically very poor. His Symphony nr.2 (1926) is a little better, more austere, but still with an orchestra swallowed up by the crushing brass section. Thematically still very hazy. Same problem with the Symphony nr.3 (1929) with its flashy bucolic orchestra. The Symphony nr.4 (1931) is built upon the same formula : flowing hazy bucolic strings, gigantic diplodocus-like brass section. It's a rather personnal music language, but excessive and blurred in my opinion. The Symphony nr.5  (1932) was a revelation to me, as it looks like Bax suddenly found the right balance between the different sections of the orchestra , and expressed his musical ideas with more enthraling themes and clearer structures. Without loosing his musical personnality : the result is a first masterpiece, followed by another one : the enthusiastic and luminous Symphony nr.6 (1935) but for me the best of all is his Symphony nr.7 (1939)  which achieves an extraordinary level of density of ideas and  inspiration.

- The Orchestral works : I havn't heard everything, but I enjoyed especially the b brisk pre-waltonian Sinfonietta (1932) with its winged strings and galloping brass. I also highly recommand the majestic and lively Festival Overture (1911), the slow and massive Christmas Eve on the Moutains (1912), the epic waltz-like Dance of the Wild Irravel (1912), the Tolkienian November Woods (1917) with its enchanting orchestra, the sweet and woodsy Summer Music (1917), the bright and colourful Symphonic Scherzo (1917, a good vintage), the magnificent Tintagel (1919) with its legendary accents and its massive brass section, the Overture, Elegy & Rondo (1927) is especially noticeable for its marvellous Elegy, one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard, and, Paean (1938), a triumphant piece built upon a trombone ostinato is also very representative of Bax's genius.

I also appreciate (but am not fond of) t : Into the Twilight (1908), whose atmosphere  recalls Turner's misty lights, Roscatha (1910)  is pleasant too with its aristocratic strings and its pastoral woodwind section. I also enjoyed listening to Nympholept  (1912) which is another enchanted landscape with fairy-like atmospheres, Spring Fire (1913) has a magnificent beginning (especially part I "In the Forest before Dawn" and II "Daybreak and Sunrise"), but afterwards it goes down with a rather flashy and heavy orchestra, The Garden of Fand (1916) is a lovely piece but strongly influenced by Delius, From Dusk til Dawn (1917) is a kind of graceful waltz, the Russian Dances (1919) do not sound very russian, but if you don't care they are fine too, The Truth about the Russian Dancers (1920) contains very nice and tidy themes, though not always catchy, the Overture to a Picaresque Comedy (1930) has beautiful light gauzy strings unfortunately spoiled by an elephantine brass section, The Tale the Pine Tree Knew (1931) is thematically very weak but orchestrally impressive. There is also 2 interesting pieces for orchestra & soloist : the Threnody & Scherzo (1936), a sweet piece with a gentle bassoon, and Maytime in Sussex (1946) with a flowing piano and a bucolic orchestra.

It is certainly personal BUT I do not like In the Fairy Hills (1910 - boring), In Memoriam (1916) with a solo english horn (thematically uninteresting), the Symphonic Variations (1918) (a very uninspired and  lisztian solo piano), Winter Legend (1930 - a brass section as gentle and delicate as a horde of mammoths), same problem with the Cortege (1925), the Northern Ballads nr. 2 & 3 (1933-34) could be great if it wasn't for these omnipresent cymbals, and A Legend (1944) suffers from the same problem as most failed Bax's pieces : the abuse of brass which swallow up everything around.

- The Concertos : I don't think they are the most interesting things ever written by Bax. The Cello Concerto (1932)  is a very elgarian but boring piece, the Flute Concerto (1936) is quiet and pleasant but again thematically uninteresting, the Violin Concerto (1938) is unsurprisingly very ornated and modulating, but OK though, and in the Piano Concerto (1939) the piano has sunk in the gigantic orchestra. The most interesting piece there is perhaps the Concertante for english horn, clarinet & horn (1949) with rather Sibelian accents.

Sorry, I wanted to make it as short as possible but Bax wrote so much that the challenge wasn't easy. Well, that's only impressions, I always welcome contradictory opinions of course.

Next episode (maybe) : the piano & chamber music :)

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on January 21, 2010, 04:57:47 PM
@kentel

Phew! So you don't like brass, then?
 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on January 21, 2010, 11:07:10 PM
kentel - I admire anyone who is able to choose between the various tone poems, which I love but am still struggling to consider as a non-homogeneous group.

I would like to hear your opinions on the chamber and piano music, both of which I don't find fully idiomatic for the instruments or ensembles, but are very interesting regardless of that.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 21, 2010, 11:49:38 PM
@kentel

Phew! So you don't like brass, then?

I love them ! But sometimes I just feel like the brass section in Bax symphonic works is so massive and crushing that it overshadows the other instruments. In itself, the idea of flaming gigantic brass is interesting and original, though.

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 22, 2010, 12:03:59 AM
I thought I could contribute with a few impressions about Bax's works, [etc]

Very interesting post. I haven't heard all of Bax's symphonies, but my impressions are a bit different from yours. I rank nos. 2 and especially 3 highly, but was disappointed by 6. I was not very impressed by 1, and while 5 was OK, I don't feel an urge to revisit it.

I think 2 & 3 both show a skillful integration of mood and structure, especially no. 3. (I like a "crushing brass section", so that's not a problem for me.)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 22, 2010, 12:09:24 AM
kentel - I admire anyone who is able to choose between the various tone poems, which I love but am still struggling to consider as a non-homogeneous group.

Thanks :) To say it in a nutshell, I think that Bax's music has 2 basic flaws (well I'm not sure this is the right word actually) :

- the overuse of brass at the expense of the other sections

- the weakness of his melodic inspiration

but, he's of course a genius of the orchestral colors, of the sophisticated atmospheres, a master of the big architectures, etc. no need to tell. Then, when he's also able to be melodically inspired + to hold is brass back, the result is just great. At least I think.

I would like to hear your opinions on the chamber and piano music, both of which I don't find fully idiomatic for the instruments or ensembles, but are very interesting regardless of that.

I agree with you. Bax is mostly a composer for the orchestra, as are most English composers. But he wrote some beautiful pieces of chamber music too. I'll try to tell something about it :)

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 22, 2010, 12:14:56 AM
Very interesting post. I haven't heard all of Bax's symphonies, but my impressions are a bit different from yours. I rank nos. 2 and especially 3 highly, but was disappointed by 6. I was not very impressed by 1, and while 5 was OK, I don't feel an urge to revisit it.

I think 2 & 3 both show a skillful integration of mood and structure, especially no. 3. (I like a "crushing brass section", so that's not a problem for me.)

In fact, I wouldn't say that the first four are "bad" symphonies, I just feel like he did better in the others. But you're right : the moods are very elaborated, and structurally... how to put it... it takes your breath away.

But as I said I only heard the Thomson version, and from what I've read in this thread, I think I should try others...

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 22, 2010, 12:57:44 AM
In fact, I wouldn't say that the first four are "bad" symphonies, I just feel like he did better in the others. But you're right : the moods are very elaborated, and structurally... how to put it... it takes your breath away.

But as I said I only heard the Thomson version, and from what I've read in this thread, I think I should try others...

--Gilles

Agree with you about No 5 but not about No 3 or 1 for that matter.  The CD with Christmas Eve, Nympholept etc on (Chandos/Thomson) is perhaps my favourite Bax compilation. Nympholept waas used as background music for a TV documentary on Tolkein many years ago.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 22, 2010, 03:14:42 AM
Agree with you about No 5 but not about No 3 or 1 for that matter.  The CD with Christmas Eve, Nympholept etc on (Chandos/Thomson) is perhaps my favourite Bax compilation. Nympholept waas used as background music for a TV documentary on Tolkein many years ago.

That's exactly what I feel : it is completely tolkienian music  ! Epic, faery-like, enchanting, etc.

The cd you're thinking of is the vol.5 of the Orchestral Works series, I guess. I think it's my favorite too : there is 2 other great pieces on this one : Paean and the Festival Overture.

Well, I shall hear again this 3rd symphony. I am about to try the Lloyd-Jones version, as, from what I read here, he seems to take the problem from a radically different perspective

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on January 22, 2010, 05:12:43 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412MCVYQR8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I'm currently listening to this disc that you two rate highly, and thanks for the pointer. Christmas Eve is stunning (and I suppose the next wave of Bax recordings could allow us to hear the original version) - it has such a scope of poetry and moments of almost manic intensity that are so typical of Bax that one has to smile when listening, only this piece has somewhat more urgency as well as a greater wealth of melodic ideas that make it stand out. The organ entry towards the end is absolutely magnificent. This has in one listen become a favourite Bax piece of mine - I don't know how I managed to miss it before now.

The very fine Festival Overture raises a question. This piece contains all the drama and scope of his other tone poems, so why did he give it such a generic title? It can be quite difficult to pick out any great differences in tone between Bax pieces, despite their variety of titles, but I suppose that the title is a matter of their inspiration rather than a pointer as to actual depications in the music on the most part...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on January 22, 2010, 07:06:41 AM
Thanks :) To say it in a nutshell, I think that Bax's music has 2 basic flaws (well I'm not sure this is the right word actually) :

- the overuse of brass at the expense of the other sections

Bax certainly brings out very divergent responses in listeners and interpreters! I find that, if anything, he under-uses brass compared to many Late Romantics and tends, if anything, to rely overly much on massed woodwinds (though that is part of what makes up his unique orchestration thumbprint). I'll grant that when he does use brass, it seems to lack the subtlety and diversity of employment you can find in others of his era, like Mahler.

I would like to hear your opinions on the chamber and piano music, both of which I don't find fully idiomatic for the instruments or ensembles, but are very interesting regardless of that.

I'd say "very interesting because of that" :)

Very interesting post. I haven't heard all of Bax's symphonies, but my impressions are a bit different from yours. I rank nos. 2 and especially 3 highly, but was disappointed by 6. I was not very impressed by 1, and while 5 was OK, I don't feel an urge to revisit it.

I think 2 & 3 both show a skillful integration of mood and structure, especially no. 3. (I like a "crushing brass section", so that's not a problem for me.)

I too tend to enjoy the earlier symphonies more. And speaking of the symphonies, earlier it was argued that Handley's emphasis on structure over immediate rhapsodic inspiration was wrong-headed, and I probably would have agreed in the past, but after hearing Handley's emphatic assertion (on the interview disc included in the box set) that Bax was in fact a great structuralist, I've listened more carefully to the symphonies in that light. More and more I find myself in agreement with him. Yes, Bax clearly had an improvisational-sounding, rhapsodic style, but there is definitely careful thematic development and unity behind the brooding and the poetic outbursts. Structure isn't neglected by Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 22, 2010, 09:27:05 AM
That's exactly what I feel : it is completely tolkienian music  ! Epic, faery-like, enchanting, etc.

The cd you're thinking of is the vol.5 of the Orchestral Works series, I guess. I think it's my favorite too : there is 2 other great pieces on this one : Paean and the Festival Overture.

Well, I shall hear again this 3rd symphony. I am about to try the Lloyd-Jones version, as, from what I read here, he seems to take the problem from a radically different perspective

--Gilles

Actually the original release (see below) was better as it contained Bryden Thomson's fine performance of Tintagel, which has been replaced on Vol. 5 of the reissues by Overture to a Picaresque Comedy and Cortege, which are less interesting works.  But Vol 5 is at mid-price which is good. My favourite version of Symphony 3 was by Edward Downes and the LSO (RCA) - never released on CD  :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 22, 2010, 09:34:20 AM
My Bax symphony recording recommendations:

No 1 Fredman (Lyrita)
No 2 Fredman (Lyrita) or great Goossens historical recording (Dutton)
No 3 Downes (RCA - LP)
No 4 Thomson (Chandos)
No 5 Leppard (Lyrita)
No 6 Thomson (Chandos) or Lloyd Jones (Naxos)
No 7 Leppard (Lyrita)

+ for orchestral works Vol 5 of the Chandos reissues (discussed above) is essential for Christmas Eve in the Mountains (only recording) etc.

ps I'm sure you all agree with my choices  8)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: offbeat on January 22, 2010, 09:42:48 AM
For me Bax's symphonies are the keystone to his romantic art - Kentel's analysis is interesting although personally disagree somewhat
No 1 - this has rather a raw overall look but the slow movement is full of mystery and menace and is one of his best movements imo - shame about the giveaway last......
No2 When first getting to know his symphonies about 50 light years away  :D the 2nd was imo the best due to the nightmarish atmosphere throughout - revised my opinion somewhat but still greatly admire
No3 First heard this on Edward Downes LSO recording on vinyl and is his most romantic symphony - the first movement has long build up and includes the inevitable interlude which pervades baxs whole output - the 2nd movement is so gorgeous and unusual and the famous theme in the last movement fades off into the sunset - great work
No4 Always had problem with 4 thinking hes taken his foot off the pedal here but recent replays forces me to acknowledge it has much going for it but maybe in a different way.
No5 structually is best imo and love the film like slow movement - uniquely baxian
No6 is personal favourite - just think the whole work is poetically out on its own and never tire hearing it
No7 - have to admit never got into this - very freeflowing but it doesnot work for me so much -ironically its the only bax symphony ive heard in concert hall.

when i get time want to listen more to his tone poems and chamber works - have listened in past but forgetten much of them - trouble with this forum is there is so much music to listen to and so little time   :o

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 22, 2010, 12:22:19 PM
For me Bax's symphonies are the keystone to his romantic art - Kentel's analysis is interesting although personally disagree somewhat
No 1 - this has rather a raw overall look but the slow movement is full of mystery and menace and is one of his best movements imo - shame about the giveaway last......
No2 When first getting to know his symphonies about 50 light years away  :D the 2nd was imo the best due to the nightmarish atmosphere throughout - revised my opinion somewhat but still greatly admire
No3 First heard this on Edward Downes LSO recording on vinyl and is his most romantic symphony - the first movement has long build up and includes the inevitable interlude which pervades baxs whole output - the 2nd movement is so gorgeous and unusual and the famous theme in the last movement fades off into the sunset - great work
No4 Always had problem with 4 thinking hes taken his foot off the pedal here but recent replays forces me to acknowledge it has much going for it but maybe in a different way.
No5 structually is best imo and love the film like slow movement - uniquely baxian
No6 is personal favourite - just think the whole work is poetically out on its own and never tire hearing it
No7 - have to admit never got into this - very freeflowing but it doesnot work for me so much -ironically its the only bax symphony ive heard in concert hall.

Thank you for sharing your opinion about the symphonies :  it's very interesting to compare different approaches of these (huge) works which are little music worlds in themselves - and I don't say I will never change my mind about the 4 first :) your comments tends to orientate my next listening(s) of these works in a rather different direction.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 22, 2010, 12:31:08 PM
My Bax symphony recording recommendations:

No 1 Fredman (Lyrita)
No 2 Fredman (Lyrita) or great Goossens historical recording (Dutton)
No 3 Downes (RCA - LP)
No 4 Thomson (Chandos)
No 5 Leppard (Lyrita)
No 6 Thomson (Chandos) or Lloyd Jones (Naxos)
No 7 Leppard (Lyrita)

+ for orchestral works Vol 5 of the Chandos reissues (discussed above) is essential for Christmas Eve in the Mountains (only recording) etc.

ps I'm sure you all agree with my choices  8)

Thank you for this discography : I read in several of your previous messages that you highly recommended the Lyrita versions. Unfortunately they don't have it on the Naxos Music Library, thus I'm limited to the LLoyd-Jones version right now but I already ordered the 2nd and 5th with Fredman and Leppard. Looking forward to listen to them, and especially the 2nd.

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 22, 2010, 12:37:33 PM
Bax certainly brings out very divergent responses in listeners and interpreters! I find that, if anything, he under-uses brass compared to many Late Romantics and tends, if anything, to rely overly much on massed woodwinds (though that is part of what makes up his unique orchestration thumbprint). I'll grant that when he does use brass, it seems to lack the subtlety and diversity of employment you can find in others of his era, like Mahler.

I agree, but I think that most of Mahler's orchestral subtleties are inherited from Strauss (Johann), who was a genius of the orchestra. Too bad he only wrote waltz...

On the other hand, I'm not sure I agree with your idea according to which late romantic composers use brass more than Bax. Who are you actually thinking about ?

--Gilles

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 23, 2010, 02:18:43 AM
Thank you for this discography : I read in several of your previous messages that you highly recommended the Lyrita versions. Unfortunately they don't have it on the Naxos Music Library, thus I'm limited to the LLoyd-Jones version right now but I already ordered the 2nd and 5th with Fredman and Leppard. Looking forward to listen to them, and especially the 2nd.

--Gilles

Nothing wrong with the Lloyd-Jones versions - you should be happy with them; 3-7 are all first rate and 4 has Nympholept with it (although I prefer Thomson's version).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 23, 2010, 02:24:23 AM
For me Bax's symphonies are the keystone to his romantic art - Kentel's analysis is interesting although personally disagree somewhat
No 1 - this has rather a raw overall look but the slow movement is full of mystery and menace and is one of his best movements imo - shame about the giveaway last......
No2 When first getting to know his symphonies about 50 light years away  :D the 2nd was imo the best due to the nightmarish atmosphere throughout - revised my opinion somewhat but still greatly admire
No3 First heard this on Edward Downes LSO recording on vinyl and is his most romantic symphony - the first movement has long build up and includes the inevitable interlude which pervades baxs whole output - the 2nd movement is so gorgeous and unusual and the famous theme in the last movement fades off into the sunset - great work
No4 Always had problem with 4 thinking hes taken his foot off the pedal here but recent replays forces me to acknowledge it has much going for it but maybe in a different way.
No5 structually is best imo and love the film like slow movement - uniquely baxian
No6 is personal favourite - just think the whole work is poetically out on its own and never tire hearing it
No7 - have to admit never got into this - very freeflowing but it doesnot work for me so much -ironically its the only bax symphony ive heard in concert hall.

when i get time want to listen more to his tone poems and chamber works - have listened in past but forgetten much of them - trouble with this forum is there is so much music to listen to and so little time   :o

Interesting comments - I am largely in agreement, although I've always found the last few minutes of No 7 terribly moving and like the work as a whole - especially in Leppard's recording.  Northern Ballad No 1 is a favourite short work - also rather epic and Tolkenian.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 23, 2010, 02:29:32 AM
By the way - I've just been listening to Madetoja's fine Second Symphony - it is quite Baxian in a way.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on January 23, 2010, 05:34:04 AM
By the way - I've just been listening to Madetoja's fine Second Symphony - it is quite Baxian in a way.

And the magical second movement nocturne of Madetoja's first symphony somewhat calls to mind the inner movement of Bax's second symphony.

(For those who don't know Madetoja, you're missing out on one of the tragically unsung symphonists of the early 20th century, a real talent.)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 23, 2010, 12:12:57 PM
And the magical second movement nocturne of Madetoja's first symphony somewhat calls to mind the inner movement of Bax's second symphony.

(For those who don't know Madetoja, you're missing out on one of the tragically unsung symphonists of the early 20th century, a real talent.)

I agree!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 23, 2010, 02:57:25 PM
I agree!

I don't like Madetoja at all, but I find the comparison interesting : Bax and Sibelius were deeply influenced by Debussy, and I consider Madetoja as an epigone of Sibelius (as a matter of fact, the language is exactly the same). Debussy is perhaps the common denominator (?).

--Gilles

 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2010, 12:53:42 AM
I don't like Madetoja at all, but I find the comparison interesting : Bax and Sibelius were deeply influenced by Debussy, and I consider Madetoja as an epigone of Sibelius (as a matter of fact, the language is exactly the same). Debussy is perhaps the common denominator (?).

--Gilles

 

OK then, try Stanley Bate's Third Symphony, which definitely has Baxian moments (as does Arthur Butterworth's 4th Symphony - both on Dutton). Both great symphonies IMHO.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 24, 2010, 01:32:57 AM
OK then, try Stanley Bate's Third Symphony, which definitely has Baxian moments (as does Arthur Butterworth's 4th Symphony - both on Dutton). Both great symphonies IMHO.

Thank you for the tip :) I don't know Bate at all - and have never heard any of Butterworth symphonies... (but the Argo cd with Coleridge-Taylor was great).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on January 24, 2010, 05:16:28 AM
I don't like Madetoja at all, but I find the comparison interesting : Bax and Sibelius were deeply influenced by Debussy, and I consider Madetoja as an epigone of Sibelius (as a matter of fact, the language is exactly the same). Debussy is perhaps the common denominator (?).

--Gilles

 

To my ear, Madetoja resembles some of Sibelius, but to say their language is "exactly the same" would be to stretch the comparison past the breaking point.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 24, 2010, 05:47:55 AM
To my ear, Madetoja resembles some of Sibelius, but to say their language is "exactly the same" would be to stretch the comparison past the breaking point.

OK, if you can find a passage of one of these 3 symphonies which is not harmonically or orchestrally pure Sibelius, I will admitt that I'm wrong. Maybe I am actually, but I've heard the symphonies several times and I don't remember a single minute which is not (bad) Sibelius.

Don't misunderstand me : I love Sibelius.

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 24, 2010, 07:27:32 AM
And the magical second movement nocturne of Madetoja's first symphony somewhat calls to mind the inner movement of Bax's second symphony.

(For those who don't know Madetoja, you're missing out on one of the tragically unsung symphonists of the early 20th century, a real talent.)

I agree.  Madetoja wrote three convincing symphonies, the second of which is, in my opinion, a true masterpiece.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 25, 2010, 03:23:27 AM
I agree.  Madetoja wrote three convincing symphonies, the second of which is, in my opinion, a true masterpiece.
I agree - Symphony No 2 gets better and better as it progresses - the epilogue is very moving expressing IMHO a kind of resigned acceptance of fate. The powerful march like section in the last movement is another highlight.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on January 25, 2010, 09:53:00 AM
I agree - Symphony No 2 gets better and better as it progresses - the epilogue is very moving expressing IMHO a kind of resigned acceptance of fate. The powerful march like section in the last movement is another highlight.

well well, it looks like I am in a minority positon here...  3 messages in a row to tell how brilliant is Madetoja, I think I begin to get the point. But ok then, I won't say anything bad about Madetoja anymore...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on January 25, 2010, 11:45:35 AM
OK, Baxians. Given, that I haven't properly listened to Shostakovich 7, 8 and 10: Why and what symphonic Bax should prefer over Shosta?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on January 25, 2010, 03:37:41 PM
OK, Baxians. Given, that I haven't properly listened to Shostakovich 7, 8 and 10: Why and what symphonic Bax should prefer over Shosta?

They're worlds apart. You can happily enjoy both. For Bax symphony recommendations, see the recent posts above.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on January 31, 2010, 07:31:45 AM
Thanks for this interesting post. I've avoided the Handley set, as I find he too often overlooks expressive opportunities. Talk of record-setting fast tempos was also a turn-off. I have the Lloyd-Jones, which I'm happy with, apart from some sound problems (generally lacking in the warm mid-range frequencies). I have ordered the Lyrita disc of 1 and 7, as those had the poorest sound in the Naxos cycle.

It's a damn shame the Thomson set remains out of print. I'm sure many Baxians would welcome the opportunity to compare and contrast the two Chandos sets.

Sure thing. Best wishes.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on January 31, 2010, 08:30:02 AM


It's a damn shame the Thomson set remains out of print. I'm sure many Baxians would welcome the opportunity to compare and contrast the two Chandos sets.

      Amazon has the Thomson set for <$50 used, and Chandos offers the set as mp3s for £23.97. Furthermore the CDs are still available individually on the Chandos site for £7.99 ea. OOP ain't what it used to be. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/smiley.gif)

     (http://www.theclassicalshop.net/HiResArt/chan%208906.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on February 11, 2010, 07:44:50 PM
I recently received three CDs of Bax tone poems conducted by Thomson (vols 3, 4 & 5 of the reissues), ordered because I wanted something well upholstered, to contrast with the brisk, occasionally thin Lloyd-Jones recordings. I'm currently having a sneaky listen to vol.3  at work (earbuds), and enjoying it. Obviously not the most vigorous alternatives, but a great Romantic wallow, and these Ulster recordings sound very nice indeed.

Plus there are some pieces I haven't heard before: Roscatha, A Legend, On the Sea Shore, Festival Overture, and Christmas Eve (as recommended in this thread).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 12, 2010, 12:51:51 AM
I recently received three CDs of Bax tone poems conducted by Thomson (vols 3, 4 & 5 of the reissues), ordered because I wanted something well upholstered, to contrast with the brisk, occasionally thin Lloyd-Jones recordings. I'm currently having a sneaky listen to vol.3  at work (earbuds), and enjoying it. Obviously not the most vigorous alternatives, but a great Romantic wallow, and these Ulster recordings sound very nice indeed.

Plus there are some pieces I haven't heard before: Roscatha, A Legend, On the Sea Shore, Festival Overture, and Christmas Eve (as recommended in this thread).

The CD with Christmas Eve and the Festival Overture on is great.  It also contains my favourite version of the atmospheric Nympholept.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on February 12, 2010, 03:10:30 AM
The CD with Christmas Eve and the Festival Overture on is great.  It also contains my favourite version of the atmospheric Nympholept.

     That disk (#5 in the series) is excellent. Nympholept is one of my favs, too. The disk with Spring Fire and the Northern Ballads Nos. 2 & 3 is another great one.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on February 20, 2010, 03:04:57 AM
As I promised to do it (in #282), here are a few impressions about the chamber works. As usual, I tried to make it short. Useless to say that I always welcome contradictory opinions of course - these are just impressionistic descriptions, and I can even change my mind (as we say on this side of the Channel : Il n'y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d'avis - and I try not to be one).

Bax's orchestral language is clearly personal and original; It is not the case of most of his chamber works : you have almost all Bax's chamber language embedded within Debussy's String Quartet; and this is rather frustrating. However; some pieces are worth listening, and a few of them are true masterpieces.

This is for ex. the case of the bright and sunny Violin Sonata nr.1 (1910) and of the Violin Sonata Nr.2 (1915), clear and warm like a cup of tea (I hope you see what I mean...). I found the 2 last ones (Violin Sonata nr.3 from 1927 and Violin Sonata nr.4 from 1928) very disappointing in comparison : they sound grey and gloomy. There is also a G minor Violin Sonata from 1901, a rather academic piece, but which shows that at the age of 18 Bax was already an accomplished composer.

The Elegiac Trio for harp, violin & flute (1916) is another great piece, delicate and aquatic, which I highly recommend, as well as the contemplative and pastoral Nonet for string quintet (with doublebass) (1930), though not as enthralling as the previous one. The Clarinet Sonata (1934) is fine too, smooth and flowing, and I enjoyed the soft and muffled Folk Tale for cello & piano (1918).

I am not enthusiastic of the other pieces : the Romance for clarinet & piano (1901) is uninteresting, the very romantic Quintet (1908) is pleasant but tasteless, the Legend for violin & piano (1915) is another peri-brahmsian out of date romantic piece. The Lyrical Interlude for String Quintet (1914) is pure Debussy. The Oboe Quintet (1922) with its fine strings part and its singing oboe could be a beautiful piece if it was not for the weakness of its thematic inspiration. One could expect the Harp Quintet (1919) to be a fairy-like and graceful piece : it is not. The Phantasy Sonata for harp & violin (1927) is drab and boring, the Sonata for flute & harp (1928) is a pale imitation of Debussy, the Ballad for violin & piano (1929) is very lively but uneventful and the Octet with horn & piano (1934) has some fine sonorities but is not the most catchy thing Bax ever wrote.

I was especially disappointed by the String Quartets which are completely overshadowed by Debussy. Chronologically : the String Quartet "Cathaleen-ni-Hoolihan" (1905) is pure Debussy. With the String Quartet nr.1 (1918) we go back in time : it is pure Dvorak, the String Quartet nr.2 (1925) is pure Debussy again, and the String Quartet nr.3 (1936) has something baxian with its light gauzy harmonies and its elaborated counterpoints, but is still very debussian.

The trios : the Piano Trio nr.1 (1908) is simply boring, but the Piano Trio nr.2 (1946), one of Bax's last pieces, is also one of the most beautiful, and maybe his most successfull chamber work : torrents of notes flowing from the piano, beautiful strings' themes and a wonderful slow movement, as delicate as a butterfly on a flower.

Next time, the piano

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 20, 2010, 04:31:38 AM
OK then, try Stanley Bate's Third Symphony, which definitely has Baxian moments (as does Arthur Butterworth's 4th Symphony - both on Dutton). Both great symphonies IMHO.

Just observing this wonderful postings on three or four of my ingrained favorites. Great to acknowledge there is interest out there and knowledge on Bax, Sibelius, Madetoja, Debussy, Butterworth (will get back to his 4th). But Stanley Bates?  Now who's THAT one? 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 20, 2010, 06:04:01 AM
Just observing this wonderful postings on three or four of my ingrained favorites. Great to acknowledge there is interest out there and knowledge on Bax, Sibelius, Madetoja, Debussy, Butterworth (will get back to his 4th). But Stanley Bates?  Now who's THAT one?

Our musical tastes are similar and I suspect that you'd respond positively to Stanley Bate's Third Symphony. Here is a link to the Amazon UK site as you can read two reviews (one by me). The Viola Concerto is IMHO a lovely work. Both works have affinites to the VW of the 6th Symphony - Bate is my best discovery of last year. I'm sure you'd like Erik Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' too.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arnell-Bate-Chisholm-Orchestral-Works/dp/B002VPR7HQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1266673962&sr=8-3

And here is a detailed article about Bate:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/bate/index.htm



Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 20, 2010, 12:01:39 PM
Our musical tastes are similar and I suspect that you'd respond positively to Stanley Bate's Third Symphony. Here is a link to the Amazon UK site as you can read two reviews (one by me). The Viola Concerto is IMHO a lovely work. Both works have affinites to the VW of the 6th Symphony - Bate is my best discovery of last year. I'm sure you'd like Erik Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' too.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arnell-Bate-Chisholm-Orchestral-Works/dp/B002VPR7HQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1266673962&sr=8-3

And here is a detailed article about Bate:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/bate/index.htm


Thanks for the reply.  Soon after reading your message I did a search on Bate and did the order thru Amazon.com/UK.  This was for the 3rd.  I don't kn ow if his 4th is recorded.  I'll give it a try.  FYI: re listened to the A. Butterworth 4th.  Am liking it more and more.  Quite Tapiolesque.  Interesting to learn that you have published review on Bate.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 21, 2010, 03:16:52 AM

Thanks for the reply.  Soon after reading your message I did a search on Bate and did the order thru Amazon.com/UK.  This was for the 3rd.  I don't kn ow if his 4th is recorded.  I'll give it a try.  FYI: re listened to the A. Butterworth 4th.  Am liking it more and more.  Quite Tapiolesque.  Interesting to learn that you have published review on Bate.

I'd like to claim the review as a great literary achivement - but in fact anyone can put a review on the Amazon site! Glad you like Butterworth - me too. It quotes directly from Sibelius' The Tempest, but it all seems integrated and the ending has me on the edge of my seat. Try the Bate if you can.  No 4 not recorded yet,but hopefully Dutton will do it. Do you know Arnell's symphonies on Dutton? Nos 3-5 are superb works - very Baxian/Sibelian/Moerenian etc
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 21, 2010, 04:42:50 AM
I'd like to claim the review as a great literary achivement - but in fact anyone can put a review on the Amazon site! Glad you like Butterworth - me too. It quotes directly from Sibelius' The Tempest, but it all seems integrated and the ending has me on the edge of my seat. Try the Bate if you can.  No 4 not recorded yet,but hopefully Dutton will do it. Do you know Arnell's symphonies on Dutton? Nos 3-5 are superb works - very Baxian/Sibelian/Moerenian etc

Indeed.  I also have several reviews on Amazon; a few literary as well as musical.  Good that you post reviews, specifically on works that I appreciate.  I did order an Arnell work some time ago; however, I wasn't all that impressed somehow.  Unfortunately I can't recall details on why I wasn't impressed.  I don't even recall the title.  I sort of "donated" it to a musical friend.  I shall, however, give it another trial.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I just wanted to say that I was listening to John Vincent's Symphonic Poem After Descartes.  Nice work. Recreates occasional Sibelian "imagery."  Many if not most of his music evinces that certain  "American" sound reminiscent of Copland and/or Roy Harris.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 22, 2010, 06:24:17 AM
Indeed.  I also have several reviews on Amazon; a few literary as well as musical.  Good that you post reviews, specifically on works that I appreciate.  I did order an Arnell work some time ago; however, I wasn't all that impressed somehow.  Unfortunately I can't recall details on why I wasn't impressed.  I don't even recall the title.  I sort of "donated" it to a musical friend.  I shall, however, give it another trial.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I just wanted to say that I was listening to John Vincent's Symphonic Poem After Descartes.  Nice work. Recreates occasional Sibelian "imagery."  Many if not most of his music evinces that certain  "American" sound reminiscent of Copland and/or Roy Harris.

Never heard of John Vincent, but will look out for it. Arnell symphonies 3-5 are the ones to go for IMHO.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 22, 2010, 03:03:43 PM
Hi kentel

I read your Bax chamber overview. I know many of those works and agree superficially with many of your comments, but you're missing the essence of Bax, which is a contact with the visceral Dionysian inner imperatives of art, in an English empirical context.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on February 22, 2010, 04:19:52 PM
contact with the visceral Dionysian inner imperatives of art, in an English empirical context.

Sends my wongles all jangly.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 26, 2010, 11:58:27 AM
Our musical tastes are similar and I suspect that you'd respond positively to Stanley Bate's Third Symphony. Here is a link to the Amazon UK site as you can read two reviews (one by me). The Viola Concerto is IMHO a lovely work. Both works have affinites to the VW of the 6th Symphony - Bate is my best discovery of last year. I'm sure you'd like Erik Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' too.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arnell-Bate-Chisholm-Orchestral-Works/dp/B002VPR7HQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1266673962&sr=8-3

And here is a detailed article about Bate:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/bate/index.htm


Received the Cd with the Bate recording.  Only listened to it once, but I was impressed by the initial exposure.  Very dramatic, and, just as critics and/or reviewewrs stated, there is a strong resemblance to some of the VW symphonies.  Will continue listening.  Since I have been accessing Amazon/UK I have been receiving several ads, most of which I immediately delate; however, I did order Janacek's Piano Sonata along with two other works with which I am familiar.  Just asking your opinion on the Sonata.  Are you at all familiar with it? I like his orchestral works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 26, 2010, 01:17:38 PM

Received the Cd with the Bate recording.  Only listened to it once, but I was impressed by the initial exposure.  Very dramatic, and, just as critics and/or reviewewrs stated, there is a strong resemblance to some of the VW symphonies.  Will continue listening.  Since I have been accessing Amazon/UK I have been receiving several ads, most of which I immediately delate; however, I did order Janacek's Piano Sonata along with two other works with which I am familiar.  Just asking your opinion on the Sonata.  Are you at all familiar with it? I like his orchestral works.

Glad you enjoyed the Bate - did you listen to Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' yet?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 26, 2010, 06:34:31 PM
Glad you enjoyed the Bate - did you listen to Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' yet?

Not yet.  I only had the time for listenig to the Bate work.  I'll let you know how itr went with the  Chisholm.  Another newbie for me. Enjoy the Bate; hope the Chisholm appeals.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on February 27, 2010, 12:04:28 AM
Hi kentel

I read your Bax chamber overview. I know many of those works and agree superficially with many of your comments, but you're missing the essence of Bax, which is a contact with the visceral Dionysian inner imperatives of art, in an English empirical context.

Hi Sean,

Glad we agree about Bax  :) - even superficially : I wanted to make it as short and descriptive as possible going through the whole corpus of Bax's chamber works, but in a few words' comment you can't be anything else but superficial. Unfortunately.

I don't miss the dionysian aspect of Bax's music. It is mostly inherited from Debussy I think. And maybe from Elgar too, as a matter of fact. Who are you thinking of when talking about the english empirical context ?

Talking about the influences, it's a pity that the celtic one is so absent of his works, in spite of his well-known attraction for the celtic world. I quote the Wikipedia :

"His musical style blended elements of romanticism and impressionism, always with a strong Celtic influence"

but I don't hear anything celtic in his music....

---Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on February 27, 2010, 02:09:23 AM
Talking about the influences, it's a pity that the celtic one is so absent of his works, in spite of his well-known attraction for the celtic world. I quote the Wikipedia :

"His musical style blended elements of romanticism and impressionism, always with a strong Celtic influence"

but I don't hear anything celtic in his music....

"Wikipedia entry in error" shock horror. You're right, he uses fairly "respectable" musical means to evoke Celtic scenes in the early tone poems. The Celtic context goes pretty much out the window after he starts on his symphonies.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kentel on February 27, 2010, 03:04:54 AM
"Wikipedia entry in error" shock horror. You're right, he uses fairly "respectable" musical means to evoke Celtic scenes in the early tone poems. The Celtic context goes pretty much out the window after he starts on his symphonies.

The feeling I had with the symphonies and the later works was, that he still used respectable musical means to evoke Celtic Scenes. But if he uses celtic tunes somewhere , I just don't hear them. I was born and lived 27 years in a celtic country, hearing celtic tunes and melodies all the time, the traditionnal bagadoù with their binioù and their bombards in the streets, the harp players on the market place every thursday, the big fest noz, the canticles at church, the songs of my grandmother, the kan ha diskan, etc. And my old music teacher was interessed in nothing but Bach and the celtic tradionnal music.

So, I guess I can recognize a celtic tune when there is one. And I don't hear anything in Bax's, but maybe he did use celtic tunes, the material is just completely diluted within the post-romantic/impressionistic style.

I got the same feeling when I heard the 24 Negro Songs by Samuel- Coleridge Taylor : you can barely hear anything african there, though he did use african tunes. But what you hear is mostly romantic schumann-like piano pieces.

On the contrary, when you listen to Borodine or, better, Mussorgsky, no doubt there are russian folk tunes there... I wish I could hear the celtic ones so clearly in Bax's symphonies...

--Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 27, 2010, 09:03:06 AM
Glad you enjoyed the Bate - did you listen to Chisholm's 'Pictures from Dante' yet?

Just listened to the Chisholms Dantesque musical drama.  Quite dynamic and restless.  Good work.  Little is known of this Scottish composer, at least among the general public.  Enjoyed the three works. Do hope you get the opportunity to get ahold of the Vincent work.  The Symphony After Descartes is a wonderful piece;  again, some Sibelian suggestive passages as I indicated previously.  No great masterpiece; but, in my opinion, after having listened to it for many years, it remains a distant favorite, a solid symphonic achievement.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 28, 2010, 09:34:30 AM
Just listened to the Chisholms Dantesque musical drama.  Quite dynamic and restless.  Good work.  Little is known of this Scottish composer, at least among the general public.  Enjoyed the three works. Do hope you get the opportunity to get ahold of the Vincent work.  The Symphony After Descartes is a wonderful piece;  again, some Sibelian suggestive passages as I indicated previously.  No great masterpiece; but, in my opinion, after having listened to it for many years, it remains a distant favorite, a solid symphonic achievement.

Have ordered the Vincent which I found relatively inexpensively on the US Amazon site - will let you know what I think.  Thanks for the recommendation. Am currently enjoying Klami's 'Northern Lights' and the lovely ' Cheremissian Fantasy' - a nice discovery.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on March 07, 2010, 11:28:30 AM
Alright there kentel, sorry for the late reply, I've kind-of got disillusioned with forums, anyway Bax will remain for me a gigantic figure in the entire history of music, a real connection with inward visceral experience which few other composers share.

Debussy is an influence but as with Delius and others the big W lurks formidably in the background and his immense influence in terms of intuitive insight into the movement of musical material. Elgar is there in the confidence but not in the structure- Elgar was a classicist...

By the empiricist influence I mean the pointed step by step detailed conception of composition the English bring in distinction to the Germanics- the slow mov of the Third symph is one example of one inspired idea after another, self-justifying and negating architectonics.

I agree with you about the Celtic thing, I'm not sure what Celtic music is, but the Irish interest provides English music here of exceptional interest and value. Bax will indeed have his day, he will.

Hi Sean,

Glad we agree about Bax  :) - even superficially : I wanted to make it as short and descriptive as possible going through the whole corpus of Bax's chamber works, but in a few words' comment you can't be anything else but superficial. Unfortunately.

I don't miss the dionysian aspect of Bax's music. It is mostly inherited from Debussy I think. And maybe from Elgar too, as a matter of fact. Who are you thinking of when talking about the english empirical context ?

Talking about the influences, it's a pity that the celtic one is so absent of his works, in spite of his well-known attraction for the celtic world. I quote the Wikipedia :

"His musical style blended elements of romanticism and impressionism, always with a strong Celtic influence"

but I don't hear anything celtic in his music....

---Gilles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Martin Lind on June 19, 2010, 06:03:21 PM
I owe the Handley but I am less enthusiastic about Bax. Besides the Handley I possess Naxos with some tone poems and an Emi CD with Tintagle.

I enjoy Tintagle alot ( an old recording with Boult). When I started with the symphonies, I started with the 1st and 3rd. Difficult stuff. I can enjoy them now, but still think that there is greater music. But the 2nd disc left me completely cold, the 2nd symphony bored me endlessly and when I started the 4th it was not better. The rest I haven't heard.

Regards
Martin
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on June 19, 2010, 06:43:15 PM
The 5th-7th are certainly the most recognisably "Baxian". The 5th is unusually sunny and understated, the 6th is most peoples favourite, the 7th is perhaps the closest in mood to Tintagel in its "unaffected" mood.

No point forcing it though, but there's plenty of good stuff to return to when you're in the mood for it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scarpia on June 19, 2010, 08:33:48 PM
I realized I have no Bax other than the symphonies, and found these two release at very attractive prices (second hand). 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FG10C5CFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d6/16/d9c781b0c8a05a9e0d9cb110.L._AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on June 19, 2010, 09:03:42 PM
I would love the Chandos disc, I have the Hyperion and it's excellent. The pieces are on the whole bright and airy, presenting a quite different side of Bax to his orchestral music.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 19, 2010, 09:56:58 PM
I would love the Chandos disc, I have the Hyperion and it's excellent. The pieces are on the whole bright and airy, presenting a quite different side of Bax to his orchestral music.

The Harp Quintet in particular is classic Bax - perhaps my favourite of his chamber works. The Hyperion CD is especially good.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on June 24, 2010, 02:39:02 PM
I own the entire Chandos and Naxos orchestral series. Both series are great, but I think the Chandos series is superior because I think Handley and Thomson had a better handle on Bax's music. Both Bax symphony sets are also fantastic. Unfortunately, the Thomson has been out-of-print for quite some time. I was fortunate enough to find it in "like new" condition from an Amazon seller. My favorite Bax recording is "Volume 2" of the Chandos series that has the composition "Spring Fire" on it. Man, this is such a fantastic composition that pulls you in from the opening measures.
 
I only own one disc of Bax's chamber works and it's fantastic:
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FG10C5CFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Daverz on June 24, 2010, 02:58:02 PM
I enjoy Tintagle alot ( an old recording with Boult). When I started with the symphonies, I started with the 1st and 3rd. Difficult stuff. I can enjoy them now, but still think that there is greater music. But the 2nd disc left me completely cold, the 2nd symphony bored me endlessly and when I started the 4th it was not better.

The 6th is the one that really stands out for me, though I did go through an obsession with the 3rd.  I haven't heard Thomson in the 6th, but Lloyd-Jones, Handley, and Del Mar are all good.  (I can't downgrade Lloyd-Jones in this music or any other English music.)

I've always loved Tintagel, but two other stand outs are The Garden of Fand and November Woods.  All these are on Boult's Lyrita disc.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 24, 2010, 03:29:45 PM
I own the entire Chandos and Naxos orchestral series. Both series are great, but I think the Chandos series is superior because I think Handley and Thomson had a better handle on Bax's music. Both Bax symphony sets are also fantastic. Unfortunately, the Thomson has been out-of-print for quite some time. I was fortunate enough to find it in "like new" condition from an Amazon seller. My favorite Bax recording is "Volume 2" of the Chandos series that has the composition "Spring Fire" on it. Man, this is such a fantastic composition that pulls you in from the opening measures.
 
I only own one disc of Bax's chamber works and it's fantastic:
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FG10C5CFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)  (http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/BaxNashChamber/912569658_5fzxU-O.jpg)

MI - own the Chandos Symphony set (and the chamber disc shown) - enjoy!  I actually have a half dozen or so of Bax chamber music, including SQs & Violin Sonatas, but would recommend the disc inserted above w/ the Nash Ensemble - quite enjoyable -  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on June 24, 2010, 05:05:04 PM
MI - own the Chandos Symphony set (and the chamber disc shown) - enjoy!  I actually have a half dozen or so of Bax chamber music, including SQs & Violin Sonatas, but would recommend the disc inserted above w/ the Nash Ensemble - quite enjoyable -  :)

I've been looking at other Bax recordings and that recorded you put next to the one I inserted was one of them. Thanks for the heads up. :D

Right now, I've got around 11 recordings on the way and I have a hundred or so I haven't even heard yet, so I've got a lot of catching up to do.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scarpia on June 24, 2010, 07:35:15 PM
I realized I have no Bax other than the symphonies, and found these two release at very attractive prices (second hand). 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FG10C5CFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d6/16/d9c781b0c8a05a9e0d9cb110.L._AA300_.jpg)

This order arrived and I have started with the Nash Ensemble disc, the Nonet.

My first impression is that it is really fine music.   If you listen to it with a Beethovenesq ear you might find it meandering, but approached in the right frame of mind, the progression of moods is very engaging, and the sonorities in themselves are striking and wonderfully atmospheric.  Brings to mind some pieces by Finzi or Delius.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 25, 2010, 02:48:39 AM
Symphony No 5 is my favourite. The most integrated of the seven.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scarpia on June 27, 2010, 07:53:37 AM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d6/16/d9c781b0c8a05a9e0d9cb110.L._AA300_.jpg)

Still working my way through this one.  The only piece that hasn't engaged me so far is the elegaic trio for flute, viola and harp.  The Oboe Quintet and Clarinet sonata both had immediate appeal.  The clarinet sonata, in particular is not a "heavy" piece, mostly lyrical with flowing melodies and on the whole gentle harmonies, but there is a lot of wonderful melodic invention there.  The high point of the oboe quintet strikes me as the slow movement, which begin with and extended and richly harmonized melody presented by the string quartet before the oboe enters.  Beautiful stuff.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on August 29, 2010, 12:43:20 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RjEZeXLPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Has anybody heard this?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 31, 2010, 04:44:21 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RjEZeXLPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Has anybody heard this?

Yes, I have this CD - love it, as I'm a great fan of the looming catastrophe of Bax's Symphony No 2 and Goossens' 'Tintagel' is a great performance too. Old recordings, but full of atmosphere.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on August 31, 2010, 04:52:20 AM
Thanks - it's pretty good value on Amazon atm, so I will pick it up next order :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 31, 2010, 05:55:55 AM
Thanks - it's pretty good value on Amazon atm, so I will pick it up next order :)

Am sure you wont regret it. Let us know what you think. As a rule I like Goossens' performances (Manfred Symphony, VW London Symphony, Antheil Symphony 4 etc)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on August 31, 2010, 04:10:20 PM
Will do. I've found symphonies 2-4 somewhat tough to crack, but I am hoping eventually that one performance will win me over.

I just ran into an interesting contemporary review of Bax's 1st symphony from this blog (http://landofllostcontent.blogspot.com/2009/03/arnold-bax-symphony-no1-first.html). I will reproduce in full, as it was simply quoted by them anyway, but do visit the chap, he has written lots on British composers, and plenty on Bax:

Quote
Bax is responsible for the most arresting novelty of the season, a Symphony No.1, given under Albert Coates by the London Symphony Orchestra at their fourth concert [4th November 1922]. This is a three-movement work, corresponding in conception to three main moods-strife, lamentation, and exultation-respectively. It is an intensely personal type of work; but the composer synthesised what might otherwise have been rather obscure significances into such clearly-defined, though broad frescoes of musical imagery, that the work remains purely musical, and yet achieves its expressive function by direct sensatory impact-by thematic, harmonic, and orchestral colour, and rhythmic force.
Typically Celtic in thematic content, the bard-like quality of its subjects is emphasised by their generally declamatory character; and over the whole work pervades that high spirit of drama, tragedy and heroism which, even more rare than Greek art, is epitomised in such soul-gripping legends as that of Conary Mor in the ancient Red Branch Cycle of Ireland. This is the type of conception most universal to the Celtic race, Erse, Brythonic and Gael; and this work of Bax is peculiarly significant in that it provides conclusive counter-proof to the Saxon allegations of the dream-bound and esoteric nature of Celtic inspiration.

For it is not so generally recognised as it should be that the Celtic genius is responsible for some of the most vigorous elements of British tradition, from the early polyphony which culminated in the Tudor era, and the mythology which laid the foundations of medieval chivalry and the Morte d'Arthur to which English literature, from Spenser to Tennyson, owes so much.

- Leigh Henry, The Chesterian January 1923 p.115
It sounds rather bizarre by modern standards, but it's nice that he likes it, although how anybody can find anything Celtic sounding in that symphony - let alone enough to dedicate half the review to discussing - impresses me.

His enthusiasm does make me want to re-listen to the work, which I neglect despite it being a staggering achivement, really. Extremely bold, with a sharp definition in its writing, even though it is not in his more familiar later musical language (I could see an argument to claim this is his most structured and clearly penned symphony) that he seems to have developed first in his early tone poems. Despite the relative aggression of the first movement, I recall the work being emotionally rounded with a sizable amount of changes in tone. Too tired to do it today, hopefully I am still in the mood to do so tomorrow...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 31, 2010, 10:46:49 PM
I like Symphony No 1 more and more and thanks for posting the interesting review. The Chandos CD with Bryden Thomson conducting Symphony No 1 and 'Christmas Eve' is one of my all-time favourite Bax discs.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Elgarian on September 01, 2010, 11:09:30 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YE4yfRkdL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Inspired by a conversation with Lethe and DavidRoss, I've dug out my played-once-only Handley box of the Bax symphonies, with a view to finding out the following:
(a) If I cease to regard Tintagel as a complete work, but use it as an introduction to something (following an interesting Lethe observation), will I be able to break out of my personal prejudice that finds it 10 minutes too long?
(b) Is there any chance that a second listening to the 7th symphony will be any more successful than my first, a year or so ago?

Disc 4 of the Handley box conveniently puts Tintagel just before the 7th, so with CD4 out in the garden with me this sunny afternoon, I had all I needed.

Tintagel lasted about 7 minutes before I brought it to a premature end. What brilliant promise at the beginning, and what a let-down to follow. No, it's still not for me. After - what - ten hopeful listenings over the years, it's just not going to work for me, is it?

On then to the symphony. I listened to the whole of the first movement, and there are some interesting things in there, but, typically, I couldn't somehow get a grip on anything. About 4 minutes in, for instance, there's the beginning of a rather beautiful tune, but it speedily disintegrates and I can't pick up any traces of it thereafter. This is my problem with this music. I feel as if I'm being continually shown little gems that are then dashed away out of sight never to be heard of again. I'm sure it's not really like that - but if they're there, I can't find them. I feel as if this is brilliant soundtrack writing - if it were accompanying a suitable movie, I'd think it was wonderful - but I just can't keep interested in it, as music. I want to do something else while I'm listening: ride a bike, look at paintings, do the washing up, maybe.

I gave up halfway through the slow movement and skipped onto the last one, expecting nothing but more of the same. And suddenly, here was a tune. And suddenly I could hear him doing things with it - really interesting things, with marvellous swings of mood. I started to wonder if he was making some kind of personal statement about English music - I'd swear I caught a whiff of Cockaigne in there, and another whiff of the breezy side of RVW, and even a dash of Holst, all rather thoughtfully delivered. Rightly or not, and despite losing the thread about halfway through, this is definitely the closest I've ever been to real enjoyment of Bax's music. I actually listened to that last movement again after it finished even though my second cup of coffee had gone cold.

Now this just might be the breakthrough I've been hoping for. It's very delicately poised, and I'm not sure what to do next (perhaps a second listen to the whole symphony again in a few days' time), but this turned out to be an OK way to spend my afternoon in the garden, even though at the start, things didn't bode well.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on September 01, 2010, 11:21:51 AM
Awesome! I had a similar experience with the finale of the 6th - this brief little tune emerged, I think a quote from Sibelius or Tchaikovsky, I cannot recall, but it sounded very familiar. It was so prominent that I mentally pinned down its position in the structure, then kind of worked outward. These little footholds (or musical signposts) are the main method I use to try to come to terms with Bax's larger structures.

I admire how you are diving into one of the toughest composers of this generation. The sound is all there, anybody can hear Bax and understand "here's a guy with things to say, and quite some orchestral mastery", but actually being able to pick through it is another matter. Bax doesn't offer much in the way of help compared to many others somewhat closer to RVW or Britten's ideals of clarity.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Elgarian on September 01, 2010, 12:30:32 PM
These little footholds (or musical signposts) are the main method I use to try to come to terms with Bax's larger structures.
In that final movement - am I imagining those little teasing reminiscences of other English composers, or are they really there? Do you hear those? A touch of nobilmente, a dab of bright and breezy folkiness, a hint of The Planets. They're so fleeting that it could just be me being wishful, but although they only last mere seconds, they seem quite vivid. And more to the point, they make me warm to the man - the acknowledgement of the shared heritage, or something.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on September 01, 2010, 01:03:46 PM
I think that the variations form may have forced him to provide a greater section-by-section contrast than usual. The finale is indeed a remarkable movement, and I think I may get part of what you mean: the loud parts aren't so much elemental brass avalanches, but somewhat more under-control swagger - definitely shades of more conventionally structured music - the planets, Elgar's overtures, etc.

The 7th is his most elusive symphony. Some call it an epilogue or coda, either implying or outright calling it a decline from the previous works. I find it different in how the composer no longer seems to struggle with the music - a struggle culminating in the entire 6th symphony, by which time he may have found some catharsis. The first movement of the 7th is effortless, with that Tintagel-esque introduction, the confident seascape first movement (if the 6th's introduction represents a sea storm as some feel, this could represent the preceding [Edit: I really said that? Make that 'following'] inevitable return to normality). The slow movement is perhaps the easiest of Bax's for me to take due to its proximity between two such lively outer movements. It's wistful, and requires patience, but that is in tune with the rest of the work which sometimes seems to confound even fans of the composer's previous symphonies. With this newfound confidence, and perhaps a retrospective mood of the composer, it makes more sense for the finale to look back not only to the composer's previous music, but maybe the music of his compatriots. This is unsubstantiated, but nice to think.

By the way, an article that may be of more than a little interest to you: Bax & Elgar (http://www.musicweb-international.com/bax/BaxElgar.htm).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: drogulus on September 01, 2010, 01:07:36 PM
Symphony No 5 is my favourite. The most integrated of the seven.

     I'm coming around to this one, though I really like No. 2. All of them are worthwhile, so I'll probably gravitate to each one of them in time.

In that final movement - am I imagining those little teasing reminiscences of other English composers, or are they really there? Do you hear those? A touch of nobilmente, a dab of bright and breezy folkiness, a hint of The Planets. They're so fleeting that it could just be me being wishful, but although they only last mere seconds, they seem quite vivid. And more to the point, they make me warm to the man - the acknowledgement of the shared heritage, or something.

     One of the symphonies has an insanely obvious tribute to Delius. He really nails him, too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 11, 2010, 11:41:12 PM
I've recently been listening to one of my very favourite lesser-known symphonies - Symphony No 1 by the Estonian composer Kaljo Raid - in many instances it reminded me of Bax (as well as the music of his compatriot Tubin, whose 11th Symphony opening movement Raid completed after Tubin's death) - if you like Bax it is well worth hearing this dramatic, memorable and moving symphony (it's on the Chandos label).

Here it is, but you can still find the original Chandos single CD release (Volume 1) inexpensively on Amazon.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on September 12, 2010, 12:42:53 AM
I've recently been listening to one of my very favourite lesser-known symphonies - Symphony No 1 by the Estonian composer Kaljo Raid - in many instances it reminded me of Bax (as well as the music of his compatriot Tubin, whose 11th Symphony opening movement Raid completed after Tubin's death) - if you like Bax it is well worth hearing this dramatic, memorable and moving symphony (it's on the Chandos label).

Here it is, but you can still find the original Chandos single CD release (Volume 1) inexpensively on Amazon.

I own the entire Tubin series with Jarvi on BIS.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: schweitzeralan on September 12, 2010, 07:52:30 AM
I'd like to claim the review as a great literary achivement - but in fact anyone can put a review on the Amazon site! Glad you like Butterworth - me too. It quotes directly from Sibelius' The Tempest, but it all seems integrated and the ending has me on the edge of my seat. Try the Bate if you can.  No 4 not recorded yet,but hopefully Dutton will do it. Do you know Arnell's symphonies on Dutton? Nos 3-5 are superb works - very Baxian/Sibelian/Moerenian etc

Don't yet have anything by Arnell yet but wanted to write and acknowledge to you my interest in Arthur butterworth.  I've come to like very much Butterworth's 4th.  I just bought the B. 5th Symphony.  Love the Sibelian, Baxian language.  The 4th also smacks a little of  Nielson. Very dramatic. The 4th tends to be more ensconced and flavored with color than the 5th; yet both are finely conceived and developed symphonic pleasures.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 12, 2010, 01:17:17 PM
Don't yet have anything by Arnell yet but wanted to write and acknowledge to you my interest in Arthur butterworth.  I've come to like very much Butterworth's 4th.  I just bought the B. 5th Symphony.  Love the Sibelian, Baxian language.  The 4th also smacks a little of  Nielson. Very dramatic. The 4th tends to be more ensconced and flavored with color than the 5th; yet both are finely conceived and developed symphonic pleasures.

Thanks - very much agree with you here. Butterworth's 4th has been a great recent discovery and I am getting into No 5 now.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scarpia on October 09, 2010, 03:07:16 PM
Bax Violin Concerto, a work well worth hearing (the Chandos recording). 

The first movement is a three-part affair, a vigorous overture, followed by a lyrical ballade, ending with a scherzo.  The piece is lacking in violin pyrotechnics, and sometimes the solo instrument seems to be overwhelmed by the orchestral outbursts that come and go, but lots of engaging interplay between soloist and orchestra.   I tend to get a bit lost in the second movement, but the final is somewhat similar to the first movement, in that it alternates vigorous passages.  If the work has a weakness is may be that Bax does not define a unique mood for each movement that contrasts in a recognizable way with the other movements.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on December 08, 2010, 07:47:17 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed the concerto. It's one of those uneasy fringe works - confidently written and with much to say, but as with the Moeran violin concerto (which given how little the Bax is mentioned, consensus seems to mildly prefer) its memorability does not quite match its ambition. I agree that the first movement grabs the attention, then the piece wanes somewhat - but at the same time it's still a substential and mature concerto by a composer who I greatly enjoy and on paper it seems to tick all the boxes. This calls for a shrug emoticon...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brian on December 08, 2010, 10:24:45 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed the concerto. It's one of those uneasy fringe works - confidently written and with much to say, but as with the Moeran violin concerto (which given how little the Bax is mentioned, consensus seems to mildly prefer) its memorability does not quite match its ambition. I agree that the first movement grabs the attention, then the piece wanes somewhat - but at the same time it's still a substential and mature concerto by a composer who I greatly enjoy and on paper it seems to tick all the boxes. This calls for a shrug emoticon...

You're back!!!
Don't think me a creeper but I was really worried about how long we had gone Lethe-free.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 08, 2010, 10:29:48 AM
You're back!!!
Don't think me a creeper but I was really worried about how long we had gone Lethe-free.

And now we can finally clear up the mystery: Lethe: goofy girl or guy in drag?  ;D

Seriously, Sara, welcome back. You've been missed.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SonicMan46 on December 08, 2010, 11:37:42 AM
Hi Sara - glad to see that green status light next to your name!  :D

Glad that you've returned - Dave
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on December 08, 2010, 11:48:10 AM
Danke, all. I don't want to derail this thread too much (any other composer would be fine, but not my beloved Bax) - I can't believe that I am seriously considering skim-reading every page of What Are You Listening To?. Insanity, yes - but what if I miss something important?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Bulldog on December 08, 2010, 11:52:20 AM
Danke, all. I don't want to derail this thread too much (any other composer would be fine, but not my beloved Bax) - I can't believe that I am seriously considering skim-reading every page of What Are You Listening To?. Insanity, yes - but what if I miss something important?

Look at it as all the things you will miss while wasting your time reading every page.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Opus106 on January 09, 2011, 01:39:31 AM
Diverted from the Bug Report thread

Well, the violin sonatas were very nice, more late Romantic than that angular 20th century sort of sound. Some of that, of course, but not like Bloch for example. If you can go one step beyond Dvorak then you can handle Bax easily, and maybe even like him. I don't like symphonies anyway (with some exceptions, of course), so liking or not liking his doesn't matter to me much. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/smiley.gif)

It isn't quite the angular sound* that I found difficult with the work, I simply couldn't see it "going" anywhere. Thanks for the recs. on the chamber music. Will give those a listen.



*Please try to refrain from using the A-word in front the Aton... er, you-know-who, for your own good.  :-\
 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/cheesy.gif)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on January 12, 2011, 03:15:49 AM
It's that lack of traditional structural logic that is the problem most people have with Bax, I think (I also have this problem with some of his pieces). While harmonically he is distinctive, he is by no means difficult in that respect. The usual waypoints are certainly there in his music, but they don't really stand out very strongly, often because his idea of sonata form is often heavily modified (it reminds me of Liszt's sonata in B minor, in that respect), and his colouristic interests sometimes overrule the default classico-Romantic instinct to produce standard segmented and developed sections. Where composers like Brahms might expertly tweak at sonata form, occasionally Bax smears it - but it's certainly still there, and in its own way often quite tightly written.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 27, 2011, 09:36:29 AM
BBC Music Magazine this month (April 2011) has a nice profile of Bax and some CD recommendations.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 06, 2011, 10:02:51 PM
Following the enthusiastic response to my last posting on Bax I thought that I'd include my (current) list of favourite recordings of the Bax symphonies - I'm sure that you'll all agree with my choices.  ;D

Symphony No 1: Myer Fredman LPO (Lyrita)

Symphony No 2: Myer Fredman LPO (Lyrita)

Symphony No 3: Edward Downes LSO (RCA - never issued on CD - a scandal of the first magnitude - a very underrated performance)

Symphony No 4: Bryden Thomson Ulster Orchestra (Chandos - in a class of its own)

Symphony No 5: Raymond Leppard LPO (Lyrita)

Symphony No 6: Norman Del Mar New Philharmonia (Lyrita) - a more difficult choice as Bryden Thomson's Chandos recording and Lloyd-Jones's Naxos version are also excellent.

Symphony No 7: Raymond Leppard LPO (Lyrita - more moving than any other version).

No one will be disappointed with Vernon Handley's excellent Chandos box set but, as with his Vaughan Williams cycle I would not choose any of them as a first choice. Also, Goossen's historical recording of Bax's Symphony No 2 on Dutton is an essential supplement. The Bryden Thomson box set is also IMHO much better than has often been suggested.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on April 06, 2011, 11:49:43 PM
I see you are going with the tried-and-true lot. For me, I'm happy with the Lloyd-Jones set. I bought the Lyrita CD of 1 and 7, but still preferred the Naxos, despite the sound issues. I prefer L-J's straight-ahead approach to Fredman's playing with the tempos, and he seems to me to have digested 7 more fully than Leppard (still not satisfied with the finale though). Bear in mind I haven't listened to that disc for a while.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 09, 2011, 01:40:10 AM
I see you are going with the tried-and-true lot. For me, I'm happy with the Lloyd-Jones set. I bought the Lyrita CD of 1 and 7, but still preferred the Naxos, despite the sound issues. I prefer L-J's straight-ahead approach to Fredman's playing with the tempos, and he seems to me to have digested 7 more fully than Leppard (still not satisfied with the finale though). Bear in mind I haven't listened to that disc for a while.

Thanks - I think that Lloyd-Jones on Naxos is excellent too - in fact Bax is well-served on disc. I have all the Naxos issues and must listen again - I liked No 7 with Tintagel, a great disc. there is also a nice Naxos issue with the lovely Harp Quintet and other chamber works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 14, 2011, 08:06:36 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2011/august-16/50

 :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Daverz on April 14, 2011, 09:51:19 AM
Symphony No 3: Edward Downes LSO (RCA - never issued on CD - a scandal of the first magnitude - a very underrated performance)

Here's a transfer from the Lp:

http://themusicparlour.blogspot.com/2011/03/edward-downes-london-symphony-orchestra.html

I haven't heard it yet.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 14, 2011, 10:54:02 AM
Here's a transfer from the Lp:

http://themusicparlour.blogspot.com/2011/03/edward-downes-london-symphony-orchestra.html (http://themusicparlour.blogspot.com/2011/03/edward-downes-london-symphony-orchestra.html)

I haven't heard it yet.


Terrific site!! And thanks for the link (Jeffrey will undoubtedly come back to you and say he owns that LP...)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 15, 2011, 12:45:17 AM
Here's a transfer from the Lp:

http://themusicparlour.blogspot.com/2011/03/edward-downes-london-symphony-orchestra.html

I haven't heard it yet.

I own that LP  ;D

Thanks very much for the transfer. The accompanying 'The Happy Forest', is also the best perforance of that work - much more dreamlike and 'legendary' in its central episode. Johan will agree  :D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 15, 2011, 12:59:26 AM
I own that LP  ;D

Thanks very much for the transfer. The accompanying 'The Happy Forest', is also the best perforance of that work - much more dreamlike and 'legendary' in its central episode. Johan will agree  :D


Indeed I do.  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Daverz on April 15, 2011, 01:55:40 AM

Terrific site!!

I should warn you that the proprietor of that site, one Frank W. Martin, is a very nasty piece of work.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 15, 2011, 02:18:44 AM
I should warn you that the proprietor of that site, one Frank W. Martin, is a very nasty piece of work.


I'll avoid him, then. But not the uploads.  ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 16, 2011, 03:19:22 PM
Ah ha! After reading these posts I located my old ex library copy of RCA Bax Downes Lp! Not pristine by any means,with some Swansea library scribbles in biro,mainly at the top of each side,but thankfully quite small. The last time I played it I think it skipped a bit,BUT this may have been the cheap Bush record deck which I bought to play my old Lp's & which I have since thrown away.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 16, 2011, 11:51:28 PM
Ah ha! After reading these posts I located my old ex library copy of RCA Bax Downes Lp! Not pristine by any means,with some Swansea library scribbles in biro,mainly at the top of each side,but thankfully quite small. The last time I played it I think it skipped a bit,BUT this may have been the cheap Bush record deck which I bought to play my old Lp's & which I have since thrown away.

I discovered this LP in the Lancaster University library c 1973 - I was constantly sneaking into their listening room to play it along with the MTT DGG recording of Ives's 'Three Paces in New England' - both works made a big impression on me and I went on to collect all the Bax symphonies on LP.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 17, 2011, 03:47:54 AM
My Bax collection began with the Lyrita Lp of Tintagel,The Garden of Fand,Northern Ballad No 1 & Meditarranean conducted by Boult. I think that very striking cover design of that huge wave (I haven't got the Lp anymore,sadly,so I'm relying on memory) DID have something to do with my purchase,though. Sadly, I played it about once or twice then it just stayed in the stack. Then one day my dad brought a friend of his back,a bit drunk & he noticed my Bax Lp & asked me to put it on. He sat there listening to it & going on about how wonderful Bax was (and Moeran). He seemed to think I was a bit of an idiot for not playing it! At any rate,after that visit back it went in the stack!
  A couple of years later I put the Lp on again. Suddenly it all seemed to click! After that I collected all the Chandos Lp's with their lovely & very well chosen (at least I thought) cover photos,but this time I definately wasn't buying them for the photo's. I also bought 'Winter Legends' (I remember Margaret Fingerhut looked rather nice to my adolescent mind!) & the 'Symphonic Variations'. Symphonies 1,2,3, 6 &  'Winter Legends' in particular got played to death. 'Winter Legends' in particular,must be one of my most played records ever! I couldn't believe that such exciting,romantic,emotionally visceral music had never been recorded before. In emotional terms Rachmaninov's Concert works seemed almost repressed in comparison (and yes,I know I'm exaggerating a little here). I still can't why music like this isn't in the repertoire.
  I must buy the new Naxos cd of 'Winter Legends' but it will have to wait for the time being as I'm on A H-H-Hancock style thrift drive!!!
 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on April 17, 2011, 10:02:03 AM
I really need to plan a Bax marathon as it's been quite awhile since I've listened to any of his music. I own all of the Handley, Thomson, and Lloyd-Jones recordings, so I just need to figure out what I want to listen to first. I think I'll listen to this one first:



This whole series is just fantastic, so I probably could start anywhere, but I remember Winter Legends making a strong impact on me.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on April 17, 2011, 05:00:11 PM
And 'Winter Legends' is a piece I still haven't heard. I guess I should remedy that. *goes onto Amazon*
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on April 17, 2011, 10:55:08 PM
It's a force of nature, for sure. I like how a previous member described it as something like 'subtle as a herd of stampeding wooly mammoth' (he wasn't a great fan of Bax's excesses ;D).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on April 17, 2011, 11:48:45 PM
I did a search for "mammoths" and found that post by Kentel. He also described Bax's brass elsewhere as "diplodocus-like" and "elephantine". The whole thing seemed slightly unhinged.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 18, 2011, 01:18:28 AM
My Bax collection began with the Lyrita Lp of Tintagel,The Garden of Fand,Northern Ballad No 1 & Meditarranean conducted by Boult. I think that very striking cover design of that huge wave (I haven't got the Lp anymore,sadly,so I'm relying on memory) DID have something to do with my purchase,though. Sadly, I played it about once or twice then it just stayed in the stack. Then one day my dad brought a friend of his back,a bit drunk & he noticed my Bax Lp & asked me to put it on. He sat there listening to it & going on about how wonderful Bax was (and Moeran). He seemed to think I was a bit of an idiot for not playing it! At any rate,after that visit back it went in the stack!
  A couple of years later I put the Lp on again. Suddenly it all seemed to click! After that I collected all the Chandos Lp's with their lovely & very well chosen (at least I thought) cover photos,but this time I definately wasn't buying them for the photo's. I also bought 'Winter Legends' (I remember Margaret Fingerhut looked rather nice to my adolescent mind!) & the 'Symphonic Variations'. Symphonies 1,2,3, 6 &  'Winter Legends' in particular got played to death. 'Winter Legends' in particular,must be one of my most played records ever! I couldn't believe that such exciting,romantic,emotionally visceral music had never been recorded before. In emotional terms Rachmaninov's Concert works seemed almost repressed in comparison (and yes,I know I'm exaggerating a little here). I still can't why music like this isn't in the repertoire.
  I must buy the new Naxos cd of 'Winter Legends' but it will have to wait for the time being as I'm on A H-H-Hancock style thrift drive!!!
 

That Lyrita LP with the big wave picture was a very early Bax purchase for me too (it is in the attic somewhere), along with another Lyrita LP with a sriking orange cover featuring Boult conducting 'November Woods' and Moeran's 'Sinfonietta' with Holst's 'Fugal Overture'.  I bought the LP for the Moeran but really enjoyed the Bax (although not the Holst). Those LPs had much better cover art than the incredibly drab abstract design - an identical version of which (in a different colour) featured on all the Lyrita LPs of the Bax symphonies.

Hancock's 'The Economy Drive' is another favourite too!



Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 03:22:01 AM
Sometimes cover art does help influence a decision,I suppose. Think of all the additional sales of Bax cd's if a record label were to follow the lead of 'Electric Ladyland' and put naked women on the covers? Of course,Bax being rather fond of the ladies himself,it would't be entirely inappropriate!!!
Being a respectable person I would of course make a suitable complaint to the appropriate department!
  On a more serious note the mid price reissues of Chando's Orchestral Works while cheap and cheerful,I suppose,ARE rather dull to look at,from a purely aesthetic point of view. The original photograph of sweeping ice fields on the front of the original issue of 'Winter Legends' is far racier than the cover art on the re-issue which looks like the top of my old grandmothers christmas cake. If I saw that in a 'record shop' and I hadn't heard of Bax I doubt if I would have taken a second look.
Still,one good thing about the un-starry status of Bryden Thomson's erstwhile reputation is the fact that the original cd's with the more invigorating artwork are cheap enough even for a miser like me!
  As to the aforementioned 'Kentel', I have to say I am deeply hurt by his comments. I have scrutinised the front cover of my Lp copy of 'Winter Legends' with a magnifying class & I am unable to detect a single woolly mammoth,alive or dead. Although it is quite possible that there is one buried beneath the snow somewhere!!!!


Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 04:58:48 AM
I just listened to a clip of the opening to the first movement of the Classico recording by  Bax's Sixth Symphony. Any comments about this? It sounded pretty peculiar to me. For one moment I thought Amazon had got their audio clips mixed up with another composer.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 18, 2011, 05:22:55 AM
I just listened to a clip of the opening to the first movement of the Classico recording by  Bax's Sixth Symphony. Any comments about this? It sounded pretty peculiar to me. For one moment I thought Amazon had got their audio clips mixed up with another composer.

It's part of the opening all right. The Naxos (Lloyd-Jones) and the Chandos (both Thomson and Handley) strike me as better, though...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 05:34:23 AM
It's just the tempi. I better be careful here.....almost a goose step. Very jaunty,perhaps the rest of the performance is better. It's interesting to hear different interpretations & they're aren't that many recordings of Bax's Sixth. The prospect of a German or French or Italian (!) orchestra doing a Bax symphony intrigues me. Bostock is quite a good conductor but judging by reviews I have read he was somewhat let down by his orchestra. At least one good review on Musicweb,though. I do wish some continental orchestra's would take Bostock's lead though.
I might add it to my 'library' though. It doesn't sound THAT bad!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 18, 2011, 06:28:47 AM
A Bax completist owes it to himself to add the Bostock. Four versions (forgot the one on Lyrita) are enough for me!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 06:39:44 AM
You need a modern equivalent of Maurice Abravanel and the Utah orchestra. Or on a more exalted level, Mengelberg. Now that would be interesting? Or even better,Golovanov! Now HE would have made something out of Bax's most temptestuous symphony!
I hear Jarvi is going to be recording the Raff symphonies for Chandos,so there is hope. Previn aroused controversy many years ago by doing a Vaughan Williams cycle so why not a Bax cycle from a European or even American perspective?
If only I had a record label of my own. I understand Ted Heaton started Hyperion on his Kitchen table. Like wise Hugh Hefner began his Playboy empire on a humble photo copier. Likewise,Tesco started operating as a market stall? So all I need to kick start my European Bax cycle is a kitchen table,a photo copier & a market stall. None of which I currently own.
Now where's my shopping list?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 06:48:50 AM
And I like Bostock. He's very adventurous in his tastes & he deserves all the sales he gets.
I'm off to buy it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 07:04:06 AM
Done!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 18, 2011, 07:44:41 AM
I like the Bostock Bax Symphony 6 and 'Tintagel' - no complaints from me. I also like his CD with Malcolm Arnold Symphony No 5, not least, as someone who teaches in a girls' school, for the hilarious suite from 'St Trinians' (original film and not terrible re-make).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 08:14:47 AM
The Malcolm Arnold sounds very tempting. The only one I've ever heard I must admit is the emi of Arnold conducting. I must have borrowed that from my local library quite a few times. The extroadinary mix of popular & classical idioms blew my adolescent mind! EMI should have been begging him to do more.
Glad you like rate the Bostock. That should be £4.76p well spent then.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 08:19:25 AM
You can't beat a bit of Bax like!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 08:26:48 AM
In my ramblings about 'Winter Legends' I forgot to mention the Dutton release of Bax's bit on the side Harriet Cohen. I think I might bung her on later!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 18, 2011, 08:38:10 AM
I think I might bung her on later!

I hope that isn't really as obscene as it sounds.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 08:54:03 AM
I hope it is!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 08:55:13 AM
......if it's ok with the moderator.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 18, 2011, 09:53:46 AM
The Malcolm Arnold sounds very tempting. The only one I've ever heard I must admit is the emi of Arnold conducting. I must have borrowed that from my local library quite a few times. The extroadinary mix of popular & classical idioms blew my adolescent mind! EMI should have been begging him to do more.
Glad you like rate the Bostock. That should be £4.76p well spent then.

My favourite Arnold CD:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Gurn Blanston on April 18, 2011, 11:25:46 AM
......if it's ok with the moderator.

Bung away, laddie. We're amused at colorful colloquialisms in these parts. :D

8)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Gurn Blanston on April 18, 2011, 11:27:05 AM
My favourite Arnold CD:



Shouldn't that be "Bax conducts Bax"?  Or is one of us on the wrong thread, or worse yet, lost at sea? :-\

8)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 18, 2011, 12:22:54 PM
Bax the gatecrasher.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on April 18, 2011, 04:21:52 PM
Arnold was renowned for his bad manners.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2011, 06:15:25 AM
Shouldn't that be "Bax conducts Bax"?  Or is one of us on the wrong thread, or worse yet, lost at sea? :-\

8)

Well - they both have 'Arnold' in their name  ;D

Fair enough - I should have written 'OT'

Now, back to that Sibelius discussion...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 19, 2011, 06:21:40 AM
I hope it is!

 ;D :D ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 19, 2011, 07:42:38 AM
You're grounded for a week young man!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 19, 2011, 11:07:00 AM
I just realised who Harriet Cohen reminds me of. Bob Hope. They've got the same nose!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 19, 2011, 11:16:43 AM
(http://images.wikia.com/muppet/images/5/50/MuppetShow-Gonzo%26BobHope.jpg)



(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UceseJJzMhs/SELYJdNvM6I/AAAAAAAAALU/C0Mk9ChDrJ4/s400/Harriet+Cohen+2.jpg)

Mmm... Perhaps.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 19, 2011, 12:12:34 PM
I knew I was right. I like the photo too. Hope was always a gas in drag.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2011, 09:14:25 PM
I knew I was right. I like the photo too. Hope was always a gas in drag.

 :D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 21, 2011, 06:54:10 AM
The Classico cd of Bax's Sixth symphony arrived today. Contrary to some of the reviews I've read I really enjoyed this interpretation. Once you get used to the quirks in the phrasing & tempi it's an enjoyably bracing performance. And very importantly,it's different. The only disappointment is that if you like this performance you can't hear them do any more. I would have particularly like to see what they could do with the Seventh symphony which is,in my opinion the weakest of the lot,although I love the 'slow movement',(or what passes for it). The fourth is often regarded as the weakest but is actually my favourite because it's unusually out going for Bax and chock full of marvellous ideas. At any rate,a European (or even American) cycle of these underrated symphonies is way,way overdue.
'Tintagel' is apparently regarded as the best performance on the disc. It's very good,but more conventional in approach,which is probably why allot of unadventurous critics preferred it. Having said that,I would definately place it amongst the best that I've heard.
'Overture to Adventure' which I haven't heard before is not regarded as Bax at his best,but I have to say I rather enjoyed it. No 'drumming of fingers' waiting for it to end here!

NB: The booklet notes are in very nice,clear print & are livened up by some very interesting photographs,which help to mark this release out. Judging from one photo in the booklet Bax wasn't that keen on having his photo taken ("Say Cheese!). Also,this cd,from an Amazon seller at £4.97 p&p included) arrived commendably quickly & the booklet,cd & inserts are in top condition.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on May 06, 2011, 10:41:12 AM
[This is a reply to a discussion in the RVW thread (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,220.1620.html), not because that talk was derailing the thread, but because it would be nice to give this one some attention :)]

I do consider the sixth to be his best symphony, although it's difficult to really try to be objective about such maddeningly great/limited music - to be a fan of the composer already requires a leap of faith.

The immediate opening petering out as it does feels to me typically Baxian - it doesn't keep ticking along like a Beethoven symphony, and has its detours, but the way the music is structured I found very powerful in its undulations. The whole first movement (his most formally tight symphonic movement, perhaps) has a great line running through where, for once, Bax's sometimes difficult to contextualise moments of quiet beauty and loud climaxes find a successful method of delivery - they alternate, with the cue for that in place with the opening 'march' element fading out, then returning in different themes.

I think that the first movement could be considered as two-parts - the alternations feeding off the dying energy of the opening in the first half, then that quieter section beyond the middle being interrupted by the outburst at (7:20, 7:32 in Handley), mirroring in a way the moment at 2:15 in which the rumbling momentum is sliced by that thunderclap, reminding you of the turbulent opening before leading towards a more emotionally moderate conclusion. The brass flurries at 9:22 are another example of Bax as a fine writer of tunes* and artfully lead the movement towards a conclusion which Bax's symphonism requires - a somewhat conventional, blazing close. It is at this point that I think that Bax only just escapes failure by the skin of his teeth, but it works because it is so abrupt. If it took any longer, the effect would be lessened.

The rest of the work is difficult for me to criticise. The slow movement is concise and brilliant, with a fine arch. The finale is so Mahlerian in its world-grasping that I can't begin to suggest where it is right or wrong, it's an inspiring journey. I particularly admire its extended periods of gentility, recalling the sunny fifth symphony.

*and a great structuralist - they faintly recall various gestures in the first half - for example, I found that moments such as the chugging woodwind backing to the march at 0:35 (this is potential tin-foil hat time) sort of plant the seed for this moment towards the end, which if you anticipate it arriving really seems to clarify a lot of what the start was working towards. Key is that until that 9:23 moment, I can't recall any so clear of a demarcating gesture, excluding the 2:15 outburst.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 06, 2011, 10:49:22 AM
I'll give the Sixth another listen coming weekend (Lloyd-Jones and Handley). Great post, Sara!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: DavidW on May 06, 2011, 11:17:26 AM
The sixth is my favorite symphony... good post Lethe. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 06, 2011, 01:50:11 PM
I know Handley,amongst others,regarded Bax's Sixth as his best (or greatest?),but until I heard the Classico it was never one of my favourites. Now it is,so thank you to Classico,Bostock & his Munich forces (come on,please do some more!). Pity the Classico series conked out. I was hoping they'd do a Havergal Brian symphony.
Of course,the Classico performance shouldn't really have been the one to convert me. Perhaps they just 'got me' at the right time.
Okay,back to those 'Blossom Dearie' cd's...........
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 06, 2011, 02:02:12 PM
By the way,did someone REALLY mention in the V-W thread that Bax's Second is going to be performed at the Proms or am I just 'seeing things'? I've actually fantasised about Prom performances of this one*, (also the 1st,which is superb,but slightly let down by the finale). That unforgettable opening. (Come to think of it,Bax was a bit of a dab hand at arresting openings)2. I suppose (if it IS true) the Beeb won't be televising that one either. Grrrr!

* You know,with all the audience sitting there.
2 But maybe not such a dab hand with endings!

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 06, 2011, 02:19:44 PM
By the way,did someone REALLY mention in the V-W thread that Bax's Second is going to be performed at the Proms or am I just 'seeing things'? I've actually fantasised about Prom performances of this one*, (also the 1st,which is superb,but slightly let down by the finale). That unforgettable opening. (Come to think of it,Bax was a bit of a dab hand at arresting openings)2. I suppose (if it IS true) the Beeb won't be televising that one either. Grrrr!

* You know,with all the audience sitting there.
2 But maybe not such a dab hand with endings!


http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2011/august-16/50
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 07, 2011, 01:40:12 AM
By the way,did someone REALLY mention in the V-W thread that Bax's Second is going to be performed at the Proms or am I just 'seeing things'? I've actually fantasised about Prom performances of this one*, (also the 1st,which is superb,but slightly let down by the finale). That unforgettable opening. (Come to think of it,Bax was a bit of a dab hand at arresting openings)2. I suppose (if it IS true) the Beeb won't be televising that one either. Grrrr!

* You know,with all the audience sitting there.
2 But maybe not such a dab hand with endings!

Yes, I mentioned it and Johan has provided the link - I hope to be there.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 07, 2011, 01:56:07 AM
Yes, I mentioned it and Johan has provided the link - I hope to be there.


Booking is now open...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 07, 2011, 08:51:55 AM
Thank you. I clicked on the link for the Bax. When I saw that photo it flashed through my mind that I might be on a rather different kind of site ()!,but,yes,that is Bax 2,in there! Well,fancy that! I always thought if there was going to be a Bax at the Proms it should be No 1 or 2,with No 2 as my first choice because of the weak finale of No 1 (but maybe only because the preceding movement is so magnificent).
Brian and Bax at the Proms,though?! What's happening at the Beeb?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 07, 2011, 08:53:36 AM
What next? Bantock? Stanley Bate?!!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 07, 2011, 09:11:20 AM
Thank you. I clicked on the link for the Bax. When I saw that photo it flashed through my mind that I might be on a rather different kind of site ()!,but,yes,that is Bax 2,in there! Well,fancy that! I always thought if there was going to be a Bax at the Proms it should be No 1 or 2,with No 2 as my first choice because of the weak finale of No 1 (but maybe only because the preceding movement is so magnificent).
Brian and Bax at the Proms,though?! What's happening at the Beeb?


I don't find the Finale of No. 1 weak at all, especially not under Thomson.  :o  There are even shades of Brian in the coda, to these ears at least. I think the movement rounds the symphony off in a very satisfying manner...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 07, 2011, 12:35:46 PM
I'm not complaining. It all sounds pretty good to me! I'm always defending the Bax symphonies. I'm just aware of the fact that allot of criticism (not here) gets aimed at his 'final movements & while I'm quite happy with the last movement of Bax's 1st,I do feel that the ending of the Second is more satisfying,which is why I'm glad they picked the second. I feel the nit picking critics will have less to moan about,and concert performances of Bax's symphonies need all the encouragement they can get.  At the same time the first two movements are so good I do feel the inspiration dips a little afterwards,but not so much because Bax is getting short of good ideas,but because the first two movements are so shattering in their intensity. When I 'listen' to the symphony in my head,it's always the first two movements that I tend to 'replay'.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 07, 2011, 12:58:40 PM
I'm not complaining. It all sounds pretty good to me! I'm always defending the Bax symphonies. I'm just aware of the fact that allot of criticism (not here) gets aimed at his 'final movements & while I'm quite happy with the last movement of Bax's 1st,I do feel that the ending of the Second is more satisfying,which is why I'm glad they picked the second. I feel the nit picking critics will have less to moan about,and concert performances of Bax's symphonies need all the encouragement they can get.  At the same time the first two movements are so good I do feel the inspiration dips a little afterwards,but not so much because Bax is getting short of good ideas,but because the first two movements are so shattering in their intensity. When I 'listen' to the symphony in my head,it's always the first two movements that I tend to 'replay'.


Oh, but I agree - the greatest weight is in the first two movements. The last movement is more in the spirit of 'Let festivities commence!'
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 07, 2011, 01:52:03 PM
Yes,it's like a well earned release.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 07, 2011, 03:12:01 PM
Thank you. I clicked on the link for the Bax. When I saw that photo it flashed through my mind that I might be on a rather different kind of site ()!,but,yes,that is Bax 2,in there! Well,fancy that! I always thought if there was going to be a Bax at the Proms it should be No 1 or 2,with No 2 as my first choice because of the weak finale of No 1 (but maybe only because the preceding movement is so magnificent).
Brian and Bax at the Proms,though?! What's happening at the Beeb?

I was there in 1984 when Bax's 5th Symphony was performed at the Proms (Raymond Leppard) - that was the last time a Bax symphony was performed there I suspect.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 07, 2011, 11:33:21 PM
Just ordered some tickets for Bax's Second Symphony at the Proms on 16th August - very pleased about that. I bought the cheapest at £7.50 and there seem to be lots of seats available. Only 11 people in the online queue when I checked this morning.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 07, 2011, 11:35:35 PM
What next? Bantock? Stanley Bate?!!!

Well, I heard the Moeran Symphony at the Proms last year!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 07, 2011, 11:51:19 PM
Just ordered some tickets for Bax's Second Symphony at the Proms on 16th August - very pleased about that. I bought the cheapest at £7.50 and there seem to be lots of seats available. Onl 11 people in the online queue when I checked this mornig.


If I didn't live so far away, I'd pay London a second visit. I'll make do with listening live online...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: snyprrr on May 10, 2011, 07:35:01 PM
Is there a Bax work that sounds like Faure?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on May 10, 2011, 08:17:41 PM
Is there a Bax work that sounds like Faure?

Not that I have encountered - his French influence comes mainly from Debussy, and primarily only in a harmonic sense.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on August 03, 2011, 05:51:43 AM
Don't know if this has been linked here yet:

Vernon Handley rehearsing "The Garden of Fand"

http://www.youtube.com/v/KxL5kkkhEwQ
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 03, 2011, 07:12:55 AM
We want Bryden Thomson!!!!!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on August 03, 2011, 08:12:19 AM
We want Bryden Thomson!!!!!!

Another Bax advocate no longer with us :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 03, 2011, 12:17:34 PM
Indeed! Gone before his time,alas. Actually, I was alluding to the fact that his Bax cycle has a few admirers here. A light hearted post,that's all! Regarding this video. You don't get much chance to watch Bax being conducted,do you? I don't suppose the BBC will be televising the upcoming Prom of Bax 2? I hope I'm wrong. Even VW hasn't had the video treatment much.Although I noticed that a dvd of Boult conducting his Symphony No 8 & Job has come out. If it get's good reviews I might get that! Some more dvd's of off the beaten track repertory of composers like Bax,would be very interesting indeed. Maybe it will happen one day!
Of course they wouldn't make much dosh would they?
 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 03, 2011, 12:19:56 PM
I am really looking forward to attending the Prom concert featuring Bax's Second Symphony on 16th of August.  This is my second Prom this year after the momentous 'Gothic Symphony' - what a year!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 03, 2011, 12:47:30 PM
Yes,it won't be long now. Hopefully,the critics won't moan too much. My cassette deck will be at the ready for the live show! A cd burn will follow*. I wonder how it will compare with some of the available performances? Litton's got a good track record with the critics,but he's not known for conducting Bax,as far as I know? Still with recordings of Ives and Walton on his cv,this should be very interesting!!!!!

NB This post prompted me to buy the Dutton cd of Goossens performance which is
     currently on offer. The sound isn't very good,apparently,but it should be useful.

*not from THE tape I hasten to add.
     
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 03, 2011, 01:00:47 PM
Yes,it won't be long now. Hopefully,the critics won't moan too much. My cassette deck will be at the ready for the live show! A cd burn will follow*. I wonder how it will compare with some of the available performances? Litton's got a good track record with the critics,but he's not known for conducting Bax,as far as I know? Still with recordings of Ives and Walton on his cv,this should be very interesting!!!!!

NB This post prompted me to buy the Dutton cd of Goossens performance which is
     currently on offer. The sound isn't very good,apparently,but it should be useful.

*not from THE tape I hasten to add.
   

The Goossens is a fine performance and you get the excellent premiere recording of Tintagel thrown in too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 03, 2011, 01:35:24 PM
Good. It seems an appropriate purchase! My ears have been 'trained' through listening to my collection of early acoustic and electrical recordings,and various 'off air' tapes & downloads,so I should be able to listen through the poor sound quality alluded to in the Musicweb review.
This will go well with my Dutton cd of Harriet Cohen playing Winter Legends,which I must try and locate (it's in a box somewhere).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on August 04, 2011, 09:35:29 AM
Indeed! Gone before his time,alas. Actually, I was alluding to the fact that his Bax cycle has a few admirers here. A light hearted post,that's all! Regarding this video. You don't get much chance to watch Bax being conducted,do you? I don't


I know :) and no, you don't get much depth from the video, but still, any video about Bax is most welcome. A woefully under-appreciated composer, but then again, we've had three symphony cycles and many other works made available in great recordings in recent years, so all is not lost.

Quote
suppose the BBC will be televising the upcoming Prom of Bax 2? I hope I'm wrong. Even VW hasn't had the video treatment much.Although I noticed that a dvd of Boult conducting his Symphony No 8 & Job has come out. If it get's good reviews I might get that! Some more dvd's of off the beaten track repertory of composers like Bax,would be very interesting indeed. Maybe it will happen one day!
Of course they wouldn't make much dosh would they?
 

Bax on TV or DVD...what a cool thing that would be! Especially Symphony No. 2, one of my favorites.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 04, 2011, 10:00:28 AM
And I know I'm probably in a minority here,but I'd be the first in the 'queue' for a dvd of Winter Legends,especially with Margaret Fingerhut. I'd love to hear her have another go at the score in a less 'boomy' acoustic.
Although Ashley Wass will do! Or someone just as good.
I LOVE the score!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Grazioso on August 04, 2011, 11:43:07 AM
Anyone read any of Bax's literary works? Worth seeking out?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 04, 2011, 12:11:37 PM
A very interesting question. Anyone here READ Bax?!!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on August 04, 2011, 03:00:57 PM
Is there a Bax work that sounds like Faure?

His Variations on the name 'Gabriel Faure' for string orchestra and harp  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on August 04, 2011, 03:06:51 PM
I certainly don't think anybody could claim that Bax had not been treated pretty well in recent times by the record companies. I have just counted 31 cds on my shelves of Bax orchestral and choral music plus almost another 10 LPs....I am not even a great Bax fan :D  Symphonic cycles by Thomson, Handley, Lloyd-Jones plus the Lyrita symphonies.
All manner of pieces orchestrated, realised or completed by Graham Parlett.


...but where is the Rhapsody for viola and orchestra??
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on August 04, 2011, 03:27:39 PM
Don't know if this has been linked here yet:

Vernon Handley rehearsing "The Garden of Fand"

http://www.youtube.com/v/KxL5kkkhEwQ

Interesting video. Nice to see Handley again when in good health. It's so sad that he suffered such serious health problems over the years.

Reminds one too just how much a disciple of Sir Adrian Boult he was.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 04, 2011, 10:56:14 PM
Very nice clip of Handley rehearsing Bax - he seems to have a very nice way with the orchestra - no Fritz Reiner type 'Reign of Terror' there.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on August 09, 2011, 05:33:21 PM
I've been getting back into Bax again and I have to say I'm glad I am, because his music is so gorgeous and yet it can be very passionate and fiery as well. I'm making my way through the orchestral series on Chandos (w/ Thomson or Handley conducting), then I'm going to go through the symphonies again, but this time with Thomson instead of Handley.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2011, 10:45:54 PM
I've been getting back into Bax again and I have to say I'm glad I am, because his music is so gorgeous and yet it can be very passionate and fiery as well. I'm making my way through the orchestral series on Chandos (w/ Thomson or Handley conducting), then I'm going to go through the symphonies again, but this time with Thomson instead of Handley.

The CD with Christmas Eve and Nympholept etc on is my favourite in that series.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lethevich on August 10, 2011, 03:15:09 AM
The CD with Christmas Eve and Nympholept etc on is my favourite in that series.

Yes! The best :3
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on August 10, 2011, 05:21:06 PM
The CD with Christmas Eve and Nympholept etc on is my favourite in that series.

Yes, it's excellent, Jeffery.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 16, 2011, 08:37:13 AM
Well.it's never going to get as much attention as Brian's 'Gothic',but this IS the big night for Bax enthusiasts! Needless to say,my Dolby cassette deck is at the ready & I've finally got the recording level sorted out so I'm really looking forward to this. Hopefully a cd-r (not from the tape!!) and an upload,from someone,(?) will follow. Bax's No 2 is one of my personal favourites & I am actually glad they chose this one instead of No 6! (Not that I don't like that one of course). No doubt the critics will have a field day afterwards,but what ever Bax's supposed faults (as a symphonist) I still think No 2 packs a powerful punch. It also has one of his most memorable openings.
Bax haters/sceptics,you have been yawned.....I mean,warned!!!

NB: Let's just hope I've got the right day!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 16, 2011, 09:25:54 AM
It's rolling! Sounds good to me!!! Of course,the real excitement will be hearing what those who are actually THERE will have to say. I believe 'Vandermolen' (Jeffrey,NOT Jeffery!) is one of the lucky ones..... & maybe some other GMG'ers?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 16, 2011, 10:56:57 AM
I'll have to "listen again"... I forgot about it!  :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 16, 2011, 03:46:23 PM
Well, I have just returned from what was actually the first performance ever of Bax's 2nd Symphony at the Proms! (the only one of the symphonies never to have been heard there before).  I was also there when the last Bax Symphony, No 5, was played at the Proms (in 1984) in front of what tonight's programe notes described as a 'regrettably small audience' - true, on that occasion the Albert Hall was half empty.  Tonight, I'm pleased to say it was almost full. For me this was a great occasion - to hear a Bax Symphony (and one of the best ones) live. Andrew Litton gave a fine performance with the RPO.  The opening movement was slower than usual, and the second movement suitably 'legendary' - the organ entry of the last movement was spectacular and finally...'the music collapses, defeated, and this great symphonic utterance ends as it began: in darkness and uncertainty'. (Andrew Achenbach - from the programme notes). Certainly, the sense of looming catastrophe, which pervades this work, was fully conveyed in this performance and I am so happy to have been there (am now playing my Goossens CD of the work in celebration).

No, it was not such an epic occasion as Havergal Brian's 'Gothic' Proms premiere (how could it be?) but I would not have missed it. I also heard two American classics, Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and Barber's Adagio for Strings (first Barber I have heard live I think) - also a fine performance of Bartok's Second Piano Concerto (Yuja Wang) and Prokofiev's Symphony No 4 - but for me, it was the Bax that I shall remember (my daughter enjoyed it too!).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 16, 2011, 11:52:31 PM
Thanks for this, Jeffrey! I am sorry I couldn't be there, both Bax' Second and Prokofiev's Fourth are firm favourites (I prefer the original version of the latter work, btw). It must have been a very special occasion. A pity that such a stirring piece as Bax' Second should be a rarity in the concert-hall. Even worse: it's a shame Bax is such a rarity there!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 17, 2011, 03:26:45 AM
Thanks for this, Jeffrey! I am sorry I couldn't be there, both Bax' Second and Prokofiev's Fourth are firm favourites (I prefer the original version of the latter work, btw). It must have been a very special occasion. A pity that such a stirring piece as Bax' Second should be a rarity in the concert-hall. Even worse: it's a shame Bax is such a rarity there!

Thank you Johan - I totally agree. I must hear the original version of the Prokofiev.  At least there was a big audience to hear the Bax this time. I'd love to hear Symphony No 3 live too one day.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 18, 2011, 03:03:24 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed the concert! Actually,I think actually hearing a Bax symphony at a Prom concert was just as exciting as hearing the Brian,in it's own way. 'Elemental' is a word that,for me,really describes Bax's music at it's best. There's a power there compensates for any shortcomings Bax may have (supposedly) as a symphonist. It really is music from the heart and a composer who feels at one with nature.
  I rarther liked Rob Cowan's observations,after the performance,about Bax being a composer of the moment. Certainly,judging by some of the books,tv programmes and movies around at the moment,Bax's romantic/ legendary inspirations are in tune with the kind of escapism that people seek these days from the monotone drudgery of post credit crunch life. Having said that,Bax isn't exactly 'Game of Thrones' or Britains answer to 'Ilya Murometz',but his brand of 'brazen romanticism' is possibly more appealing now than it appeared during the 50's and 60's,when Bax's popularity was at it's lowest ebb.
As to the remaining Bax symphonies,I must say Bax's first is at the top of my list. That opening just grabs you. Personally,I think it's one of the best openings to any British symphony. But that's just me!
A symphonic obscurity,also from Britain,that might be fun to hear at a Prom. Cyril Scott's Third Symphony. This really was a bit of a suprise when it came out on cd & got a lot of enthusiastic reviews,even from the usually 'sniffy' newspaper critics. I wonder what a Prom audience would make of it?
Anyway......I digress! Regarding the Goossens recording of Bax's Second. This is a tremendous performance. As to the poor sound quality referred to on Musicweb. It's really not that bad considering. For historic recordings with really abominable sound,the Talich recordings of Dvorak's symphonic poems on Supraphon,REALLY take the ticket. A few bars in and off they went!!! (A marvellous conductor,though).
Incidentally,my current underrated favourite for Dvorak's gruesome foursome is Vaclav Neumann on Supraphon. Wonderful. If I'd had the Lp when I was a teenager I'd have worn it out!
Finally,Prokofiev's Fourth. I had never heard it,so I decided to record it. To use very un-technical language,'What a cracker'! I REALLY enjoyed it. Can anyone here recommend a 'best' recording?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 18, 2011, 05:24:40 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed the concert! Actually,I think actually hearing a Bax symphony at a Prom concert was just as exciting as hearing the Brian,in it's own way. 'Elemental' is a word that,for me,really describes Bax's music at it's best. There's a power there compensates for any shortcomings Bax may have (supposedly) as a symphonist. It really is music from the heart and a composer who feels at one with nature.
  I rarther liked Rob Cowan's observations,after the performance,about Bax being a composer of the moment. Certainly,judging by some of the books,tv programmes and movies around at the moment,Bax's romantic/ legendary inspirations are in tune with the kind of escapism that people seek these days from the monotone drudgery of post credit crunch life. Having said that,Bax isn't exactly 'Game of Thrones' or Britains answer to 'Ilya Murometz',but his brand of 'brazen romanticism' is possibly more appealing now than it appeared during the 50's and 60's,when Bax's popularity was at it's lowest ebb.
As to the remaining Bax symphonies,I must say Bax's first is at the top of my list. That opening just grabs you. Personally,I think it's one of the best openings to any British symphony. But that's just me!
A symphonic obscurity,also from Britain,that might be fun to hear at a Prom. Cyril Scott's Third Symphony. This really was a bit of a suprise when it came out on cd & got a lot of enthusiastic reviews,even from the usually 'sniffy' newspaper critics. I wonder what a Prom audience would make of it?
Anyway......I digress! Regarding the Goossens recording of Bax's Second. This is a tremendous performance. As to the poor sound quality referred to on Musicweb. It's really not that bad considering. For historic recordings with really abominable sound,the Talich recordings of Dvorak's symphonic poems on Supraphon,REALLY take the ticket. A few bars in and off they went!!! (A marvellous conductor,though).
Incidentally,my current underrated favourite for Dvorak's gruesome foursome is Vaclav Neumann on Supraphon. Wonderful. If I'd had the Lp when I was a teenager I'd have worn it out!
Finally,Prokofiev's Fourth. I had never heard it,so I decided to record it. To use very un-technical language,'What a cracker'! I REALLY enjoyed it. Can anyone here recommend a 'best' recording?

Great post. Were you at the Prom concert?  If so I'm sorry not to have met you.  I've heard Ilya Murometz live too! (Barbican) - what an experience. I like Scott's music, especially 'Neptune' and the Piano Concerto No 1 - especially the John Ogdon/Bernard Herrmann version (what a combination!)

I may have to listen to Bax Symphony No 1 tonight.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 18, 2011, 05:26:49 AM
Finally,Prokofiev's Fourth. I had never heard it,so I decided to record it. To use very un-technical language,'What a cracker'! I REALLY enjoyed it. Can anyone here recommend a 'best' recording?
Is is legal to recommend Prokofiev in a Bax thread?!?!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 18, 2011, 05:31:59 AM

 Is is legal to recommend Prokofiev in a Bax thread?!?!

 
 Bax loved Russian music, I think his shade won't disapprove... My favourite is Järvi on Chandos, and the original version. But Hattoff is the Prokofiev expert...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 18, 2011, 12:55:29 PM
Oops! But Bax did have a thing for Russian ladies didn't he? And there was that ballet? And there are Russian influences there. And....and....the beginning of Winter Legends is a bit Prokofeian? )That's enough 'ands',but it's late at night and I had a drink down the old boozer!)
Jarvi sounds good to me. Incidentally,Prokofiev is always treated like a bit of a 'weeny' when it comes to Symphonies.
Fascinating to hear the same conductor and orchestra play Bax AND Prokofiev. I only hope Litton can be persuaded to perform more Bax. Now that Handley has gone maybe Litton is the man?
Even the usually annoying Andrew Clements (Guardian) was FAIRLY polite.

Anyone for a glass of  vodka?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 18, 2011, 01:04:10 PM
Anyone for a glass of  vodka?

No, but I'll have a dram of Ardbeg while planning a Bax 2/Prokofiev4 listen tomorrow.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 18, 2011, 01:11:17 PM
....(my daughter enjoyed it too!).

The best part of your review. So nice to be able to share that kind of experience with those we love.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on August 18, 2011, 04:00:03 PM
Oops! But Bax did have a thing for Russian ladies didn't he? And there was that ballet? And there are Russian influences there. And....and....the beginning of Winter Legends is a bit Prokofeian? )That's enough 'ands',but it's late at night and I had a drink down the old boozer!)
Jarvi sounds good to me. Incidentally,Prokofiev is always treated like a bit of a 'weeny' when it comes to Symphonies.

Both Bax and Prokofiev were fans of Scriabin; so there's that. (Listen to Prok's early tone poems Dreams and Autumnal Sketch for e.g.)

My favourite recording of Prok's 4th (revised) is the Kuchar, which is accompanied on disc by the Prodigal Son ballet from which it was derived. For Prokofiev, I generally prefer Russian conductors and/or orchestras: Malko, Rozhdestvensky, Temirkanov, Kuchar (not technically Russian, but Ukrainian orchestra).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 20, 2011, 02:06:59 AM
Thank you for all your recommendations.
I really should have a look at the Profiev thread now,shouldn't I? (Actually,the Jarvi cycle would be a nice box set)
Scott was labelled the English Debussy of course,as everyone here knows. I recently heard the excerpts from his opera 'The Alchemist' broadcast on R3 some years ago & was suprised by the vigour of the score! I would love to hear more. It would be great if Chandos were to show an interest. The 'Harpsichord Concerto'* is another one I'd like to hear. Maybe Dutton will come up trumps?
Anyway,back to Bax!

*According to the Cyril Scott website this has been recorded by the Malta Philharmonic & was due for release by Cameo Classics.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 20, 2011, 02:11:02 AM
Regarding the Bax Piano Sonatas. I presume the recent Ashley Wass recordings are the favourites here,but does anyone here prefer the earlier recordings on Lyrita or Chandos?
 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 20, 2011, 11:28:26 PM
The best part of your review. So nice to be able to share that kind of experience with those we love.

Sarge

Yes, very true - although I think that she also came for the free meal at the restaurant before hand  :D

Actually, she liked the Bartok.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Daverz on October 18, 2011, 12:26:07 AM
I should warn you that the proprietor of that site, one Frank W. Martin, is a very nasty piece of work.

My warning came to Mr. Martin's attention, and he writes me:

Quote
And you, 'Dave Cook' , AKA 'Daverz' are a ****.
Stay away from my blogs...

Where **** rhymes with Mozart's K458 Quartet.  So I guess I was wrong about him.  And who knew that someone would be as protective of their blog as they might be of their comely 16-year old daughter.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on October 30, 2011, 12:03:02 PM
Has anyone heard the Mark Elder recording of Spring Fire? I wasn't aware there was a 2nd recording of this...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CPwDzmf1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 04, 2012, 01:41:56 AM
I have been listening to Bax's 4th Symphony - a great performance by Bryden Thomson and the Ulster SO (pity the rest of the cycle wasn't with them) with an equally impressive 'Tintagel'. The 4th is usually seen as the weakest of the 7 and most diffuse - but I am very fond of it and play it more than the others, much as I love nos 3 and 5.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on February 04, 2012, 02:48:41 AM
I have been listening to Bax's 4th Symphony - a great performance by Bryden Thomson and the Ulster SO (pity the rest of the cycle wasn't with them) with an equally impressive 'Tintagel'. The 4th is usually seen as the weakest of the 7 and most diffuse - but I am very fond of it and play it more than the others, much as I love nos 3 and 5.

A strange work. The first time i heard it, I considered it his weakest by far. But upon repeated listens I have started to enjoy it much more and my mind doesnt wander off so much, although I keep preferring the other ones. I've only heard the Handley recording though...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 04, 2012, 05:15:39 AM
A strange work. The first time i heard it, I considered it his weakest by far. But upon repeated listens I have started to enjoy it much more and my mind doesnt wander off so much, although I keep preferring the other ones. I've only heard the Handley recording though...

There are actually two Handley versions. Try the Thomson if you get the chance.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on February 04, 2012, 06:16:22 AM
I may just do that! I have some of Bax's other orchestral works by Thomson which i enjoy a lot.
I understand the Lyrita recordings of the symphonies are also highly regarded, but there is no No.4, correct?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on February 04, 2012, 08:42:50 AM
Not as far as I know! Funnily enough,it's my favourite! :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 05, 2012, 08:38:46 AM
I may just do that! I have some of Bax's other orchestral works by Thomson which i enjoy a lot.
I understand the Lyrita recordings of the symphonies are also highly regarded, but there is no No.4, correct?

No 3 or 4 as there were already LP recordings of those when the Lyrita series first came out.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 13, 2012, 02:26:23 PM
Frederic Austin (1872-1952) was a friend of Bax and his 1934 'The Sea Venturers' is very much in the spirit of Bax, as is the earlier Symphony of 1913. In fact I enjoyed every work on the new Dutton CD featuring Frederic Austin's music.
(having trouble posting the image from Amazon)

Here's the link anyway:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frederic-Austin-Symphony-Venturers-Rhapsody/dp/B007FOYFDC/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1331677675&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: eyeresist on March 14, 2012, 05:03:41 PM
Very interesting, though sometimes I must wonder if the number of unheard composers is in fact infinite!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on March 14, 2012, 05:18:49 PM
Very interesting, though sometimes I must wonder if the number of unheard composers is in fact infinite!
Yes,anyone for some Gaze Cooper?!!! ;D
And he's just the thin edge of the wedge!!! :o
This reminds me of some critic [?] (can't remember who) describing Havergal Brian as "the most overrated underrated,least neglected neglected composer of all time". Or something along those lines (I'm not Mr Memory & I didn't copy it down!).
I like Brian & Bax,incidentally! And I'm not,in any way, suggesting I agree with that 'critic'!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Dundonnell on March 14, 2012, 06:44:42 PM
Yes,anyone for some Gaze Cooper?!!! ;D
And he's just the thin edge of the wedge!!! :o
This reminds me of some critic [?] (can't remember who) describing Havergal Brian as "the most overrated underrated,least neglected neglected composer of all time". Or something along those lines (I'm not Mr Memory & I didn't copy it down!).
I like Brian & Bax,incidentally! And I'm not,in any way, suggesting I agree with that 'critic'!

It is very hard to judge on the basis of hearing only two pieces of music by Gaze Cooper, both in amateur performances and poorly recorded.

I hope that I am not offending anyone here by saying that his music sounds quite appalling, amateurish drivel, in fact :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on March 15, 2012, 05:29:58 AM
I am deeply upset!!! ;D Actually,I have heard some archive recordings & to be fair they were extremely amateur & poorly recorded,to put it mildly,so I will give the bloke the benefit of the doubt......for now!!!! But some reports I have come across are decidedly less than encouraging! The fact is,some neglected composers are probably just c***! (Still,maybe he had other talents? Teaching was one,apparently.....or,cooking?!! ;D)  Regarding 'unheard composers', 'eyeresist' makes a valid point. Bax,Bantock,Brian and even Holbrooke,are all reasonably well known to British music lovers,even if they are only names,to some. If you read books & magazines about such music you will have glimpsed their names. But then there are obviously other composers who,by comparison,would make the above mentioned composers look like mainstream composers!
 Of course,I'm trying to think of an example,but their names elude me! ;D

As to Gaze Cooper.Look out! Drivel,or not. A complete recorded cycle could be on the cards within the next five ten years,the way things are going! ;D Our bookshelves could be literally groaning with his drivel & he wrote quite allot!!! There could even be a Gaze Cooper thread here with two posts!
Great name,though,even if it was an affectation! ;D

Okay,back to Bax!

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 27, 2012, 09:21:33 AM

The next work on the disc is The Happy Forest...

I feel vindicated in feeling for more than three decades that Downes really did The Happy Forest proud...

Totally agree with you. Interesting that a Musicweb reviewer mentioned a possible reissue of the Downes (would be great) as the Music web put in a disclaimer after I had reported back what Caracacus Downes (maybe a relative of Edward's  ;D)had said about tentative negotiations for a reissue (see Music web bulletin board).

I'm reading the entire Bax thread again. The symphonies are finally working for me (at least 2 and 6 so far) so I was curious about favored versions. So, it's now four years later; was the Downes Third/Happy Forest ever reissued?

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 27, 2012, 10:49:42 AM
I'm reading the entire Bax thread again. The symphonies are finally working for me (at least 2 and 6 so far) so I was curious about favored versions. So, it's now four years later; was the Downes Third/Happy Forest ever reissued?

Sarge

No and it's a disgrace that RCA never issued it on CD  >:( In my view it's the best performance of both The Happy Forest and The Symphony.

RCA never issued Morton Gould's great version of Miaskovsky's Symphony 21 either (commissioned for the Chicago SO during the war - they perform it on the CD with Rimsky Korsakov's 'Antar' - both wonderful performances). Tjeknavorian's recording of Khachaturian's Symphony No 1 with the LSO was also never issued on CD by RCA. It was much better than the version on an ASV CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 27, 2012, 01:57:18 PM
Quote from: vandermolen on Today at 19:49:42 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=315.msg614923#msg614923)
No and it's a disgrace that RCA never issued it on CD  >:( In my view it's the best performance of both The Happy Forest and The Symphony.



Yep.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2012, 12:51:05 AM
Have been greatly enjoying Bax's 'Christmas Eve' or 'Christmas Eve in the Mountains' - a work I find very powerful and moving. Bax apparently uses the traditional plainchant of the Credo which R Strauss used in Thus Spake Zarathustra. Personally I much prefer Bax to Richard Strauss though.  Bryden Thomson's great LPO recording on Chandos is available in various combinations. There is a great CD with Nympholept on too - actually my favourite BAX CD, even though the works are unfamiliar.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on September 23, 2012, 04:16:32 AM
No and it's a disgrace that RCA never issued it on CD  >:( In my view it's the best performance of both The Happy Forest and The Symphony.

RCA never issued Morton Gould's great version of Miaskovsky's Symphony 21 either (commissioned for the Chicago SO during the war - they perform it on the CD with Rimsky Korsakov's 'Antar' - both wonderful performances). Tjeknavorian's recording of Khachaturian's Symphony No 1 with the LSO was also never issued on CD by RCA. It was much better than the version on an ASV CD.
They're reissue policy is awful! I remember they took years to release their 'complete' Tjeknavorian recording of 'Gayne' (the spelling on the cd!). Ok! I know it's not really 'complete' & there are authenticity issues,but the playing was fantastic & as a youngster this was one of my most played Lp sets. Meanwhile,the RCA First Symphony languishes in their vaults.
The ASV got praised at the time. I remember when I eventually got it,feeling it was a big disappointment. There simply is no comparison! Simple as that!

Still,things do get released eventually. Melodiya have recently treated Svetlanov's marvellous 'Lyadov' recordings to their first ever cd release. Online reviews are already praising it right up to the hilt!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on September 23, 2012, 04:22:07 AM
Off topic a bit,but I wish Downes could have done a bit more Bax. I rather like his performances of Bax & Bantock on the short lived BBC Radio Classics label. He also did a lovely recording of Boughton's gorgeous Second Symphony 'Deirdre' (also on BBCRC).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2012, 04:32:53 AM
Off topic a bit,but I wish Downes could have done a bit more Bax. I rather like his performances of Bax & Bantock on the short lived BBC Radio Classics label. He also did a lovely recording of Boughton's gorgeous Second Symphony 'Deirdre' (also on BBCRC).

Yes, I agree about Downes. That was one of my favourite BBC Radio Classics CDs as I especially liked Downes's performance of Bantock's 'Pagan Symphony.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 23, 2012, 05:12:15 AM
Although I haven't been very familiar with his music yet, there are four Bax's compositions I absolutely love: Tintagel, A Legend, Symphonic Variations and November Woods; the last one particularly impressed me with its beautiful, haunting melodies (there Bax seems to merge the influences of Wagner, Debussy and Sibelius; absolutely brilliant).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on September 23, 2012, 06:23:02 AM
Yes, I agree about Downes. That was one of my favourite BBC Radio Classics CDs as I especially liked Downes's performance of Bantock's 'Pagan Symphony.
So did I actually! :) Also,the Bax & Bantock chosen for the release,seemed to go very well with each other.The Hyperion cd had 'Fifine at the Fair;not one of my favourite Bantock inspirations (I think I preferred the Beechan,in a way! :o :) ) & Bantock's Pagan Symphony seemed to lead on very nicely from Bax's Northern Ballads (on the BBCRC cd). All three share what you might call a 'legendary' atmosphere,even if Bantock's inspiration is,at times,a little more perfumed & from warmer climes.

And yes,Lisztianwagner,I agree.At his best Bax's music is brilliantly individual. I only wish the concert promoters could get to see it our way! :( The reviews I saw for the Bax 2 Prom were pretty good though,overall!

Of course,this is the Khatchaturian thread! ??? :o ;D
 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2012, 07:54:02 AM
So did I actually! :) Also,the Bax & Bantock chosen for the release,seemed to go very well with each other.The Hyperion cd had 'Fifine at the Fair;not one of my favourite Bantock inspirations (I think I preferred the Beechan,in a way! :o :) ) & Bantock's Pagan Symphony seemed to lead on very nicely from Bax's Northern Ballads (on the BBCRC cd). All three share what you might call a 'legendary' atmosphere,even if Bantock's inspiration is,at times,a little more perfumed & from warmer climes.

And yes,Lisztianwagner,I agree.At his best Bax's music is brilliantly individual. I only wish the concert promoters could get to see it our way! :( The reviews I saw for the Bax 2 Prom were pretty good though,overall!

Of course,this is the Khatchaturian thread! ??? :o ;D

I was lucky to be at the Bax (Symphony No 2) concert which was great. Agree about your 'legendary' comments re Bantock/Bax. Am not too keen on Fifine either although it has some nice sections.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 24, 2013, 11:32:20 AM
I've been on a couple of Bax pilgrimages in recent years, to Glencolumbkille in Donegal county northwest Ireland, and to Morar in west Scotland. He travelled annually in the summer or winter to these for about two and a half and one decade up to the war. Hey I've also been to Moscow and St Petersburg where he lived for a year, and I used to live in East Sussex, next to West where he was in later years.

This is the house he used, near the sea at Glencolumbkille- I walked 25km to get here instead of waiting for the evening bus!

(http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m71/SeanMcHugh02/Ireland/P1050049.jpg) (http://s101.photobucket.com/user/SeanMcHugh02/media/Ireland/P1050049.jpg.html)

Unfortunately this is the only photo of mine here but it's an evocative place, a vast bowl of a valley of rugged rocks by a gentle coastal inlet which at times also sees some extreme conditions; it has phallical stone imagery around from 6th century St Columba's day, or before, I'm not sure- the place has been used for many thousands of years...

This is the Station Hotel in little Morar town, next to a little railway station; it was renamed Morar Hotel some years ago.

(http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m71/SeanMcHugh02/Scotland/102_1289.jpg) (http://s101.photobucket.com/user/SeanMcHugh02/media/Scotland/102_1289.jpg.html)

The lobby
(http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m71/SeanMcHugh02/Scotland/102_1290.jpg) (http://s101.photobucket.com/user/SeanMcHugh02/media/Scotland/102_1290.jpg.html)

Typical nearby scenery
(http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m71/SeanMcHugh02/Scotland/102_1294.jpg) (http://s101.photobucket.com/user/SeanMcHugh02/media/Scotland/102_1294.jpg.html)

From Wiki

Glencolumbkille map
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/53/Ireland_location_map.svg/481px-Ireland_location_map.svg.png

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c2/Cottages_glencolmcille.jpg/800px-Cottages_glencolmcille.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/TrabaneStrand1.jpg/800px-TrabaneStrand1.jpg

Morar map
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/27/Lochaber_UK_location_map.svg/800px-Lochaber_UK_location_map.svg.png

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 25, 2013, 12:59:25 PM
I live in Sussex and have been to The White Horse pub in Storrington a couple of times, where Bax spent his final years  There is a commemorative plaque to Bax outside and a few photos of Bax and some of his music in frames on the walls.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 25, 2013, 04:14:48 PM
That's more than there was at the Morar Hotel- their website talks about Bax but instead of a statue, plaque or some pride in a national cultural figure the reception staff thought I was bit nuts; there was a guy in the back they found who knew a bit more though. Sums philistine Britain up.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 26, 2013, 03:08:07 AM
Thanks for the pictures, Sean, and for reminding Britons of one of their excellent composers!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 26, 2013, 02:19:28 PM
I kept a journal during my week in Ireland- here are the paragraphs for Glencolumbkille...

The onward bus the next day from Killibeggs isn’t till the evening so carrying only my small shoulder bag I decide to walk the last 28km to Glencolumbkille, a narrow road continuously bending round the hills, without pavements but with little traffic and fairly safe. I look down on a calm ocean disappearing off indistinctly before heading inland for increasingly bleak terrain, treeless with thin light brown grasses; the air’s pure. I pass a turnoff for Kilcar with its coastal scenery but press on, getting to Carrick the only village on the road for a drink; get a little sunburn on my left side, walking north with the sun going down.

Wander off the road down to one of the lakes, scaring the sheep off a drier raised area above the somewhat dangerous waterlogged bog, deep peaty black earth with only tangled squelchy scrub on top just stopping you from sinking. I’m hot but the water’s too cold for a swim and the rocky bed looks difficult to stand on- lie down a while instead. I complete my Bax pilgrimage within eight hours arriving at imposing Glencolumbkille valley, a vast rise of rock on the far side directly facing you on approach and the Atlantic shimmering in the sunset at the end of a pleasant U-shaped bay and narrow beach; village buildings are strewn widely.

Get to a fading hostel perched on a headland with only me and an old landlady- a nice view down on the bay and all quiet bar the sound of the sea to rest sore feet. In the morning hobble to the museum covering local peoples of previous centuries, the valley with its shelter and access having been inhabited for many millennia. A woman there points out the house Bax used and as I’m without a camera kindly takes my photo before it and emails it me. Gaelic is spoken.

Walk by ancient phallic stone uprights inscribed to commemorate Saint Colmcille and to the small old church with zodiacal gravestone crosses, then philosophize on rocks looking out at the sea as the tide takes it back. A dozen lines of waves break all down the bay particularly at low tide, wave after wave reflecting Bax’s complex contrapuntal layering and Wagnerian repeated surges drowning the thinking mind: the music’s formal irrationality ascends over groundless architectonic reconciliation. An evocative enough place, the interest in the sea’s movement inexhaustible.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 26, 2013, 02:27:04 PM
Nice! Very atmospheric!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 26, 2013, 03:23:43 PM
Thanks.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: snyprrr on May 26, 2013, 04:13:49 PM
ok, musical sample,... what exactly is 'Baxian'????
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 26, 2013, 09:07:46 PM
Hi Snyprr, well you won't find a more intense statement of passion anywhere in English music than the First symphony of Bax. Do yourself a favour though and get the Bryden Thomson recording, not Handley or Lloyd-Jones or any other such confused offerings.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: snyprrr on May 27, 2013, 05:33:49 AM
Hi Snyprr, well you won't find a more intense statement of passion anywhere in English music than the First symphony of Bax. Do yourself a favour though and get the Bryden Thomson recording, not Handley or Lloyd-Jones or any other such confused offerings.

He had a stylistic break around, what?, the 3rd Symphony? Yes, I'm probably more of a 'First Phase' Baxian then. Will check No.1/Thomson.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 27, 2013, 06:18:01 AM
Hi Snyprr, well you won't find a more intense statement of passion anywhere in English music than the First symphony of Bax. Do yourself a favour though and get the Bryden Thomson recording, not Handley or Lloyd-Jones or any other such confused offerings.
Good! Another Bryden Thomson fan?! There are a few of us!! ;D With due respect,to the great Vernon Handley,whose Bax recordings certainly had their high points;Thomson is the one who really gets under the skin of this music. Handley's Bax works well at times. For example,the more rugged,Northern ballads,and his 'Spring Fire' is a classic! But his approach to the symphonies is too driven. Thomson allows this passionate,beautiful music time to breath,and there's nothing wrong with the Chandos recording quality! It's spectacular! It's what this music needs!
If you want to try an alternative approach,the Naxos cycle is a good bet. Allot cheaper than splashing out on that Handley box set! Chandos must think we're a bunch of suckers paying out for that,when Thomson has already done such a tremendous job!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 27, 2013, 06:25:51 AM
Thomson rules. Handley may be more careful and precise, but Thomson, as you say, cilgwyn, gets under the skin of this music. The first three symphonies are my favourites (with 6 and7 not far behind), and Thomson is unforgettable in all of them. I have to listen to Fredman again (Lyrita), but so far he hasn't supplanted Thomson, either. The only real contender for No. 3 is Downes (as Jeffrey/vandermolen will agree). His recording is terrific (Chandos wins in the sonics department, though).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 27, 2013, 07:11:05 AM
I should have mentioned the celebrated Lyrita recordings! I just suggested the Naxos cycle,because they are allot cheaper than spending your cash on the Handley box,when the Thomson cycle is,despite what numerous critics would say otherwise,perfectly good, imho(and yours) and in many (most) ways,actually superior! If you want to satisfy your curiosity that much,you can buy one of those Naxos cds & still have plenty of money to pay the rent or gas! :) I actually,quite Lloyd Jones interpretations of one or two of them. No 5,for example (Oh dear,that's just one! ::) ;D)  And,the fact that the budget price could encourage people to try these symphonies,for next to nothing,IS great! Having said that,thank goodness they're allot better than those old Marco Polo productions,or they might have the opposite effect!! The good news is that the old Thomson cds can usually be bought quite cheaply s/h on Amazon or ebay if you haven't already got them. And yes,you can download them,but what's the point if you can get them cheaper (in most cases) s/h?!
What I DO miss from those Naxos interpretations,interesting as they are (and I do like the cover art! ;D) is the ferocity of the opening bars of that Thomson First,the cataclysm of the finale of the second,the glitter and opulence of the orchestration in the slower,more reflective parts. Chandos engineering might have helped to be fair,but there's more to it than that,of course!!
All right,if you're a bit short of cash,though. But the Handley box is daylight robbery imho! The cds should have been released separately. Or just pull your wallet all the way out for one of those Lyritas & be in on history in the making!
I agree with you about the Downes third. Judging from my BBC Radio Classics cd of him conducting Bantock's Pagan Symphony & Bax's Tintagel & Northern Ballads 2 & 3 (well worth seeking out) I wish he could have given us some more!
I bought the emi cd of Barbirolli's celebrated Bax 3,recently. What a spellbinder! Of course,if you're allergic to old shellac recordings you're not going to enjoy it,but I loved it. If only he could have recorded some more Bax symphonies! >:(
Oh,well! ::) :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 27, 2013, 01:41:08 PM
Thomsen rules. Handley may be more careful and precise, but Thomsen, as you say, cilgwyn, gets under the skin of this music. The first three symphonies are my favourites (with 6 and7 not far behind), and Thomsen is unforgettable in all of them. I have to listen to Fredman again (Lyrita), but so far he hasn't supplanted Thomsen, either. The only real contender for No. 3 is Downes (as Jeffrey/vandermolen will agree). His recording is terrific (Chandos wins in the sonics department, though).

Scandalous that the Edward Downes version of Symphony No 3 (with its coupling of The Happy Forest) never made it to CD. IMHO the best performance of both works. It features in the melancholy list of great RCA recordings never released on CD, including Tjeknavorian's LSO version of Khachaturian's Symphony No.1 (much better than his ASV recording) and Morton Gould's Chicago SO version of Miaskovsky Symphony No. 21.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 27, 2013, 04:27:11 PM
Indeed! And I must add Morton Gould's own sensational recording of his 'Latin American Symphonette',with the LSO (Varese Sarabande) He made it sound like a bona fide American classic. I nearly wore my copy out (as they say!). A truly sonic spectacular,in terms of performance & recording quality! Why isn't on cd?!!! >:(
(And I hasten to add. I'm not usually very excited by Gould's own compositions!)

And back to Bax!! ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 27, 2013, 06:10:18 PM
Another fan of Bryden Thomson here - a seriously underrated conductor. Apart from his fine Bax cycle I rate both his Vaughan Willliams and Martinu cycles very highly. One of my very favourite Bax discs is below (available for under £2.00 on UK Amazon).'Christmas Eve' and 'Nympholept' were great discoveries for me.


Here is the reissue of (more or less) the same CD, although, unfortunately, not including Thomson's fine version of 'Tintagel':


And here is the original release featuring 'Christmas Eve' - one of the great Bax discs:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 27, 2013, 07:46:50 PM
Hi snyprrr, those more Nordic Sibelian influences creep in after the Third symphony, and when his annual migrations switched from Ireland to Scotland. However the set of symphonies explore a well defined expressive region and were composed over a relatively narrow period 1922-39. Bax is one of the most subtle of all composers but once you sense rather than follow the logic you're can be really won over.

cilgwyn & J. Z. Herrenberg, good to read those thoughts. The Thomson Bax survey is one of the great achievements of the whole empire of recorded art music; Handley looks for structure too much when the rough sonata forms are only trellises for the luxurious Baxian sprawl that justifies itself in the moment as it develops and needs no reference to pre-compositional form. The great parallel here is Shostakovich's Fourth (1936) and indeed Bax was in Russia I think 1913, writing a scattering of works on Russian themes.

Paradoxically the most successful Handley symphony is the Fourth, which he criticizes most for formlessness when of course once you understand Bax makes it perhaps his greatest symphony. Handley finds a visceral surge in its Tristanesque intuitive flow in some ways even better than Thomson.

The Lloyd-Jones recording has demonstration class immediacy and clarity though like Handley he often presses on in wrongheaded ways.

I also know and enjoy the somewhat pastoral Barbirolli Third, and a remarkable Downs Second with the LSO, my first exposure to Bax.

vandermolen, I also went on to buy Thomson's uncompleted Vaughan Williams cycle but I couldn't disagree too much with the more negative Penguin reviews. Not that the Penguiners appreciate Bax's music all that well though...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Hattoff on May 27, 2013, 08:28:31 PM
Another fan of Bryden Thomson here - a seriously underrated conductor. Apart from his fine Bax cycle I rate both his Vaughan Willliams and Martinu cycles very highly. One of my very favourite Bax discs is below (available for under £2.00 on UK Amazon).'Christmas Eve' and 'Nympholept' were great discoveries for me.


Here is the reissue of (more or less) the same CD, although, unfortunately, not including Thomson's fine version of 'Tintagel':


And here is the original release featuring 'Christmas Eve' - one of the great Bax discs:


I've ordered the Tintagel disc, can't go wrong at that price.
I know Tintagel and the symphonies but not much else.  Look forward to hearing the other works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 27, 2013, 11:22:10 PM
Hi snyprrr, those more Nordic Sibelian influences creep in after the Third symphony, and when his annual migrations switched from Ireland to Scotland. However the set of symphonies explore a well defined expressive region and were composed over a relatively narrow period 1922-39. Bax is one of the most subtle of all composers but once you sense rather than follow the logic you're can be really won over.

cilgwyn & J. Z. Herrenberg, good to read those thoughts. The Thomson Bax survey is one of the great achievements of the whole empire of recorded art music; Handley looks for structure too much when the rough sonata forms are only trellises for the luxurious Baxian sprawl that justifies itself in the moment as it develops and needs no reference to pre-compositional form. The great parallel here is Shostakovich's Fourth (1936) and indeed Bax was in Russia I think 1913, writing a scattering of works on Russian themes.

Paradoxically the most successful Handley symphony is the Fourth, which he criticizes most for formlessness when of course once you understand Bax makes it perhaps his greatest symphony. Handley finds a visceral surge in its Tristanesque intuitive flow in some ways even better than Thomson.

The Lloyd-Jones recording has demonstration class immediacy and clarity though like Handley he often presses on in wrongheaded ways.

I also know and enjoy the somewhat pastoral Barbirolli Third, and a remarkable Downs Second with the LSO, my first exposure to Bax.

vandermolen, I also went on to buy Thomson's uncompleted Vaughan Williams cycle but I couldn't disagree too much with the more negative Penguin reviews. Not that the Penguiners appreciate Bax's music all that well though...

Hello Sean,

The Thomson VW cycle was not (unlike the Hickox on the same label) incomplete. Hickox very sadly died before recording symphonies 7 or 9 - although I saw him give a great performance of No 9 in London only a few weeks before his untimely death - I'm only sorry that it was not recorded. I think that Thomson is one of the few who gets VW Symphony No 6 right ('Top 1000 CD Guide' rated it their No 1 choice). He is also strong in No 4 and 9. Now Back to Bax!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 27, 2013, 11:26:44 PM
I've ordered the Tintagel disc, can't go wrong at that price.
I know Tintagel and the symphonies but not much else.  Look forward to hearing the other works.

Hattoff,

I'm sure you'll enjoy it - it is one of my most played Bax CDs and I like every work on it, especially the moving 'Christmas Eve in the Mountains' with its lovely redemptive ending, the hauntingly atmospheric 'Nympholept' (and I prefer the Thomson recording to that of Lloyd Jones), the noisy 'Paen' is great fun and even the unpromising sounding 'Festival Overture' soon arrives at a classic Baxian tune. Let us know what you think.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on May 28, 2013, 12:58:32 AM
Hello Sean,

The Thomson VW cycle was not (unlike the Hickox on the same label) incomplete. Hickox very sadly died before recording symphonies 7 or 9 - although I saw him give a great performance of No 9 in London only a few weeks before his untimely death - I'm only sorry that it was not recorded. I think that Thomson is one of the few who gets VW Symphony No 6 right ('Top 1000 CD Guide' rated it their No 1 choice). He is also strong in No 4 and 9. Now Back to Bax!

I also bought No.6 but if remember agreeing with Ivan March that it sounded a bit like a rehearsal run-though, perhaps bringing too much Baxian rhapsody to more structured music. Best, S
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 28, 2013, 05:00:29 AM
Of course,there are some people who may prefer Handley's cycle,of course. The critics certainly do! I just prefer Thomson's readings. As to the Naxos cycle,I bought a few out of curiosity because they're cheap,I like the couplings & cover art! ;D I quite like Lloyd Jones No 5,but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it!

I would recommend the BBC Radio Classics cd of Bax & Bantock,conducted by Downes. A great cd. I love the coupling of Bax's Tintagel,Northern Ballads 2 & 3 and Bantock's Pagan Symphony. They go very well together,sharing the same 'legendary' atmosphere,although Bantock's 'Pagan' is slightly more 'perfumed',here & there! Also,you don't have to listen to 'Fifine at The Fair' which is 'queit neice' ;D but not really my cup of tea,and Beecham does it better anyway,even if the recordings in mono & cut. I really like Downe's Bax,and his Bantock Pagan is very satisfying. His handling of that bizarre percussion climax episode is strikingly different to Handley's interpretation,and I rather like what he does with it! :)

PS: If you enjoy that,the BBC Radio Classics cd of Downes conducting Boughton's second & third symphonies is fantastic. I particularly love his interpretation of Boughton's lovely 'Deirdre Symphony' (No2). The Second movement,in particular,is an absolute winner. It is hauntingly beautiful. I remember hearing the performance on the radio when I was quite a bit younger! ;D I find it baffling that such a lovely work remains unrecorded (except for this,sadly oop, cd broadcast release).
Oh well! :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 28, 2013, 05:34:15 AM
I also bought No.6 but if remember agreeing with Ivan March that it sounded a bit like a rehearsal run-though, perhaps bringing too much Baxian rhapsody to more structured music. Best, S
An interesting choice,mind,if you prefer VW in his  pastoral vein. I'm tempted to try it,now! ;D His Fourth is the one I play least. Could Thomson be the man to convert me?!! ;D
Regarding those Penguin Guide reviews. They're very useful,but I have to say,it might be me,but I find the tone of allot of them very 'snooty'. And quite frankly their reviews of the Daniel Jones symphonies were quite pathetic. I wonder if they really listened to them,properly,at all?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 28, 2013, 07:20:57 AM
Of course,there are some people who may prefer Handley's cycle,of course. The critics certainly do! I just prefer Thomson's readings. As to the Naxos cycle,I bought a few out of curiosity because they're cheap,I like the couplings & cover art! ;D I quite like Lloyd Jones No 5,but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it!

I would recommend the BBC Radio Classics cd of Bax & Bantock,conducted by Downes. A great cd. I love the coupling of Bax's Tintagel,Northern Ballads 2 & 3 and Bantock's Pagan Symphony. They go very well together,sharing the same 'legendary' atmosphere,although Bantock's 'Pagan' is slightly more 'perfumed',here & there! Also,you don't have to listen to 'Fifine at The Fair' which is 'queit neice' ;D but not really my cup of tea,and Beecham does it better anyway,even if the recordings in mono & cut. I really like Downe's Bax,and his Bantock Pagan is very satisfying. His handling of that bizarre percussion climax episode is strikingly different to Handley's interpretation,and I rather like what he does with it! :)

PS: If you enjoy that,the BBC Radio Classics cd of Downes conducting Boughton's second & third symphonies is fantastic. I particularly love his interpretation of Boughton's lovely 'Deirdre Symphony' (No2). The Second movement,in particular,is an absolute winner. It is hauntingly beautiful. I remember hearing the performance on the radio when I was quite a bit younger! ;D I find it baffling that such a lovely work remains unrecorded (except for this,sadly oop, cd broadcast release).
Oh well! :(

The best, most 'Legendary' recording of Bax's Symphony No 5 is Raymond Leppard's on Lyrita - my favourite version of my favourite Bax symphony.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on May 28, 2013, 07:59:47 AM
My favourite Bax symphony too! :) Bax's Fourth is a bit of a runner up. Those seascapes! And Thomson of course!
No's 1 & 2 are also big return visitors to the cd turntable. Then 3 (especially the Barbirolli) & 6!
Least favourite No7. Although I need to give it another listen.
Love them all,mind!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on August 08, 2013, 09:48:46 PM
The Handley and Golani recording of a major orchestral work the Viola phantasy is here on Youtube-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOqXvKapGuM

This is the first two movements, with the other one nearby. It looks like a counterpart to the violin and cello concertos so I'm very keen to investigate... I wonder if it's kept a lower profile because of the title, when the concertos are rhapsodic enough anyway...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on August 21, 2013, 06:15:04 AM
Word has it that Martin Yates is recording a recently-discovered, hour-long Symphony in F major/minor completed by Bax around 1907 for Dutton! It is not a reconstruction like Yates' realization of Moeran's Symphony no. 2, even though Yates had to add a couple notes here and there to the manuscript. I can barely contain my utter excitement! :D :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on August 21, 2013, 11:47:13 AM
I like Bax a lot, but 1907? That's 15 years before his first symphony was composed according to wikipedia. That may be a bit too early to be really exciting for me. But still, interesting news!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on August 21, 2013, 12:07:31 PM
I like Bax a lot, but 1907? That's 15 years before his first symphony was composed according to wikipedia. That may be a bit too early to be really exciting for me. But still, interesting news!

Yes, it's not mature Bax, but this early symphony, while not free of other influences, already contains many Bax fingerprints, I'm told. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 21, 2013, 12:22:43 PM
If it was an early work by Cyril Scott or Bowen,say,I wouldn't be too interested. (Although,having said that,despite my misgivings about his orchestral music,I think Scott's piano  & instrumental music is actually very satisfying music) Bax and Holst I would make an exception for because of the quality and individuality of their music. Of course,ultimately,the proof will be in the 60 min pudding!! It sounds more interesting than the Cotswold Symphony,anyway!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on August 21, 2013, 12:37:04 PM
the 60 min pudding

That's exactly what I'm dreading  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 21, 2013, 01:01:53 PM
  ;D Ouch! That observation really should have been followed by a smiley!  Just thinking about some of those puddings I used to eat at school!! ??? :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on August 21, 2013, 01:05:22 PM
You guys are making me hungry! I love pudding! :D A 60-minute pudding sounds like fun to me! ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on August 21, 2013, 01:23:12 PM
You guys are making me hungry! I love pudding! :D A 60-minute pudding sounds like fun to me! ;)
I quite like pudding too. It just depends what kind of a pudding! My late mother's lemon meringues or,moving away from puddings;something along the lines of my grandmothers rock cakes. You needed a rock to break them (and a power drill!). Still,they were rock cakes!!

Actually,I prefer savory foods,really. A 60 minute liver and bacon with onion,gravy and mashed potato would be even better! Although,I doubt it would last that long. Or even a hot,homemade,60 minute veggie curry!
Anyway,I digress...............................
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on August 21, 2013, 10:33:16 PM
The Viola phantasy isn't among the most richly stocked Bax and there's a smaller orchestra but it I admire the subtle structuring in all his music.

I'm not posting much on the forum these days; adieu. Sean
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: mn dave on October 04, 2013, 04:30:21 AM
What's a good, say 10 disc, Bax starter kit?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on October 04, 2013, 05:33:02 AM
Hi. Get the Bryden Thomson survey of the symphonies plus the Symphonic variations if you can; the Chandos double piano or four hands music is also great, and the Chandos Violin sons 1-2 with McCabe etc. But I think the symphs are the core thing. Best, Sean
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 04, 2013, 07:47:50 AM
What's a good, say 10 disc, Bax starter kit?

Thanks.

Try to get the Thomson set of the symphonies if you can:



If not, Lloyd-Jones' cycle on Naxos (which still hasn't been boxed up yet) is an excellent alternative. Both outclass Handley IMO. Also, this disc acts as a great introduction to Bax's soundworld:



Happy listening! :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brian on October 04, 2013, 08:00:55 AM
Lloyd-Jones' cycle on Naxos (which still hasn't been boxed up yet)

There is this



$75 gets you the complete or partial* symphony cycles of Arnold*, Alwyn*, Bantock*, Bax, Elgar, Rawsthorne, Vaughan Williams, Walton, plus fillers like all Bax's tone poems, Walton's viola concerto, and "Elgar's Third Symphony."
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 04, 2013, 08:20:57 AM
What's a good, say 10 disc, Bax starter kit?

Thanks.

Apart from the symphonies I would include this in your 10 CD collection. It contains the wonderful 'Christmas Eve in the Mountains', an unrivalled performance of the atmospheric tone poem 'Nympholept', the riotous 'Paen' and the 'Festival Overture' which is a much more interesting work than the title suggests. IMHO this is one of the great Bax discs and only a pity that they left out 'Tintagel' when it was reissued.



Actually, here is the original release (including Thomson's fine version of 'Tintagel'), so, I'd go for this one if you can find it. It is currently available for under £3.00 on UK Amazon and I would not hesitate to snap it up.

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 04, 2013, 10:16:51 AM
There is this



$75 gets you the complete or partial* symphony cycles of Arnold*, Alwyn*, Bantock*, Bax, Elgar, Rawsthorne, Vaughan Williams, Walton, plus fillers like all Bax's tone poems, Walton's viola concerto, and "Elgar's Third Symphony."

Oops! Forgot about that! Great set and an even greater bargain. I was a little disappointed with the RWV cycle, but that's to be expected, considering how many great RVW cycles there are out there. All the other performances are top-notch.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: mn dave on October 04, 2013, 10:27:00 AM
Thanks to everyone. I'd better get shopping.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 04, 2013, 10:28:00 AM
Thanks to everyone. I'd better get shopping.  :)

Yes, get on with it.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 04, 2013, 10:36:26 AM
Thanks to everyone. I'd better get shopping.  :)

Hope your experience with Bax is a good one. :) He's a great composer no doubt.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: mn dave on October 04, 2013, 04:02:10 PM
Might as well take the volumes in order. This one is filling my ears as I type this.

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on October 04, 2013, 04:07:58 PM
The Cello concerto like all Bax is subtle, and one of his best works, the Violin concerto not quite in that category. Fingerhut alongside Parkin is inside the relaxed, fully and dreamy English landscape like no other pianist.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 04, 2013, 04:40:47 PM
Might as well take the volumes in order. This one is filling my ears as I type this.



Keep in mind, Dave, that the Violin and Cello Concertos are not among Bax's strongest works IMO, beautiful as they are. So, if you don't quite warm to them, don't give up on Bax just yet! :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: mn dave on October 04, 2013, 04:46:34 PM
Keep in mind, Dave, that the Violin and Cello Concertos are not among Bax's strongest works IMO, beautiful as they are. So, if you don't quite warm to them, don't give up on Bax just yet! :)

Bax and I seem to be getting along rather well. No worries!

By the way, these are two I already own in addition to the one above.


Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 04, 2013, 05:24:21 PM
Bax and I seem to be getting along rather well. No worries!

By the way, these are two I already own in addition to the one above.




Great to hear your Bax endeavor is going well so far! Those two discs you pictured are awesome. I'm sure you'll love them, Dave. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: mn dave on October 04, 2013, 05:59:56 PM
Great to hear your Bax endeavor is going well so far! Those two discs you pictured are awesome. I'm sure you'll love them, Dave. :)

Indeed I do. And Naxos' symphony four was in the mail before I posted requests.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on October 04, 2013, 07:30:52 PM
kyjo, can't agree with you about the Cello concerto, it includes some top drawer luxuriating Bax melodies and the Thomson-Wallfisch is going to continue to dominate. There are some bitty even stodgy passages and I remember being annoyed by this work years ago before I properly started seeing into Bax's intuitive movement, but even these being to justify themselves...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 05, 2013, 04:27:53 AM
kyjo, can't agree with you about the Cello concerto, it includes some top drawer luxuriating Bax melodies and the Thomson-Wallfisch is going to continue to dominate. There are some bitty even stodgy passages and I remember being annoyed by this work years ago before I properly started seeing into Bax's intuitive movement, but even these being to justify themselves...

Each to his own. :) While it is a beautiful, atmospheric work, it doesn't quite grab me like many other works by Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on October 05, 2013, 05:00:37 AM
I understand the focus on orchestral stuff, but don't miss out on some fine chamber music, for example on these two discs:




Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 05, 2013, 05:08:00 AM
I understand the focus on orchestral stuff, but don't miss out on some fine chamber music, for example on these two discs:





Yes, those are fine recordings indeed. The Harp Quintet and In memoriam, especially, are gorgeous works. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on October 05, 2013, 05:39:17 AM
I understand the focus on orchestral stuff, but don't miss out on some fine chamber music, for example on these two discs:





I don't like Bax's orchestral music but I really enjoyed these chamber discs.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 05, 2013, 09:26:03 AM
The Harp Quintet is lovely. I must have another listen to the Cello Concerto as I didn't make much of it either.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on October 05, 2013, 09:36:53 AM
I don't like Bax's orchestral music

That's a shame, John. :( Not even the tone poems? :-\
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on November 17, 2013, 05:47:55 PM
A couple of Bax anniversaries here just slipped by-

3rd Oct 60th anniversary of his death

8th Nov 130th anniversary of his birth
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on May 31, 2014, 02:01:50 PM
Just listened to:
Bax: Symphony No 1
Bax: In the Faery Hills // The Garden of Fand
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/ Lloyd- Jones


Interesting music... a bit of the sweeping pastoral feeling of English compositions. I especially enjoyed The Garden of Fand. However, I was quite taken by S1!!!



I just started listening to these Naxos recordings. I understand that Chandos also has released many recordings of Bax's works.  Are there any major differences between these two (Naxos vs Chandos) and is either one preferred for an approach to Bax's works? Do you have any specific advice on approaching either series?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 24, 2014, 08:15:18 AM
Discovered a terrific performance of 'Tintagel' performed by Andrew Davis and the BBC SO, recorded live in November 1996 at the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens. I discovered it on a very cheap (under £2.00 on Amazon UK) CD entitled 'The Very Best of the BBC' and it accompanied BBC Music Magazine in November 1997. It is, in my view, the equal of the great old Boult Mono LPO version on Decca and much better recorded. If you are a Bax fan do look out for it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 24, 2014, 08:21:57 AM
Just listened to:
Bax: Symphony No 1
Bax: In the Faery Hills // The Garden of Fand
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/ Lloyd- Jones


Interesting music... a bit of the sweeping pastoral feeling of English compositions. I especially enjoyed The Garden of Fand. However, I was quite taken by S1!!!



I just started listening to these Naxos recordings. I understand that Chandos also has released many recordings of Bax's works.  Are there any major differences between these two (Naxos vs Chandos) and is either one preferred for an approach to Bax's works? Do you have any specific advice on approaching either series?

Just saw this. There are supporters and critics of both cycles. Personally I don't think you will go wrong with either and the Naxos discs are very good value. On balance I prefer Thomson and also many of the Lyrita recordings, especially No.5 conducted by Raymond Leppard which I think is the greatest recorded performance of that fine work.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on July 24, 2014, 01:28:42 PM
I like the Lyrita recordings best if you can find them - the 2nd Symphony (cond. Myer Fredman) is especially good and was a demo-class recording in its day, and now coupled with No.5 (Leppard) so that's a cracking good pairing.  CD transfer seems slightly thinner sound compared with the original LPs, still sounds OK, but no longer exceptional.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 25, 2014, 02:29:14 AM
I like the Lyrita recordings best if you can find them - the 2nd Symphony (cond. Myer Fredman) is especially good and was a demo-class recording in its day, and now coupled with No.5 (Leppard) so that's a cracking good pairing.  CD transfer seems slightly thinner sound compared with the original LPs, still sounds OK, but no longer exceptional.

Yes, that is a great CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2015, 08:30:25 PM
I take everything I said negative about Bax's orchestral music! :) I've really been digging into his later symphonies tonight. I'm more attuned to the almost elusiveness of this music this time around. Listening to Symphony No. 6 at the moment. What an aggressive opening! I need to dig back into my collection of Bax, which includes almost all of the Chandos releases and the Lloyd-Jones cycle on Naxos. It's quite astounding if you think that Bax's symphonies have been recorded three times (Thomson, Handley, Lloyd-Jones) and a partial cycle on Lyrita, which I haven't heard but have read great reviews of it. I also really enjoy what little chamber music I've heard.

Let's get the ball rolling here, what are everyone's favorite Bax works?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Ken B on February 15, 2015, 09:05:45 PM
I take everything I said negative about Bax's orchestral music! :) I've really been digging into his later symphonies tonight. I'm more attuned to the almost elusiveness of this music this time around. Listening to Symphony No. 6 at the moment. What an aggressive opening! I need to dig back into my collection of Bax, which includes almost all of the Chandos releases and the Lloyd-Jones cycle on Naxos. It's quite astounding if you think that Bax's symphonies have been recorded three times (Thomson, Handley, Lloyd-Jones) and a partial cycle on Lyrita, which I haven't heard but have read great reviews of it. I also really enjoy what little chamber music I've heard.

Let's get the ball rolling here, what are everyone's favorite Bax works?

I liked all the chamber music I have heard. His best stuff IMO. Less happy with the later symphonies, but I liked the earlier ones, up to 4.
You listen to much Rawsthorne John? Seems right up your alley. The concerti are masterpieces.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2015, 09:08:31 PM
I liked all the chamber music I have heard. His best stuff IMO. Less happy with the later symphonies, but I liked the earlier ones, up to 4.
You listen to much Rawsthorne John? Seems right up your alley. The concerti are masterpieces.

Hey Ken, I'm already familiar with Rawsthorne and, yes, his music was right up my alley. I need to revisit his music at some juncture. You don't like any of Bax's tone poems or concertante works?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 16, 2015, 12:56:39 AM
I like the Harp Quintet which has an achingly beautiful theme it it. My favourite symphony is No 3 and my favourite recording with Edward Downes and the LSO has never been released on CD  >:D.
I like the Lyrita recordings very much. Symphony 5 is my other favourite symphony and the recording by Raymond Leppard is my favourite. All the symphonies are great in my view. I strongly recommend a Chandos CD of his lesser known orchestral music including the wonderfully atmospheric 'Christmas Eve' and 'Nympholept', even the unpromising sounding 'Festival Overture' on the same CD turns into a characteristically Baxian score, which I also find moving:


The CD is about £3.00 on UK Amazon.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 07:11:45 AM
I like the Harp Quintet which has an achingly beautiful theme it it. My favourite symphony is No 3 and my favourite recording with Edward Downes and the LSO has never been released on CD  >:D.
I like the Lyrita recordings very much. Symphony 5 is my other favourite symphony and the recording by Raymond Leppard is my favourite. All the symphonies are great in my view. I strongly recommend a Chandos CD of his lesser known orchestral music including the wonderfully atmospheric 'Christmas Eve' and 'Nympholept', even the unpromising sounding 'Festival Overture' on the same CD turns into a characteristically Baxian score, which I also find moving:


The CD is about £3.00 on UK Amazon.

Very cool, Jeffrey. Of course, I own that entire orchestral series on Chandos but really need to revisit it at some point.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Ken B on February 16, 2015, 07:20:02 AM
Hey Ken, I'm already familiar with Rawsthorne and, yes, his music was right up my alley. I need to revisit his music at some juncture. You don't like any of Bax's tone poems or concertante works?

Don't know them very well. I find Bax's orchestral music pleasant but not really memorable.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 07:27:52 AM
Bax is the greatest English composer from any period.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 08:35:03 AM
Bax is the greatest English composer from any period.

I happily disagree of course. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 08:55:34 AM
Don't know them very well. I find Bax's orchestral music pleasant but not really memorable.

The lack of any kind of memorability is what I'm running into as well.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 16, 2015, 09:24:20 AM
The lack of any kind of memorability is what I'm running into as well.

Epilogue of Symphony 3 is unforgettable in my view as is the 'liturgical' coda of Symphony 5.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 09:37:33 AM
Epilogue of Symphony 3 is unforgettable in my view as is the 'liturgical' coda of Symphony 5.

I listened to Symphony No. 5 last night and don't remember a note from it. :) I'm currently finishing up Symphony No. 3 right now and it's quite nice but I don't know about 'unforgettable'. It's beautiful but it lacks that last ounce of individuality and character that make the symphonies of Elgar and RVW so compelling.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Ken B on February 16, 2015, 09:49:39 AM
I listened to Symphony No. 5 last night and don't remember a note from it. :) I'm currently finishing up Symphony No. 3 right now and it's quite nice but I don't know about 'unforgettable'. It's beautiful but it lacks that last ounce of individuality and character that make the symphonies of Elgar and RVW so compelling.
I agree, Elgar's first cannot be banished from the memory ...  >:D

Even the RVW I don't particularly like, Symphony 1 for instnace, are distinctive, and memorable. There's a powerful imagination at work in every bar.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 11:36:36 AM
It took me a while to make sense of what Bax is doing but he's basically using subtle interconnections to structure his music rather than given formal schemes, making it deeply satisfying; when the material leads is more important than closed melodic line and involves seemingly arbitrary juxtaposition and irrationality. This high level of conception makes it the greatest of music and I'm a total Bax addict. Similar inscrutable work might include the Scarlatti sonatas, Schumann piano music, Wagner, Strauss operas, some Messiaen, and The Rite of Spring.

Have patience...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 12:17:56 PM
Even the RVW I don't particularly like, Symphony 1 for instnace, are distinctive, and memorable. There's a powerful imagination at work in every bar.

I happen to enjoy A Sea Symphony and, agree, that RVW's own musical persona is in this work.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 01:47:23 PM
It took me a while to make sense of what Bax is doing but he's basically using subtle interconnections to structure his music rather than given formal schemes, making it deeply satisfying; when the material leads is more important than closed melodic line and involves seemingly arbitrary juxtaposition and irrationality. This high level of conception makes it the greatest of music and I'm a total Bax addict. Similar inscrutable work might include the Scarlatti sonatas, Schumann piano music, Wagner, Strauss operas, some Messiaen, and The Rite of Spring.

Have patience...

I'll definitely be giving his music more listens as I haven't completely given up hope. There is greatness there I'm sure, I just have to find it for myself. There's no question, though, that he's a consummate craftsman and knows his way around the orchestra.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 01:50:25 PM
Well my comments were a bit waffly but you get the idea; might be more talk on this earlier in the topic. Most of Thomson's renditions are highly recommendable.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 16, 2015, 05:46:15 PM
What do you folks think about Lloyd-Jones' traversal of Bax on the Naxos label?    :-\

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 16, 2015, 05:52:10 PM
Bax: Symphony No 3              London Philharmonic/Thomson

A first listen to #3. Took a liking for the long mysterious and soft passages that reminded me a bit of RVW's 7th symphony (or is that just my imagination?).  I am new to Bax's music, but found this symphony very enjoyable and interesting. The sentiment that it is hard to remember the themes is something I simply have to agree with. Perplexing but intriguing auditory flavors definitely abound in symphony No 3.

Is there any consensus in terms of Handley, Thomson or Lloyd-Jones in terms of the "optimal" cycle? It seems as if Thomson has the most powerful gravitational field?


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/812F3Gl2hXL._SL1071_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 05:54:36 PM
What do you folks think about Lloyd-Jones' traversal of Bax on the Naxos label?    :-\

Not much. Thomson wins the symphony sweepstakes for me. Handley's symphony cycle is pretty good, but Handley does well in the tone poems.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 06:01:33 PM
The sentiment that it is hard to remember the themes is something I simply have to agree with.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds some kind of fault with this as well. I'm not looking for 'big tunes' as Elgar would say, but I do listen for melody and how it relates to the harmony. I don't find much in Bax's music. It seems that he has more interest in fiddling around with the orchestra and getting various colors out of them instead of what I find to be more important which is giving the listener some kind of access point. The music is pretty much impenetrable to me. I was attracted to the elusiveness of the music initially, but this wore off rather quickly as I began wondering what direction is this music going in? A composer like Delius seems to be criticized for meandering in many of his works, but when he meanders there still seems to be a purpose there and a reason why he's doing it. With Bax, it just seems like he's doing something just for the hell of it instead of it having meaning.

Okay, I'm trying to be kinder to Bax, but it's just becoming increasingly more difficult the more music I listen to.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 16, 2015, 06:11:30 PM
Not much. Thomson wins the symphony sweepstakes for me. Handley's symphony cycle is pretty good, but Handley does well in the tone poems.

Only the Thomson and the Handley symphonic cycles have been issued as sets, right? Is there any compilation of the tone poems etc or are those all currently only available as separate recordings? Just checking the waters...
I think I have Lloyd-Jones's renditions of #1 and #2 in my stacks. I recall that I liked that the tone poems were combined with the symphonies in the releases of his Naxos cycle.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 06:24:12 PM
Only the Thomson and the Handley symphonic cycles have been issued as sets, right? Is there any compilation of the tone poems etc or are those all currently only available as separate recordings? Just checking the waters...
I think I have Lloyd-Jones's renditions of #1 and #2 in my stacks. I recall that I liked that the tone poems were combined with the symphonies in the releases of his Naxos cycle.  :)

Yes, only the Thomson and Handley have been issued as sets. The Lloyd-Jones has to be purchased individually. There's also a partial cycle on Lyrita. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to be listening to Bax for a long time. I've thrown in the towel for now.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 16, 2015, 06:29:09 PM
Yes, only the Thomson and Handley have been issued as sets. The Lloyd-Jones has to be purchased individually. There's also a partial cycle on Lyrita. Anyway, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to be listening to Bax for a long time. I've thrown in the towel for now.

Completely Baxified after two days, John? Back to the sweet realms of Delius?   ;) 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2015, 06:32:41 PM
Completely Baxified already? Back to the sweet realms of Delius?   ;)

Well, back to composers who actually resonate with me emotionally/intellectually. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 10:53:51 PM
What do you folks think about Lloyd-Jones' traversal of Bax on the Naxos label?    :-\

Great recorded sound but like Handley he often misses the music's inner flow and gets confused by his training in sonata form and other structural pillars that he tries to relate the music to. I heard him speak once, a committed nice guy but Thomson's cycle is the benchmark despite occasional sluggishness.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 10:56:19 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds some kind of fault with this as well. I'm not looking for 'big tunes' as Elgar would say, but I do listen for melody and how it relates to the harmony. I don't find much in Bax's music. It seems that he has more interest in fiddling around with the orchestra and getting various colors out of them instead of what I find to be more important which is giving the listener some kind of access point. The music is pretty much impenetrable to me. I was attracted to the elusiveness of the music initially, but this wore off rather quickly as I began wondering what direction is this music going in? A composer like Delius seems to be criticized for meandering in many of his works, but when he meanders there still seems to be a purpose there and a reason why he's doing it. With Bax, it just seems like he's doing something just for the hell of it instead of it having meaning.

Okay, I'm trying to be kinder to Bax, but it's just becoming increasingly more difficult the more music I listen to.

You'll get it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 16, 2015, 10:58:37 PM
Great recorded sound but like Handley he often misses the music's inner flow and gets confused by his training in sonata form and other structural pillars that he tries to relate the music to. I heard him speak once, a committed nice guy but Thomson's cycle is the benchmark despite occasional sluggishness.

Thanks Sean! It seems as if Thomson has quite the following? I must admit that Thomson's performance of the third symphony was excellent (in my ears).  It was quite a treat actually!  :)   However, I do not have any comparisons at this point in time.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 11:01:48 PM
Bax is England's Shostakovich, particularly of the Shostak Fourth symphony, which was written between Bax's Sixth and Seventh. No idea if they knew each other's work, Bax having lived in Russia in 1913, but if you perceive and understand how the important thing is for the material's own dynamic flow to lead the music, and the formal frame is just a trellis to work on, you'll begin to know Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 11:04:52 PM
Hi there Moonfish, his Third is brooding and inward like no other performance.

I liked the connection you made with the Antarctica symphony.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 16, 2015, 11:44:56 PM
Five back here there's still a few of my pictures from Bax's retreats in Ireland and Scotland that I visited...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 16, 2015, 11:50:48 PM
Hi there Moonfish, his Third is brooding and inward like no other performance.

I liked the connection you made with the Antarctica symphony.

I like brooding music...     :P

Dark, inward, beautiful, melancholic tonal potions, please! No wonder I liked the 3rd!  ::)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 17, 2015, 12:20:10 AM
The First symphony is a similar remarkable work, particularly notable for is powerful slow movement.

And several Bax works resonate with the spirit of Holst's Saturn (1916).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 17, 2015, 01:17:03 AM
My favourite recordings:

Symphony 1 Myer Fredman

Symphony 2 Myer Fredman

Symphony 3 Edward Downes

Symphony 4 Bryden Thomson

Symphony 5 Raymond Leppard

Symphony 6 Norman Del Mar

Symphony 7 Raymond Leppard

I am heavily biased to the Lyrita recordings, maybe because I got to know the symphonies through those old LPs.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 17, 2015, 01:27:19 AM
Thanks for that vandermolen, I don't know the Fredman performances yet... but I've found 1 and 2 on YT, hey.

Can you say which recordings are the Lyrita recordings?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 17, 2015, 01:32:40 AM
Buy the way, compare the opening of Bax Third with that of Shostakovich Fourth, third movement. Coincidence? And in three movements?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 17, 2015, 01:56:38 AM
Thanks for that vandermolen, I don't know the Fredman performances yet... but I've found 1 and 2 on YT, hey.

Can you say which recordings are the Lyrita recordings?

Hi Sean,

All except 3 (RCA LP) and 4 (Chandos CD) are on Lyrita. I like Vernon Handley's old Guildford Philharmonic version of Symphony 4 and Goossens's recording of Symphony 2 (Dutton). I agree that No. 4 is one of the best and is always considered the weakest of the cycle. Of the complete cycles, Bryden Thomson is my favourite. He was very underrated too. His Walton Symphony 1 is possibly my favourite recording and I have over 20 versions   ::).


My favourite Lyrita Bax CD, although the coupling of 1 (Fredman) and 7 (Leppard) is brilliant too:




Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 17, 2015, 03:30:13 AM
Hi there, presently listening to the Fredman Second, great energy and drive, he certainly believes in it and wants to communicate. I don't quite agree with the conception and would argue he emphasizes the bright details a little too much, while also looking for the kind of closure that isn't quite there, but this is certainly among the most satisfying versions. I feel the music is best served by an approach that lets it breathe and speak at its own pace and there's more RVW than Celtic mystery here, but it's a refreshingly no-nonsense, upfront advocation for music he clearly likes; Lloyd-Jones is a bit similar I guess.

Handley's Tristanesque Fourth is superb; as for Thomson's other work, I haven't found any I really like, but will seek out the Walton (edit- I have heard it a couple of years back, I remember the richness of orchestration brought out). I think something Nordic in Bax must have touched his Scottish soul.

Will look out for the Boult too, I didn't know.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 17, 2015, 04:25:36 AM
Listening to the Thomson Walton First again now- that style of Dionysian surge for linking ideas along with tremendous counterpoint is perfect for Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 17, 2015, 07:12:59 AM
Listening to the Thomson Walton First again now- that style of Dionysian surge for linking ideas along with tremendous counterpoint is perfect for Bax.

Yes, that is such a great performance. Going back to Bax (  8)) I also like the Lloyd-Jones and Handley cycles too and think that Bax is generally well served on disc. Decades ago a friend of mine was delighted to find so many Bax LPs available in a record shop in Moscow until he realised that 'Bax' meant 'Bach'  :)

PS the Goossens 'Tintagel' is a great historic performance too.

PPS my favourite Lyrita performance is Raymond Leppard's version of Symphony 5. For me it has an epic, 'legendary' quality unlike any other. His Symphony 7 is unrivalled too IMHO.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 17, 2015, 07:16:57 AM
Yes, that is such a great performance. Going back to Bax (  8)) I also like the Lloyd-Jones and Handley cycles too and think that Bax is generally well served on disc. Decades ago a friend of mine was delighted to find so many Bax LPs available in a record shop in Moscow until he realised that 'Bax' meant 'Bach'  :)

PS the Goossens 'Tintagel' is a great historic performance too.

PPS my favourite Lyrita performance is Raymond Leppard's version of Symphony 5. For me it has an epic, 'legendary' quality unlike any other.

That is very funny!!     :) ;) :D ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 17, 2015, 07:17:55 AM
That is very funny!!     :) ;) :D ;D
Glad you thought so.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 17, 2015, 07:59:20 AM
Thanks, I've already heard those Leppard renditions, some careful and original thought, though again not entirely in the Dionysian vane Thomson finds.

I guess I like his baroque opera better, but will give his Fifth another streaming.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Ken B on February 17, 2015, 04:39:02 PM
I like brooding music...     :P

Dark, inward, beautiful, melancholic tonal potions, please!

*chokes back comment about Verdi*
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 18, 2015, 10:43:52 AM
*chokes back comment about Verdi*

(http://www.nikkos-creations.com/wp-content/uploads/small-verdi-wine.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on February 18, 2015, 12:48:45 PM
I can sympathize with some of the posters here. Listening to Bax can be a frustrating experience, yet I feel attracted to his music, but he's not a type of composer I always feel like listening to

My favourite works are symphonies 2, 3, 5 and 6, Nympholept, Tintagel, The Garden of Fand, November Woods, and the Chamber music disc on Hyperion with the Nash Ensemble.
The third String Quartet is also a strong work.
In general, the concertante works strike me as least inspired.

Still need to hear some works like the Violin Sonatas and cello works...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 18, 2015, 12:54:44 PM
The Cello concerto is one of his greatest works; concertantes for violin, viola and piano are in various ways a little weaker. The Violin concerto comes out worst and at least needs better advocacy than the old Chandos recording.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 19, 2015, 12:29:21 AM
The Cello concerto is one of his greatest works; concertantes for violin, viola and piano are in various ways a little weaker. The Violin concerto comes out worst and at least needs better advocacy than the old Chandos recording.

I like the Symphonic Variations too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 19, 2015, 12:44:44 AM
Possibly his greatest work; the Thomson-Fingerhut is unlikely to be surpassed for a long while.

Sorry, the piano concertante works I had in mind that don't flow with topdrawer Baxian intuition were the Concertante for piano left hand, and also Winter Legends to some extent. I still like them tremendously.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 19, 2015, 01:39:44 AM
Possibly his greatest work; the Thomson-Fingerhut is unlikely to be surpassed for a long while.

Sorry, the piano concertante works I had in mind that don't flow with topdrawer Baxian intuition were the Concertante for piano left hand, and also Winter Legends to some extent. I still like them tremendously.

I agree with you and have never really liked the Cello Concerto or Violin Concerto either. The Symphonic Variations is a wonderful work however.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 19, 2015, 01:58:47 AM
Winter Legends eludes Thomson's usual grasp of the music while the Ashley Wass/ James Judd Naxos recording finds more architecture. Indeed Bax doesn't work to formal frames but the Thomson seems to be episodic in the wrong way; it's his only Bax interpretation with serious shortcomings. However although Bax liked this particular work I'm not yet fully convinced by it anyway.

I'd urge you to persevere with the Thomson Cello concerto, it can seem too dreamy but it suddenly clicked with me and I think very highly of it, and well written for the cello with rich melodies.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 19, 2015, 02:08:22 AM
Winter Legends eludes Thomson's usual grasp of the music while the Ashley Wass/ James Judd Naxos recording finds more architecture. Indeed Bax doesn't work to formal frames but the Thomson seems to be episodic in the wrong way; it's his only Bax interpretation with serious shortcomings. However although Bax liked this particular work I'm not yet fully convinced by it anyway.

I'd urge you to persevere with the Thomson Cello concerto, it can seem too dreamy but it suddenly clicked with me and I think very highly of it, and well written for the cello with rich melodies.

OK, will fish out the Cello Concerto - thanks. I love the Moeran Cello Concerto. Do you know it?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 19, 2015, 02:29:59 AM
Yes I do, glittering stuff; I see Moeran's aesthetic as midway between Bax and the Vaughan Williams formalists. I once met the owner of the Cello concerto score when I was working for Waterstone's CD department in Birmingham.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 19, 2015, 05:56:47 AM
Yes I do, glittering stuff; I see Moeran's aesthetic as midway between Bax and the Vaughan Williams formalists. I once met the owner of the Cello concerto score when I was working for Waterstone's CD department in Birmingham.

Yes, I agree with your comments about Moeran.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 23, 2015, 04:08:12 AM
The Moeran Cello concerto at 8'30'' in the performance below hear clearly quotes, or is quoted by, a recognizable Bax moment, I think a theme from Tintagel though not entirely sure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIkZwULb63o

The work also begins with a motif on the cello straight from one of the Walton concertos...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Moonfish on February 25, 2015, 10:19:17 PM
Bax: Tone Poems Vol 2
Three Northern Ballads
Nympholept
Red Autumn
The Happy Forest
Into the Twilight

BBC Philharmonic/Handley


The Three Northern Ballads were a bit chaotic in my ears. However, I found great pleasure listening to both Nympholept as well as Into the Twilight. It seems as if Bax resonates with me when the works have more harmony and are performed at a slower pace. Other works seem more brisk and filled with disharmony. I suspect that Bax will keep bringing me a blend of these two types of soundscapes? Overall, I found this batch of tone poems both interesting and pleasant. Nympholept will definitely be revisited many times in the future.


Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on February 25, 2015, 10:28:09 PM
The Northern ballads I think aren't his greatest works but I still like them a great deal; I found Nympholept at least in the Thomson recording a bit hard to follow but it's a medley of invention at least. Red Autumn I know as one of his tremendous short piano works. I must get hold of this disc...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 07, 2015, 01:20:53 PM
This early Bax symphony written 1907 in his mid-20s is a bit of a beached whale at 78 minutes, only recently orchestrated and recorded. It's complex and vigorous with characteristic harmonies taking shape, though the counterpoint and intuitive movement and surge defining his mature work is less in evidence and instead echoes of Strauss, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin and his dreamier English contemporaries, among others. Clearer formal frames are just being nudged out though and many ideas in the symphonies are heard in progenitor forms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9SPbrBrfEo
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 09, 2015, 02:37:07 AM
By the way I'm travelling to Ireland for a second visit in July or August, hoping to call at Bax's grave at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, Glasheen Road, Cork.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: ZauberdrachenNr.7 on June 09, 2015, 02:44:17 AM
By the way I'm travelling to Ireland for a second visit in July or August, hoping to call at Bax's grave at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, Glasheen Road, Cork.

Tell him "How's the lad?"  for me.  BTW, you and I are among the (select :laugh:) few GMGers to really love his Red Autumn and other piano works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 09, 2015, 10:47:33 AM
Very much so. The Chandos recordings of the solo and double piano music are definitive.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 09, 2015, 12:17:08 PM
By the way I'm travelling to Ireland for a second visit in July or August, hoping to call at Bax's grave at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, Glasheen Road, Cork.

My brother visited it when he was in Ireland many years ago. I haven't been there but have on several occasions been to the 'White Horse' in Storrington which is near to where I live and is the pub in which Bax lived for the last part of his life. There is a plaque commemorating him outside.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 09, 2015, 09:09:12 PM
Hi vandermolen, I never made it to Storrington though I did live in East Sussex for a while, not so far away. I've been to Glencolumbkille and Morar, and also Moscow and St Petersburg, where he was in 1913. The other place would be Streatham in London where he was born...

I never usually do this sort of thing by the way, but Bax is the greatest English composer of any period.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 10, 2015, 06:46:48 AM
By the way the sultry and intuitive Grueberg/ McCabe Violin sonatas 1 and 2 on Chandos are now on YT, if in separate movements.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 10, 2015, 10:44:48 AM
Hi vandermolen, I never made it to Storrington though I did live in East Sussex for a while, not so far away. I've been to Glencolumbkille and Morar, and also Moscow and St Petersburg, where he was in 1913. The other place would be Streatham in London where he was born...

I never usually do this sort of thing by the way, but Bax is the greatest English composer of any period.

Hello Sean, that is really very interesting. The pub is nothing special on the inside although there are a couple of Bax- related pictures, but nothing special. I rate Bax very highly too but also Vaughan Williams.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 10, 2015, 12:16:41 PM
Britain remains a philistine country.

Similar story to yours at Morar Hotel, the receptionists looking at me like I was asking about nuclear physics. I'd read there was a plaque in the lounge but didn't see one, and certainly no statue or anything else.

Probably would be really bad for business, anything to do with art or value. They found this guy working in the kitchens who knew something about Bax having stayed, though not much. He had a mention on the website but that was it.

There's a bit more to see and do in Glencolumbkille, and I was shown the house he rented.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: ZauberdrachenNr.7 on June 10, 2015, 01:17:01 PM
Britain remains a philistine country.

Similar story to yours at Morar Hotel, the receptionists looking at me like I was asking about nuclear physics. I'd read there was a plaque in the lounge but didn't see one, and certainly no statue or anything else.

Probably would be really bad for business, anything to do with art or value. They found this guy working in the kitchens who knew something about Bax having stayed, though not much. He had a mention on the website but that was it.

There's a bit more to see and do in Glencolumbkille, and I was shown the house he rented.

No matter.  Sir Arnold's spirit is in the woods and in the mist and myths...and the wonderful music he left us.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 11, 2015, 10:47:04 AM
Britain remains a philistine country.

Similar story to yours at Morar Hotel, the receptionists looking at me like I was asking about nuclear physics. I'd read there was a plaque in the lounge but didn't see one, and certainly no statue or anything else.

Probably would be really bad for business, anything to do with art or value. They found this guy working in the kitchens who knew something about Bax having stayed, though not much. He had a mention on the website but that was it.

There's a bit more to see and do in Glencolumbkille, and I was shown the house he rented.

So much for my plan to go to Morar one day.  ::)

Mind you, when I was in Leningrad in 1985 and went into 'Melodiya' record shop in Nevsky Prospect and asked if they had any LPs of Miaskovsky they looked at me like I was mad. Surprisingly, a friend of mine was amazed that they did seem to have many recordings of music by Bax until he realised that 'Bax' meant 'Bach' in Russian!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 11, 2015, 10:47:33 AM
No matter.  Sir Arnold's spirit is in the woods and in the mist and myths...and the wonderful music he left us.

That is so true.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on June 11, 2015, 11:26:14 AM
Hi vandermolen, sure, I know about the Bax spelling thing, thanks. Morar is certainly a lovely area while Glencolumbkille has a different character, a bit peculiar and rugged where the storms can get violent, and I noticed that the sound of the waves is very audible from Bax's house- I assume he liked it!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 11, 2015, 11:31:36 AM
Hi vandermolen, sure, I know about the Bax spelling thing, thanks. Morar is certainly a lovely area while Glencolumbkille has a different character, a bit peculiar and rugged where the storms can get violent, and I noticed that the sound of the waves is very audible from Bax's house- I assume he liked it!
Thanks Sean nice to hear.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Christo on June 13, 2015, 02:04:47 AM
a friend of mine was amazed that they did seem to have many recordings of music by Bax until he realised that 'Bax' meant 'Bach' in Russian!

I think I confessed here before, that on my first 'Russian' Tour I experienced the same illusion in a music store in Moscow - though it didn't last long.  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 13, 2015, 03:13:06 AM
I think I confessed here before, that on my first 'Russian' Tour I experienced the same illusion in a music store in Moscow - though it didn't last long.  ;D
:)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on October 26, 2015, 09:49:01 PM
It's been a while since I've posted here, but I noticed a new recording of the cello concerto is out on Lyrita. As far as I know, the only other recording is the one on Chandos from the 80s. Has anyone heard this new one?


(http://www.wyastone.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/s/r/srcd351_inlay.jpg)

In addition, there has been no mention of the recording Chandos a few years ago of the Viola Phantasy! Handley recorded the viola phantasy in the 90's, but as I recall it was difficult to find. Thisrecording of the Overture, Elegy & Rondo in my opinion is stronger than the Wordsworth version on Marco Polo/Naxos.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/814JxlaxDJL._SL1410_.jpg)


And it looks like we are still waiting for the Downes 3rd to come out on CD...sigh. I've actually just ordered the Lloyd Jones recordings of the symphonies. It's been some time since I've listened to Bax (already having the Thomson, the Handley, and the various Lyrita recordings), and I look forward to hearing the Naxos recordings for the first time.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on October 26, 2015, 11:21:46 PM
No, but Lyrita is a class-act label, so I'm sure it is pretty good.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: calyptorhynchus on October 27, 2015, 06:48:56 PM
I listened to the only recording of Bax's String Quintet recently and was a bit bemused to find it was a single movement 11 minue work (though a very fine one).

Does anyone know why Bax titled this work String Quintet instead of 'movement for String Quintet', or didn't give it a tone-poem like title?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on October 29, 2015, 01:09:57 AM
The Parlett catalogue says the String quintet is a full length work...

http://www.davidparlett.co.uk/bax/bax0509.html

Quintet in G
    107. For 2 violins, viola, 2 cellos. First performed in 1908, it was described by one critic as "Elaborate, but dull and diffuse". Its second performance, by the 'Divertimenti' at the Lichfield Festival of 2001, revealed this substantial work - in four movements and lasting about 35 minutes - to be full of sparkle, vigour and inventiveness, leaving one to wonder whether the 1908 critic had been awake and sober at the time. Bax reworked a theme from the first movement as the piano piece A Hill Tune (1920) and later revised the slow movement as Lyrical Interlude (1922).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: calyptorhynchus on October 29, 2015, 07:35:08 PM
Nah, wrong one

String Quintet
319. For 2 violins, 2 violas 1 cello; in one movement.

from 1933

The reason I didn't know is that I downloaded the tracks (having paid for them) but didn't get the booklet. Just now I remembered that you can download the booklet from the Chandos without having bought it. And I did, and this is what Lewis Foreman says about it:

This later quintet is characterized by its
constant changes of texture and tempo, the
score littered with dynamic markings.
Falling between the Fifth and Sixth
Symphonies in Bax’s output, this manyfaceted
score again reflects Bax’s love affair
with Ireland, from the overtly Irish jig to the
many passages of nature painting evoked
with a wonderfully varied palette, at one
place foreshadowing the running semiquavers
from the opening Allegro con fuoco of
the Sixth Symphony. But Bax is viewing his
adopted country from ten years after ‘the
troubles’ and despite conflicting memories
the final statement of the jig is triumphal.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sean on October 30, 2015, 01:06:11 AM
Thanks, I didn't know about the second quintet and don't know of recordings of either.

Let's hope Chandos finally complete their Bax survey and issue the complete works...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax - Halloween concert?
Post by: Scion7 on October 30, 2015, 02:53:53 AM
According to the Bax 'official' site:

The Foothills Philharmonic
 
October 31st – Into the Woods

The Foothills Philharmonic
Kory Vrieze, conductor

Bax: November Woods   20’

Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night   15’
Night’s Dream Overture

Greer First Baptist Church in Greer, South Carolina

(http://s12.postimg.org/bcvs4sm7h/Greer_SC.jpg)

Bizarre timing.  I would go, but have plans for Halloween night.

(http://www.foothillsphil.org/FoothillsPhilharmonic/Welcome_files/shapeimage_2.png)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on October 31, 2015, 01:28:59 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/55gAAOxyONBSZq6B/s-l1600.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on October 31, 2015, 01:37:46 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/a/(KGrHqV,!oEFCyPWfZ7MBQ7I(LyTsQ~~/s-l1600.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on October 31, 2015, 01:45:36 AM
(http://s31.postimg.org/wpl4l9al7/m_Trios_Flut_Viola_Harp_Bax.jpg)

Rather like this one!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on October 31, 2015, 05:57:35 AM
Sadly I see no sign of Downes's Third coming out on CD. It is my favourite recording of the symphony. Lyrita were interested in releasing it years ago but nothing ever happened.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax -- how much fun is the clarinet sonata?
Post by: Scion7 on November 01, 2015, 08:40:07 AM
Probably a question for Karl, et al, but is his 1934 Clarinet Sonata (in D major) fun to play?  Is it technically difficult?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 19, 2016, 07:56:09 AM
Probably a question for Karl, et al, but is his 1934 Clarinet Sonata (in D major) fun to play?  Is it technically difficult?

Sorry to leave this unanswered . . . also, that this is itself a non-answer.  I do not know the piece!

What brings me here today, though . . . I wonder if I should worry?  Jeffrey made a post on the Finzi thread, and now at last I've ordered a Bax disc.  Thomson conducting the Ulster Orchestra in Tintagel, a piece which an old conductor friend of mine has long advocated, and the London Phil in Christmas Eve &c.  I was really touched while listening to the sample from Christmas Eve.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51inVVe9KbL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2016, 12:01:04 PM
Sorry to leave this unanswered . . . also, that this is itself a non-answer.  I do not know the piece!

What brings me here today, though . . . I wonder if I should worry?  Jeffrey made a post on the Finzi thread, and now at last I've ordered a Bax disc.  Thomson conducting the Ulster Orchestra in Tintagel, a piece which an old conductor friend of mine has long advocated, and the London Phil in Christmas Eve &c.  I was really touched while listening to the sample from Christmas Eve.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51inVVe9KbL._SY355_.jpg)
That's such a great CD Karl and I can't wait to hear what you think of it. Christmas Eve which refers to a moment of peace in war torn Ireland is a beautiful and largely unknown work. The full title is 'Christmas Eve in the Mountains'. The CD you ordered is my favourite Bax CD - even better than the reissue (posted by me in the Finzi thread) which replaced Bryden Thomson's magnificent recording of 'Tintagel' with some less interesting work. Even the 'Festival Overture' despite its unpromising title and conventional introduction suddenly develops in a characteristically heart-felt and moving Baxian theme. The CD includes the best version of 'Nympholept' which I originally heard used in a TV documentary about the life of JRR Tolkein - it was suitably mysterious and magical for its purpose. 'Paen' - a tribute to Henry Wood, the conductor is a hoot it was originally for piano (there is a Naxos recording) and was orchestrated as a tribute to Wood. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on April 19, 2016, 01:45:23 PM
from 1968 - maybe released later on CD (torn up by composer, probably) - neat cover:

(http://s31.postimg.org/6u6fz6f2z/s_l500_1968.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k55a0jCTaj0
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2016, 08:45:48 PM
from 1968 - maybe released later on CD (torn up by composer, probably) - neat cover:

(http://s31.postimg.org/6u6fz6f2z/s_l500_1968.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k55a0jCTaj0
I used to listen to that LP in the university music library when I was a student!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 20, 2016, 02:46:57 AM
That's such a great CD Karl and I can't wait to hear what you think of it. Christmas Eve which refers to a moment of peace in war torn Ireland is a beautiful and largely unknown work. The full title is 'Christmas Eve in the Mountains'. The CD you ordered is my favourite Bax CD - even better than the reissue (posted by me in the Finzi thread) which replaced Bryden Thomson's magnificent recording of 'Tintagel' with some less interesting work. Even the 'Festival Overture' despite its unpromising title and conventional introduction suddenly develops in a characteristically heart-felt and moving Baxian theme. The CD includes the best version of 'Nympholept' which I originally heard used in a TV documentary about the life of JRR Tolkein - it was suitably mysterious and magical for its purpose. 'Paen' - a tribute to Henry Wood, the conductor is a hoot it was originally for piano (there is a Naxos recording) and was orchestrated as a tribute to Wood. :)

Aye, I heard (and enjoyed so much that I placed an order) the samples, and particularly enjoyed the good cheer of Paean.  I read a thoughtful and mixed review on Amazon, the reviewer gave the disc five stars in spite of his own reservations (e.g., The Paean is a big noise but mercifully short as it is not true Bax music.)  I do not anticipate finding the Paean (nor indeed Christmas Eve, which the reviewer considers "disappointing") objectionable as he seems.

Your wish is my command Karl ;D
I've fished out the CD:
Bax derived the name 'Irravel' from the Irish Gaelic, characterising the dancer as a 'fantastic dream impersonation of a reckless impossible mood or whim...at the close the music becomes more and more remote in mood and harmonically bizarre, as though the vision were gradually fading away.
Apparently the work anticipates 'La Valse' by Ravel, written several years later.

Thank you, sir!  And you are right (and the reviewer, above, wrong):  the Bax is from 1913, and the Ravel at the end of that decade.

For entertainment purposes only, here is that review in toto:

Quote
This CD is packed (75 minutes) with Bax's music of varying quality. We have two of Bax's very best tone poems, Tintagel and Nympholept. The Dance of Wild Irravel is an early work of 1913 and is very fine indeed, with Bax using the nightmarish quality of the fin de siecle Ravel's 'La Valse' as a conceptual model although not at all in its musicality. The orchestration is a tour de force in Bax's luxuriant style although the piece is only 5 minutes long. The Paean is a big noise but mercifully short as it is not true Bax music. The 'Christmas Eve' tone poem is supposedly a rumination on 800 years of Ireland's sad history on a frosty Christmas evening written in 1912. The piece has some quality to it, with little deft touches with drifting woodwind performing a deux with celesta. However, the work in general in diappointing and seems too long for its material. It is almost as if Bax is working his way up to saying something characteristic, a big tune maybe, but just doesn't get around to it. The 'ecstasy' seems a little stilted and self conscious. Bax was well able to provide his listeners with this sort of musical experience at this time of his life, as for example in 'Spring Fire' so it is a mystery why he seems to fall short here. Nevertheless, the piece is very nice and well worth the room on this CD. The Festival Overture is similarly lacking in the Bax magic, but has a youthful exuberance which carries it through. Now for the meat on this CD. Tintagel was the first Bax I ever heard on vinyl and it never fails to excite with its crashing waves on the strings and its ruined castle in the magnificent brass. The whooping horns here are thrilling indeed, a true Bax finger print as in works like his 3rd Symphony. The quotation from 'Tristan' is nicely done and so seamless is it fitted into the work that it appears more contrived in Wagner's original after hearing Bax's 'Tintagel'. The final coda and climax is some of the most exciting music I have ever heard in my life. It must be played with all the stops out and Thomson does not stint in his crescendi and arching climax at the end under the rolling kettle drum. The horns particularly do him proud and as every Baxian knows this is a must! Nympholept is 'fairy Bax' and to my mind represents Bax at his very very best, coming at the same time as he wrote 'the Garden of Fand' when his need to write music was very strong. I believe that Bax's handling of the orchestra at this point of his career was the best he ever did and never matched again. The sheer glory of the orchestra in this form, the richness of color, the power of his musical imagination are not found in any other composer to my mind. It is as if Bax's technique at this point is so developed flamboyantly that he could write anything he wanted and succeed. The flow of ideas and their development are like the tendrils of plants in a tropical environment, wrapping their way quickly around the musical forms and climbing into a irresistible climax and falling back into 'le petit mort'. This is the apex of the history of romantic music. After this, everything would be going down for you could not keep this up. For 'Nympholept' alone this CD would be worth it so this CD must be a top mark recomendation.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 22, 2017, 05:27:40 AM
I'm listening to this cd,now. I think this is my favourite recording of Bax's third symphony.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51k95BKbEzL._SL500__zpsyftjkfvq.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 22, 2017, 07:23:34 AM
Spring Fire,one of my favourite peces of music by Bax. I like the fill-ups (don't really like that term!) too. The Northern Ballads are big favourites here! This cd is from the Chandos glory years. How the mighty fall!

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51UVHGepJL_zpsuuwf9lec.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 22, 2017, 07:36:51 AM
I'm listening to the Symphonic Scherzo. This is a short piece lasting 7:25 on track 6 of the above cd. It doesn't get mentioned much and I suppose it is relatively slight in comparison to the other music on this cd,but I actually find this quite an exciting,exhilarating piece of music.
I love the brooding,growly introductory bars of the Northern Ballad No 2,that follows. I love the lean,steely,legendary atmosphere and  sound world of these Ballads and the landscapes of the mind they evoke.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax - Halloween concert?
Post by: motoboy on January 22, 2017, 10:05:09 AM
According to the Bax 'official' site:

The Foothills Philharmonic
 
October 31st – Into the Woods

The Foothills Philharmonic
Kory Vrieze, conductor

Bax: November Woods   20’

Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night   15’
Night’s Dream Overture

Greer First Baptist Church in Greer, South Carolina

(http://s12.postimg.org/bcvs4sm7h/Greer_SC.jpg)

Bizarre timing.  I would go, but have plans for Halloween night.

(http://www.foothillsphil.org/FoothillsPhilharmonic/Welcome_files/shapeimage_2.png)

Ha! I playedtrumpet in that concert! It was loads of fun. I didn't know much about Bax until then, but now am hooked.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 22, 2017, 01:52:33 PM
I'm listening to this cd,now. I think this is my favourite recording of Bax's third symphony.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51k95BKbEzL._SL500__zpsyftjkfvq.jpg)
This is one of my favourite CDs of all time not only because of the performances but also because of the programme. I love every work and Bax's Third Symphony is one of my favourite British symphonies although I still live in, probably misguided, hope that Edward Downes's RCA recording with the LSO will appear on CD one day. I love the way the EMI disc ends with the rather touching performance of the piano piece 'April' by the composer himself.

I must get to know 'Spring Fire' better.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on January 22, 2017, 01:53:17 PM


 Thomson conducting the Ulster Orchestra in Tintagel, a piece which an old conductor friend of mine has long advocated, and the London Phil in Christmas Eve &c.  I was really touched while listening to the sample from Christmas Eve.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51inVVe9KbL._SY355_.jpg)
Didn't you post this video awhile back? A great performance of Tintagel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk)

A pretty much unknown orchestra and a not big name conductor really put a charge in this music. And yes the 2 women flute players are pretty cute too.

I can't get over Tintagel. I don't think Bax ever wrote anything nearly as evocative or as masterfully orchestrated.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 22, 2017, 04:17:15 PM
Didn't you post this video awhile back? A great performance of Tintagel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk)

A pretty much unknown orchestra and a not big name conductor really put a charge in this music. And yes the 2 women flute players are pretty cute too.

I can't get over Tintagel. I don't think Bax ever wrote anything nearly as evocative or as masterfully orchestrated.
What an excellent performance. Thanks for posting it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on January 22, 2017, 04:28:57 PM
What an excellent performance. Thanks for posting it.
Yes there is a flexibility of tempo, great brass playing, excellent wind details, and a warmth you almost never hear with this music.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 23, 2017, 12:26:31 AM
Yes there is a flexibility of tempo, great brass playing, excellent wind details, and a warmth you almost never hear with this music.
I really liked the opening. I'd love to hear it live. I've heard symphonies 5 and 2 in concert.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 03:28:11 AM
A lovely Violin Concerto!

I like the music of Arnold Bax....but,at his worst I can actually find myself agreeing with the dreaded Hurwitz! ::) Case in point! Nympholept! The title is bad enough, Nympho-lept!! ??? ::) I've had to turn it off twice this week. Another example is Into the Twilight!! This was the second item on the Chandos cd Tone Poems Vol 2. At this point I couldn't take any more. Off it went! At times like this I can see Hurwitz's point about,"not enough contrast". They just seem to noodle relentlessly on,one after the other!! Phew!! But,each to his own. If you enjoy it,good for you.
And then suddenly,Bax will surprise me. I put the Violin Concerto on. This is regarded as one of his weaker works. But what a lovely melody in the first movement. I keep on listening through the entire work. I'm entranced! What a lovely concerto!! :) Even more surprisingly I enjoyed 'A Legend' and his 'Romantic Overture'. I love the use of that piano. And the Incidental music to 'golden Eagle' is nice. Yet,these are all supposed to be Bax at his worst!! ??? ;D

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51iFxxLxp0L_zps2nmm5cxh.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 04:50:49 AM
A lovely Violin Concerto!

I like the music of Arnold Bax....but,at his worst I can actually find myself agreeing with the dreaded Hurwitz! ::) Case in point! Nympholept! The title is bad enough, Nympho-lept!! ??? ::) I've had to turn it off twice this week. Another example is Into the Twilight!! This was the second item on the Chandos cd Tone Poems Vol 2. At this point I couldn't take any more. Off it went! At times like this I can see Hurwitz's point about,"not enough contrast". They just seem to noodle relentlessly on,one after the other!! Phew!! But,each to his own. If you enjoy it,good for you.
And then suddenly,Bax will surprise me. I put the Violin Concerto on. This is regarded as one of his weaker works. But what a lovely melody in the first movement. I keep on listening through the entire work. I'm entranced! What a lovely concerto!! :) Even more surprisingly I enjoyed 'A Legend' and his 'Romantic Overture'. I love the use of that piano. And the Incidental music to 'golden Eagle' is nice. Yet,these are all supposed to be Bax at his worst!! ??? ;D

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51iFxxLxp0L_zps2nmm5cxh.jpg)
Oh, I like Nympholept - the Bryden Thomson version is the best. I first heard it as atmospheric background music for a TV documentary about J.R.R. Tolkien years ago.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 05:23:25 AM
I like the music of Arnold Bax....but,at his worst I can actually find myself agreeing with the dreaded Hurwitz! ::) Case in point! Nympholept! The title is bad enough, Nympho-lept!! ??? ::) I've had to turn it off twice this week.

Oh, I like Nympholept

I like it too, especially what sounds like a seascape, the tide rolling in, starting around 2:50 in the Thomson recording. Then we're off, chasing nymphs though the woodlands. What's not to like?  ;D

...Away she scampered, feigning fear
And her bare shoulder as my guide
I chased all day the elfin bride

And ere the dusk had dimmed the skies
I trapped her fast and learned this thing
That demon birth of wanton spring
With pointed ears and slanted eyes
Had surer wisdom than the wise.

                               --Arnold Bax, "Nympholept"
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 06:11:26 AM
The off button?!! ;D It would be fun to force David Hurwitz to listen ALL the way through it. But I mustn't condone violence! ;D

I really am enjoying the Cello Concerto,though! And I'm not usually that keen on Cello Concertos! Another great cover photo,too!!

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/61W6nc9QIYL_zpsvcfude6f.jpg)

To coin a phrase. What not to like?!! 8)

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 06:32:15 AM
I suppose I'm biased towards Bryden Thomson (I'm a bit of a fan of the late conductor) but I think I prefer this recording of the 'Northern Ballad No 3' to the one conducted by Vernon Handley? Downes is good,too!

Handley: 8:16
Downes: 7:41
Thomson: 8:35

(Timings taken from cd booklets)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 06:38:19 AM
Following Ghost Sonata's choosing it as one of the five works that have meant the most to him I have been listening to 'The Tale the Pine Trees Knew' with much enjoyment. It is much better than I thought. I'm listening to the Thomson recording but there are several recordings including one on Naxos with the epic Symphony 5:


This CD is dirt cheap on the U.S. Amazon site.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 06:45:34 AM
Following Ghost Sonata's choosing it as one of the five works that have meant the most to him I have been listening to 'The Tale the Pine Trees Knew' with much enjoyment. It is much better than I thought. I'm listening to the Thomson recording but there are several recordings including one on Naxos with the epic Symphony 5.

I'm about to listen to "Pine Trees", having already heard today the other three works on this CD:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/julygmg/baxtonepoems2thomson.jpg)


I confess I liked "Twilight" more than the Hurwitzer and the Cilg  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 06:51:51 AM
The off button?!! ;D It would be fun to force David Hurwitz to listen ALL the way through it. But I mustn't condone violence! ;D]

 ;D :D ;D


I really am enjoying the Cello Concerto,though! And I'm not usually that keen on Cello Concertos! Another great cover photo,too!!

I don't have that. Must see if it's on YouTube. Don't have any of the Northern Ballads either (you mentioned the Second the other day) but I just ordered 2 & 3 coupled with Spring Fire.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 06:53:42 AM
I'm about to listen to "Pine Trees", having already heard today the other three works on this CD:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/julygmg/baxtonepoems2thomson.jpg)


I confess I liked "Twilight" more than the Hurwitzer and the Cilg  :D

Sarge
That's the CD I have Sarge with a great cover photo. The very bright green CD I posted above is basically the same CD that you have (now very expensive) plus 'On the Sea Shore' which I'm about to explore and 'A Legend'. Let us know what you find amongst the pine trees!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 07:00:05 AM
Sarge,I'll listen to them again at the weekend with can in hand. I may be in the right mood for a Nympholept,then?!! ::) ;D
I DO like 'The Tale the Pine Trees Knew'. (I like pine trees for a start!) I like that steely,more austere sound.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 07:09:32 AM
Sarge,I'll listen to them again at the weekend with can in hand. I may be in the right mood for a Nympholept,then?!! ::) ;D
I DO like 'The Tale the Pine Trees Knew'. (I like pine trees for a start!) I like that steely,more austere sound.
Me too  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 07:15:38 AM
Sarge,I'd get the one with that nice photo (if I didn't have it already! :P)! Your decision,but I know from bitter experience the way cover art comes back to haunt you!! ??? :(
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 07:47:01 AM
Sarge,I'd get the one with that nice photo (if I didn't have it already! :P)! Your decision,but I know from bitter experience the way cover art comes back to haunt you!! ??? :(

Are you talking about the Chandos Spring Fire/Ballads? Normally I prefer the Chandos originals but in this case the lowest price at Amazon DE for a new CD with the "orgy" cover is nearly four times what this version costs:

 

The original also has less music (e.g., only one of the Ballads). So I ordered the newer, cheaper, longer version.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 07:53:54 AM
Let us know what you find amongst the pine trees!

Despite its cool title, it's remains one of the harder Baxian nuts for me to crack. I'm repeating it now, hoping something about it will grab me.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 24, 2017, 07:58:12 AM
“Turned out, the pine trees didn’t know all that much!”  (Just kidding!)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 08:04:52 AM
I'm repeating it now, hoping something about it will grab me.

Well, it does have a haunting ending (the last minute or so).

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 08:22:30 AM
Actually,I'm going to have to listen to it again. I certainly like the title. I like that later,leaner,steelier Bax sound and I like the way it ends.  I wouldn't put it up there with the Northern Ballads,November Woods,though...and certainly not The Garden of Fand ....or,well you know the one?!! ;D I don't think it has such memorable ideas.
I'm going to take the Moeran Rhapsodies off now & pop it on!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 08:32:59 AM
This might put you in the mood,Sarge?! ;D I Don't think this performance has ever made it to cd,has it? A nice photo. This would have really put me in the right mood.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/71pWlhnahoL._AA1500__zpsxg19xkqa.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 08:39:30 AM
Yes,I like this. That Northern ,wintry atmosphere. Legends.Mysterious! :)
What's not to like,Sarge?!! ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 09:58:05 AM
What's not to like,Sarge?!! ;D

 ;D :D ;D  ...yeah, that's the question I've been asking myself, with no answers forthcoming. Strange...but then Bax has always been a bit of a problem for me. I've warmed to him slowly, piece by piece. And it's not like I haven't given "Piney" a chance. I've owned that CD for at least 25 years!

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 10:23:19 AM
What's another ten years?! You never know?!! ;D  And you definitely prefer Into the Twilight and  Nympholept?!! ???
I like The Tale the Pine Trees Knew (okay,I'm going to leave out the italics this time!) but I Think the Northern Ballads,TGOF,Tintagel,November Woods and Tintagel have more memorable ideas though. I still like it,though! It's that cold,steely,northern atmosphere I can feel myself shivering just listening to it!

Wait a minute,I haven't turned the storage heaters up!! ??? :( ;D



Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 12:36:07 PM
This is one I definitely like. I used to play this all the time when I was young;and usually full blast! I don't play it as much as I used to,but I still like it for that epic,legendary quality. This is pretty purple heart on sleeve stuff for a British composer. Those huge,noisy,speaker pulverising climaxes were big favourites back then. It is intensely romantic and tempestuous,to say the least. I remember I had a crush on some girl at the time. This got played allot for some reason?!! ::) ;D

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51AfdmAq9UL_zpsyi1dsrko.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 12:36:23 PM
What's another ten years?! You never know?!! ;D  And you definitely prefer Into the Twilight and  Nympholept?!! ???

At this moment, yes...definitely. In the Faery Hills too. But who knows what tomorrow may bring (I plan to give Piney another spin).

Is everyone in agreement that Tintagel and Christmas Eve are his best tone poems?


Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 12:48:41 PM
Erm,Tintagel! ;D I would like to have the original  cd with Christmas Eve on it,though. For the wonderful wintry scene on the front,primarily,I'm afraid! (I've only got the symphony on the old Thomson box set). I've got the Lp somewhere,too! I don't have it now......I erm (I really do hate to tell you this!) but I'm afraid the YMCA got given the tone poems cd with Xmas Eve on it ::). Radio 3 play it every Xmas,and I think vandermolen is a fan?

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 12:51:44 PM
I'm listening to the Symphonic Variations now (Fingerhut/Thomson).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: André on January 24, 2017, 12:57:19 PM
For the unquenchable baxian, there is this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91DgPCooyTL._SX522_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)


Amazon reviewers' reviews are mixed, but tend to be favourable. In short: a full-fledged Bax score (written down to the last double bar line by the composer) orchestrated by the indefatigable Martin Yates.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 01:09:52 PM
This might put you in the mood,Sarge?! ;D I Don't think this performance has ever made it to cd,has it? A nice photo. This would have really put me in the right mood.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/71pWlhnahoL._AA1500__zpsxg19xkqa.jpg)
Yes, I have that CD on the Concert Artist CD label. It was one of the few genuine releases (along with Vernon Handley's Guildford Philharmonic premiere recording of Bax's Fourth Symphony) on the label that perpetrated the notorious Joyce Hatto fraud.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 01:14:12 PM
Erm,Tintagel! ;D I would like to have the original  cd with Christmas Eve on it,though. For the wonderful wintry scene on the front,primarily,I'm afraid! (I've only got the symphony on the old Thomson box set). I've got the Lp somewhere,too! I don't have it now......I erm (I really do hate to tell you this!) but I'm afraid the YMCA got given the tone poems cd with Xmas Eve on it ::). Radio 3 play it every Xmas,and I think vandermolen is a fan?
Yes, that Christmas Eve CD (the one with Tintagel, Nympholept and Paen) is my favourite Bax CD. Even the unpromising sounding 'Festival Overture' is fully characteristic. I prefer the Symphonic Variations to Winter Legends.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 24, 2017, 01:18:08 PM
Erm,Tintagel! ;D I would like to have the original  cd with Christmas Eve on it,though. For the wonderful wintry scene on the front,primarily,I'm afraid!

I have that.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/julygmg/Bax1Thom.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 01:35:51 PM
Yes, that Christmas Eve CD (the one with Tintagel, Nympholept and Paen) is my favourite Bax CD. Even the unpromising founding 'Festival Overture' is fully characteristic. I prefer the Symphonic Variations to Winter Legends.
And I prefer Winter Legends!! ;D Although,as I said,I don't play it as much as I used to. Here's another one with the Lady herself! Wow!! I love this....even if the sound isn't exactly brilliant,even for it's time. I remember Michael G Thomas (who used to advertise regularly in Gramophone)  had a cassette of this advertised,back in the 80's. I mulled over buying it,but never did! They used to advertise all kinds of strange fare in their lists. I got my Aries Lp of Brian's third from them. I didn't know it was pirated at the time! I remember thinking it was a bit strange. (Eat your heart out,Sherlock Holmes! More like Nigel Bruce in the old films,probably! ::)))  have told you this before,of course!!

The 'fill-up' items are good,too.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51zJcEQqLsL_zpsjkpxnngw.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 01:43:25 PM
I'm listening to Cohen playing Winter Legends now. Lucky you,Sarge,having that cd. (Hello a certain purveyor of s/h cds!!). I'm trying to save until at least Easter,though! I think I will enjoy Xmas Eve more coupled with the First Symphony and that photo!
I'm sure I had that cd,vandermolen. I'm glad I didn't buy any of those Joyce Hatto cds. I didn't realise it had been released on cd. Is it still coupled with the Moeran?
André. I have been mulling over having another go at that Symphony in F,when I can find it? It's in a wallet,in a box,with the booklet and inlays somewhere else?!! ::)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 24, 2017, 02:02:21 PM
Yes, I have that CD on the Concert Artist CD label. It was one of the few genuine releases (along with Vernon Handley's Guildford Philharmonic premiere recording of Bax's Fourth Symphony) on the label that perpetrated the notorious Joyce Hatto fraud.
I've been reading about the Joyce Hatto fraud, very amusing. It completely passed me by the time, I guess because all the attributed music was (and is) of no interest to me whatsoever.

But it does tend to make you sceptical of reviewers. I realise that faced with a single CD of piano music it would be difficult to say "This is not Joyce Hatto playing", but various people were building her up as a great virtuoso and you would have thought that they would have realised that they were dealing with various different pianists!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 02:42:37 PM
I'm listening to Cohen playing Winter Legends now. Lucky you,Sarge,having that cd. (Hello a certain purveyor of s/h cds!!). I'm trying to save until at least Easter,though! I think I will enjoy Xmas Eve more coupled with the First Symphony and that photo!
I'm sure I had that cd,vandermolen. I'm glad I didn't buy any of those Joyce Hatto cds. I didn't realise it had been released on cd. Is it still coupled with the Moeran?
André. I have been mulling over having another go at that Symphony in F,when I can find it? It's in a wallet,in a box,with the booklet and inlays somewhere else?!! ::)
Having checked, it is not. The Pine Trees appears not to have made it to CD. Bax's 4th is coupled with Moeran's Serenade and the Symphonic Variations has a CD to itself. They also sent me a freebie - one of the fraudulent recordings of Rachmaninov piano concertos.
The fraud was a tragi-comedy. Here is a documentary about it.
https://youtu.be/cG5MxQTOThk

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 02:43:56 PM
And I prefer Winter Legends!! ;D Although,as I said,I don't play it as much as I used to. Here's another one with the Lady herself! Wow!! I love this....even if the sound isn't exactly brilliant,even for it's time. I remember Michael G Thomas (who used to advertise regularly in Gramophone)  had a cassette of this advertised,back in the 80's. I mulled over buying it,but never did! They used to advertise all kinds of strange fare in their lists. I got my Aries Lp of Brian's third from them. I didn't know it was pirated at the time! I remember thinking it was a bit strange. (Eat your heart out,Sherlock Holmes! More like Nigel Bruce in the old films,probably! ::)))  have told you this before,of course!!

The 'fill-up' items are good,too.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51zJcEQqLsL_zpsjkpxnngw.jpg)
That is a nice disc as is Goossens recording of Bax's Second Symphony.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 03:20:03 PM
Yes. I think I prefer this to the Chandos cd,in a way. You feel like you're getting close to the creative forge,as it were. I think the sound is pretty good,considering. Isn't it just good that you can hear this document! I would agree that the Symphonic Variations is more subtle. I think this is a tremendous work,though. The purple bits though,are very purple! Fun,I think,when you're in the right mood;but these days I prefer some of his more subtle works!! The Symphonies,the previously mentioned concertos, chamber and instrumental music. The Viola Sonata on this cd for example! :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 24, 2017, 03:33:37 PM
I've got this lined up for playing. Possibly not today,or what's left of it. I just saw the price of this on Amazon now. I'm glad I bought it when I did!!
I wouldn't mind that 2cd Harriet Cohen collection on APR if I had limitless funds. Great photo of her!! ??? ;D Sadly,other cds (and possibly dvd's) have to take priority. By the time I can afford,it'll probably be a mortgage job!She's on this Symposium set,though. Oliver Twist and Morning Song. It's funny how I'm listening to the soundtrack when I watch that film,now. (I'm not a Dickens fan. Although I have got a dvd of David Copperfield with WC Fields in it! Actually,I bought it for him!! ::)).

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/41eLLDvtT-L_zpsw5frdn9n.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 24, 2017, 03:42:09 PM
I've got this lined up for playing. Possibly not today,or what's left of it. I just saw the price of this on Amazon now. I'm glad I bought it when I did!!
I wouldn't mind that 2cd Harriet Cohen collection on APR if I had limitless funds. Great photo of her!! ??? ;D Sadly,other cds (and possibly dvd's) have to take priority. By the time I can afford,it'll probably be a mortgage job!She's on this Symposium set,though. Oliver Twist and Morning Song. It's funny how I'm listening to the soundtrack when I watch that film,now. (I'm not a Dickens fan. Although I have got a dvd of David Copperfield with WC Fields in it! Actually,I bought it for him!! ::)).

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/41eLLDvtT-L_zpsw5frdn9n.jpg)
OT
The W.C.Fields portrayal of Micawber is marvellous in that film although the best film adaptation of Dickens is David Lean's 'Great Expectations'.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: André on January 24, 2017, 04:03:31 PM
I'm listening to Cohen playing Winter Legends now. Lucky you,Sarge,having that cd. (Hello a certain purveyor of s/h cds!!). I'm trying to save until at least Easter,though! I think I will enjoy Xmas Eve more coupled with the First Symphony and that photo!
I'm sure I had that cd,vandermolen. I'm glad I didn't buy any of those Joyce Hatto cds. I didn't realise it had been released on cd. Is it still coupled with the Moeran?
André. I have been mulling over having another go at that Symphony in F,when I can find it? It's in a wallet,in a box,with the booklet and inlays somewhere else?!! ::)

Here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Symphony-F-Bax-x/dp/B00HAV1HYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1485302522&sr=1-1&keywords=Bax+dutton (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Symphony-F-Bax-x/dp/B00HAV1HYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1485302522&sr=1-1&keywords=Bax+dutton)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2017, 08:58:45 PM
All of this talk of Bax is making want to dig out my Chandos recordings. ;D I must say that I'm still quite cautious whenever I listen to Bax as his sound-world doesn't draw me in as there doesn't seem to be any kind of access points. I know Bax's music is heavy on atmosphere, but atmosphere alone doesn't really mean that much to me whenever there's no kind of leading melody or standout motif that sets everything in a direction that's easier to follow.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 25, 2017, 03:17:47 AM
All of this talk of Bax is making want to dig out my Chandos recordings. ;D I must say that I'm still quite cautious whenever I listen to Bax as his sound-world doesn't draw me in as there doesn't seem to be any kind of access points. I know Bax's music is heavy on atmosphere, but atmosphere alone doesn't really mean that much to me whenever there's no kind of leading melody or standout motif that sets everything in a direction that's easier to follow.
John, I think that Symphony 5 is the most integrated of the seven but the Lyrita performance with Raymond Leppard is, in my view, by far the best.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Ghost Sonata on January 25, 2017, 05:29:34 AM
So, did Harriet Cohen really love Bax or was she just playing him?  :laugh: :laugh:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 25, 2017, 06:15:41 AM
OT
The W.C.Fields portrayal of Micawber is marvellous in that film although the best film adaptation of Dickens is David Lean's 'Great Expectations'.
I agree. David Copperfield is very good,though. The first Ihr 20 mins or so are excellent.... But the last 40 mins or so get a bit sentimental (in the American way!)& I'm not so keen on the actor who plays Copperfield when he's grown up. Worth waiting for the ending,though,with WC Fields again! My father is a big fan of WC Fields. A few years ago I bought a box set of his films for him,thinking I wouldn't like them that much.....now I'm a fan,too! And what this has got to do with Bax,I don't know?! Oh,yes! Bax composed the music for Oliver Twist,which is a pretty good film,too! ;D And I do mean the one with Robert (Ooh Arr Jim me lad!) Newton,not Lionel Bart!! ;D

Ghost Sonata. Yes,quite!! ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 25, 2017, 07:54:42 AM
Ballet music by Bax. I enjoyed this. Especially,From Dusk till Dawn with the clock chimes (not to be confused with a certain George Clooney vehicle! ::)). I was listening to this late at night. It was very quiet. I suddenly became aware of this chiming. I was immersed in writing,and I thought,'What's that?' When I realised it was the music I just had to look at the cd to see what the track was called. All in all, a lovely ballet with some delightful and very imaginative orchestral effects. And no,there aren't any zombies!! :( ;D Even better! No George Clooney!! :)
Nice!

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51pc1eFgM3L_zpsvjpiivuz.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 25, 2017, 03:45:04 PM
This is good:


Especially for Symphony 2 which is one of the greatest of the cycle, with its sense of looming catastrophe - something which I naturally relate too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2017, 08:48:27 PM
John, I think that Symphony 5 is the most integrated of the seven but the Lyrita performance with Raymond Leppard is, in my view, by far the best.

Thanks, Jeffrey. Bax just completely baffles me, so it's nice to get an idea of where to go and I suppose Symphony No. 5 is as good of a place to start listening again as any.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2017, 09:41:37 PM
Sir Mark Elder certainly makes a case for Bax's Spring Fire:

https://www.youtube.com/v/hXXQynuxyds
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 26, 2017, 04:23:18 AM
Thanks, Jeffrey. Bax just completely baffles me, so it's nice to get an idea of where to go and I suppose Symphony No. 5 is as good of a place to start listening again as any.
Have you tried Symphonies 1 or 2. They are more angry,defiant,turbulent than the rest. The First is Bax's responce to the Easter uprising in Ireland. The second movement of the First is one of his most stirring. If the opening bars don't catch your imagination or the second movement of No1,then probably nothing else will! There is less of the Baxian nature musing that might put some people off. I'd go for Thomson,not Naxos if you want to try and understand what grabs us Baxians!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 26, 2017, 05:17:02 AM
And no,there aren't any zombies!! :( ;D Even better! No George Clooney!! :)

But unfortunately, no Salma Hayek either  :( ;D

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/feb2016/FDTD%20Salma%20Hayek1024.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 26, 2017, 05:24:35 AM
Have you tried Symphonies 1 or 2. They are more angry,defiant,turbulent than the rest. The First is Bax's responce to the Easter uprising in Ireland. The second movement of the First is one of his most stirring. If the opening bars don't catch your imagination or the second movement of No1,then probably nothing else will! There is less of the Baxian nature musing that might put some people off. I'd go for Thomson,not Naxos if you want to try and understand what grabs us Baxians!

1 & 2 are my favorites of the Baxian seven...athough it was Handley who first made me appreciate them after trying many years with Thomson (a conductor whose more indulgent conducting style--compared to Handley-- I usually appreciate).

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2017, 06:06:53 AM
Have you tried Symphonies 1 or 2. They are more angry,defiant,turbulent than the rest. The First is Bax's responce to the Easter uprising in Ireland. The second movement of the First is one of his most stirring. If the opening bars don't catch your imagination or the second movement of No1,then probably nothing else will! There is less of the Baxian nature musing that might put some people off. I'd go for Thomson,not Naxos if you want to try and understand what grabs us Baxians!

Thanks, cilgwyn. I own all three recorded cycles of Bax's symphonies (Thomson, Handley, and Lloyd-Jones). I remember enjoying Thomson the most. I'll definitely give Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 a listen soon.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 26, 2017, 07:14:58 AM
. . . with its sense of looming catastrophe - something which I naturally relate too.

Oh, we in America, now, too  0:)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 26, 2017, 07:16:45 AM
Thanks, cilgwyn. I own all three recorded cycles of Bax's symphonies (Thomson, Handley, and Lloyd-Jones). I remember enjoying Thomson the most. I'll definitely give Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 a listen soon.
You need to hear these Lyritas too John.  8)
Myer Fredman and Raymond Leppard are unrivalled Baxians as far as I'm concerned.


Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 26, 2017, 07:19:36 AM
Oh, we in America, now, too  0:)
And in post-Brexit Britain  8)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: André on January 26, 2017, 07:21:33 AM
You need to hear these Lyritas too John.  8)
Myer Fredman and Raymond Leppard are unrivalled Baxians as far as I'm concerned.




Great recordings indeed, Jeffrey. IIRC you made me discover them many years ago  :laugh:.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2017, 07:21:52 AM
You need to hear these Lyritas too John.  8)
Myer Fredman and Raymond Leppard are unrivalled Baxians as far as I'm concerned.




I'll definitely check them out, Jeffrey. Thanks!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 26, 2017, 07:24:39 AM
Great recordings indeed, Jeffrey. IIRC you made me discover them many years ago  :laugh:.
:)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 26, 2017, 11:11:58 AM
Regarding this cd.I loved listening to the talk by Bax where he talks about his influences;Yeats and his love of Irish mythology and the music inspired by it. Also,expressing his consternation at the critics making comparisons with Debussy and Repighi at a time when he hadn't even heard any music by these composers. The whole cd is fascinating from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed Goossens performances of Tintagel and Mediterranean. Also the film scores and May Morning with Harriet Cohen playing,and a lovely 1925 (!) recording of his Mater ora filium. The posh,clipped voices announcing Fanfares are fun and very evocative of the time. You also get Harty's rousing performance of the Overture to a Picaresque Comedy. An excellent collection. One of Symposium's best imho!

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/41eLLDvtT-L_zpsw5frdn9n.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 26, 2017, 12:06:02 PM
I love his chamber music. Wonderful,lyrical,passionate,heartfelt,tuneful,romantic music. This has a nice photo on the front. I like trees! :)

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/611GDQx85L_zpscy4gyiv3.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 26, 2017, 12:28:08 PM
What happened to the pine trees?!!! :o ;D I'm afraid I won't be able to resist putting this one on next. Great idea though,putting the Bax & Elgar on one cd. And the more recordings of the Bax the better. And anything that helps flog a cd with Bax on it......within the boundaries of good taste,of course!! Actually,I think the worst thing about is,that it all looks so airbrushed. If they had to have them on the front I think they could have just shown them playing,like normal musicians. They obviously don't need any help from photoshop! Nomination for worst Bax cd cover photo ever? Your call! Their playing is very good,though. Bob Briggs makes an interesting observation about this photo at the end of his very enthusiastic Musicweb review. Indeed.Bax probably would have liked this lot!!

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/71kXjyYNJpL._SL1072__zpsfmuypydw.jpg)

Musicweb review:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Feb08/Elgar_Bax_disc0701.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Feb08/Elgar_Bax_disc0701.htm)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 26, 2017, 02:26:58 PM
Picking up on my earlier post. I like all the music on this Chandos cd  Everything I listened to kept my attention. I never felt there was any note spinning. Lots of lovely melodies and interesting ideas,and great to listen to when you're reading or writing,for example.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/611GDQx85L_zpscy4gyiv3.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 26, 2017, 02:37:21 PM
This one is more sprightly. Quite different. Interesting! A different slant on this lovely,tuneful work.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/71kXjyYNJpL._SL1072__zpsfmuypydw.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 26, 2017, 03:02:58 PM
Picking up on my earlier post. I like all the music on this Chandos cd  Everything I listened to kept my attention. I never felt there was any note spinning. Lots of lovely melodies and interesting ideas,and great to listen to when you're reading or writing,for example.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/611GDQx85L_zpscy4gyiv3.jpg)
The beautiful Harp Quintet is my favourite chamber work by Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on January 26, 2017, 03:44:27 PM
Bax, Bowen and Bliss - the "three B's" of England.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: André on January 26, 2017, 06:03:50 PM
This is another "three B"s winning combo - and a delightful disc to boot!

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51mGLBq-DuL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Scion7 on January 26, 2017, 06:50:14 PM
Britten's sound is nothing like the previous three Romantics I listed.  Ugh.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: André on January 26, 2017, 07:26:06 PM
Absolutely right.  ;)

Still makes for a beautiful program.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2017, 09:27:07 PM
Has anyone heard this before?

https://www.youtube.com/v/gWtmvtuGZZA

Quite fascinating!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 28, 2017, 01:09:22 AM
Has anyone heard this before?

https://www.youtube.com/v/gWtmvtuGZZA

Quite fascinating!
Yes it's fascinating and love the upper class English accent of that period. Vaughan Williams's speech of thanks to the orchestra and Boult  at the end of the Decca recording of Symphony 6 (LPO/Boult) is equally fascinating and rather touching ('...I want to thank you all and when I say 'gentleman' I include the lady harpist etc....') I have a feeling that the Bax speech was included on the CD of historic Bax recordings which cilgwyn posted above. It's very interesting to hear the composer's voices. I recall a soviet LP of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony which included a telephone call between the composer and maybe the conductor or Rostropovich (probably recorded by the KGB!  :(). Shostakovich, rather like Bax,  had a high pitched and nervous sounding voice.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2017, 06:33:04 AM
Yes it's fascinating and love the upper class English accent of that period. Vaughan Williams's speech of thanks to the orchestra and Boult  at the end of the Decca recording of Symphony 6 (LPO/Boult) is equally fascinating and rather touching ('...I want to thank you all and when I say 'gentleman' I include the lady harpist etc....') I have a feeling that the Bax speech was included on the CD of historic Bax recordings which cilgwyn posted above. It's very interesting to hear the composer's voices. I recall a soviet LP of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony which included a telephone call between the composer and maybe the conductor or Rostropovich (probably recorded by the KGB!  :(). Shostakovich, rather like Bax,  had a high pitched and nervous sounding voice.

I always enjoy hearing composer's voices, too, Jeffrey. It kind of brings them down to a more human level that makes me feel that they're just a regular guy like me. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2017, 05:03:45 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Listening' thread -

First-listen to this recording which I've must have owned for a few years now:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/982/MI0000982539.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Northern Ballad No. 1
Mediterranean
The Garden of Fand
Tintagel
November Woods


Extremely impressive so far. Getting my toes wet a bit in the shallow Baxian pool before I head off into the deep end. 8)

This is shaping up to be an outstanding disc. Of course, I'm only starting to get back into Bax and understand his style a bit better. Hopefully, a sign of things to come.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 30, 2017, 09:29:19 AM
You really are enjoying Bax,now?! Imho I think the Boult Lyrita cd is the finest collection of Bax tone poems. I think it is also the most consistent in terms of the quality of the music on it. Others here may disagree. But if I had to pick just one cd of this part of his output!

The recording of Bax speaking on the Symposium cd (and Youtube,apparently) is very interesting. He talks about his dismay at critics making comparisons with Debussy and Respighi,when he hadn't even heard those composers when he wrote the compositions referred to. He also talks about the influence of WB Yeats and Irish Mythology on his compositions. It's not that long a talk,but it is a must listen if you are interested in this composer.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on January 30, 2017, 09:41:32 AM
You really are enjoying Bax,now?! Imho I think the Boult Lyrita cd is the finest collection of Bax tone poems. I think it is also the most consistent in terms of the quality of the music on it. Others here may disagree. But if I had to pick just one cd of this part of his output!

The recording of Bax speaking on the Symposium cd (and Youtube,apparently) is very interesting. He talks about his dismay at critics making comparisons with Debussy and Respighi,when he hadn't even heard those composers when he wrote the compositions referred to. He also talks about the influence of WB Yeats and Irish Mythology on his compositions. It's not that long a talk,but it is a must listen if you are interested in this composer.

Yes, I'm getting into Bax a bit now it seems. I have a lot of catching up to do. I agree with you about the Boult CD. It is excellent.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 30, 2017, 02:06:40 PM
You really are enjoying Bax,now?! Imho I think the Boult Lyrita cd is the finest collection of Bax tone poems. I think it is also the most consistent in terms of the quality of the music on it. Others here may disagree. But if I had to pick just one cd of this part of his output!

The recording of Bax speaking on the Symposium cd (and Youtube,apparently) is very interesting. He talks about his dismay at critics making comparisons with Debussy and Respighi,when he hadn't even heard those composers when he wrote the compositions referred to. He also talks about the influence of WB Yeats and Irish Mythology on his compositions. It's not that long a talk,but it is a must listen if you are interested in this composer.
I totally agree about the Boult CD and I loved the LP, which did not feature 'November Woods' as that was coupled with Moeran's Sinfonietta and Holst's Fugal Overture. I also like Boult's earlier version of Tintagel:


The CD above features the earlier Boult recording of Tintagel. It is also on a more recent Heritage CD but now ridiculously priced. The CD above also features works by Holst, Butterworth and Elgar. Many prefer Barbirolli's more emotional recording of 'Tintagel' but as with Vaughan Williams I prefer Boult's more dispassionate approach to this music.
The review under the CD on US Amazon is interesting too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on January 30, 2017, 03:09:43 PM
There is a Belart cd of these same recordings,isn't there? I've mulled over buying it several times in the last few years but never have,so far!! I do have the Belart cds of VW's mono recordings of 3 & 5 and 7 & 8. I would have had the Sea Symphony,too;but the cd was faulty!!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 31, 2017, 12:09:50 AM
There is a Belart cd of these same recordings,isn't there? I've mulled over buying it several times in the last few years but never have,so far!! I do have the Belart cds of VW's mono recordings of 3 & 5 and 7 & 8. I would have had the Sea Symphony,too;but the cd was faulty!!
The one above is the Belart recording.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 31, 2017, 05:36:23 AM
'In Memoriam' features in a commemorative First World War themed CD coming out this month.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edward-Elgar-Arnold-Bax-Fallen/dp/B01MQNUMVR/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1485869200&sr=1-1&keywords=Sir+Arnold+Bax
Also, Boult's earlier recording of 'Tintagel' from 1954 features on this well-remastered CD:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on May 22, 2017, 06:21:45 PM
Recently I listened to his symphonies (Chandos, Thomson) and I had a 'bittersweet' experience. This composer gave me great expectations, but unfortunately I was dissapointed in some aspects: despite there are appealing works in this field, I felt many diffuse moments, there is no much connection of ideas, there is no integrity and I find an excessive use of percussion and other instruments (the same happened with H. Brian) as if he was trying to fill the lack of tunes with this method, and possibly I think that was one of his fails like composer of symphonies. On the other hand, I did feel many moments of power, subtle beauty and a magic depiction of Ireland and Celtic landscapes. Having said this, my favorite symphonies are the 1st, 3rd, 5th ones and maybe the 6th one and/or the 7th one. Also I've played some tone poems (Christmas Eve, The Garden of Fand, Tintagel, Roscatha and the fiery Paean), I can hear another different Bax in them, indeed they are more cohesive, more compact, more engaging. I will continue exploring his other works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2017, 07:46:07 AM
Recently I listened to his symphonies (Chandos, Thomson) and I had a 'bittersweet' experience. This composer gave me great expectations, but unfortunately I was dissapointed in some aspects: despite there are appealing works in this field, I felt many diffuse moments, there is no much connection of ideas, there is no integrity and I find an excessive use of percussion and other instruments (the same happened with H. Brian) as if he was trying to fill the lack of tunes with this method, and possibly I think that was one of his fails like composer of symphonies. On the other hand, I did feel many moments of power, subtle beauty and a magic depiction of Ireland and Celtic landscapes. Having said this, my favorite symphonies are the 1st, 3rd, 5th ones and maybe the 6th one and/or the 7th one. Also I've played some tone poems (Christmas Eve, The Garden of Fand, Tintagel, Roscatha and the fiery Paean), I can hear another different Bax in them, indeed they are more cohesive, more compact, more engaging. I will continue exploring his other works.
The Fourth is invariably thought to be the weakest of the cycle but I rather like it and No.2 - as well as the ones you mention (actually that covers them all I think!)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 23, 2017, 12:54:36 PM
Funnily enough I think the 4th is greatest of the Bax Symphonies!

I also like 2, 5 and 7.

But I have always found 1*, 3 and 6 to be disappointing, with many of the diffuse moments that SymphonicAddict noted.

*(Disappointing despite the bass oboe  :D )

I think one of the reasons why Bax's works are uneven is that he had a formidable piano technique, and could could sight-read orchestral scores at the piano. I think that he composed the other way round, ie he improvised at the piano, then wrote the improvisation down as a sketch, and later orchestrated it. (The symphony no.1 originated as one of the piano sonatas (is it also 1?). I think this explains how in some of the works the inspiration carries through and in others it doesn't. Several times recently listening to the symphonies I came across passages where I thought "that would sound really well on the piano, but sounds too weak or mannered for orchestra".
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on May 23, 2017, 01:28:59 PM
Funnily enough I think the 4th is greatest of the Bax Symphonies!

I also like 2, 5 and 7.

But I have always found 1*, 3 and 6 to be disappointing, with many of the diffuse moments that SymphonicAddict noted.

*(Disappointing despite the bass oboe  :D )

I think one of the reasons why Bax's works are uneven is that he had a formidable piano technique, and could could sight-read orchestral scores at the piano. I think that he composed the other way round, ie he improvised at the piano, then wrote the improvisation down as a sketch, and later orchestrated it. (The symphony no.1 originated as one of the piano sonatas (is it also 1?). I think this explains how in some of the works the inspiration carries through and in others it doesn't. Several times recently listening to the symphonies I came across passages where I thought "that would sound really well on the piano, but sounds too weak or mannered for orchestra".

It's possible what you say about orchestrating from the piano, but from my point of view the No. 4 is sort of feeble, I mean, it has some brilliant moments, it's strong in terms of orchestration but in terms of motives and internal coherence it's strange for my taste.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 06, 2017, 11:46:39 PM
Letter from Vaughan Williams to the Editor of The Radio Times 6th January 1933:

'I notice a curious error in your issue of December 16. In discussing a concert of compositions by Arnold Bax and various continental composers you state that: 'Arnold Bax is clearly in place in this distinguished company'. I take it that the sentence was meant to express that the other composers were not unworthy to a place beside Arnold Bax. Personally I do not consider that most of the names on that programme are worthy to stand beside Bax, but this of course is a matter of opinion.

R. Vaughan Williams'

 (The other composers included Szmanowski, Schoenberg, Hindemith, Poulenc, Norbert von Hannenheim, Conrad Beck and Stravinsky).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Klaze on June 07, 2017, 08:53:54 AM
That was very nice of him, but on the other hand, as he says it is a matter of opinion, so why an "error"?

I enjoy Bax but wouldnt dare to point out 4 names of those 7 which are unworthy of standing beside Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Rons_talking on June 10, 2017, 12:59:29 AM
Recently I listened to his symphonies (Chandos, Thomson) and I had a 'bittersweet' experience. This composer gave me great expectations, but unfortunately I was dissapointed in some aspects: despite there are appealing works in this field, I felt many diffuse moments, there is no much connection of ideas, there is no integrity and I find an excessive use of percussion and other instruments (the same happened with H. Brian) as if he was trying to fill the lack of tunes with this method, and possibly I think that was one of his fails like composer of symphonies. On the other hand, I did feel many moments of power, subtle beauty and a magic depiction of Ireland and Celtic landscapes. Having said this, my favorite symphonies are the 1st, 3rd, 5th ones and maybe the 6th one and/or the 7th one. Also I've played some tone poems (Christmas Eve, The Garden of Fand, Tintagel, Roscatha and the fiery Paean), I can hear another different Bax in them, indeed they are more cohesive, more compact, more engaging. I will continue exploring his other works.

Tone Poem Bax does seem to be a different voice than Symphony Bax. I like his 6thS but the poems are so expressive and colourful...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 10, 2017, 07:04:09 AM
Tone Poem Bax does seem to be a different voice than Symphony Bax. I like his 6thS but the poems are so expressive and colourful...
I like both. Nympholept, Tintagel, Festival Overture, The Tale the Pine Trees Knew and the Tapiola-like November Woods are favourites of mine.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 06, 2017, 02:18:21 PM
Recently I had the opportunity of hearing almost all his orchestral works, and I wasn't wrong when I said my appreciations about those pieces: they are better than the symphonies (at least according to my tastes). Special mentions are the 3 Northern Ballads, A Legend, In Memoriam, Festival Overture, On the Sea Shore (this piece really captures a magnificent view of the sea with a kind of storm in the distance), Cortège, London Pageant, Winter Legends, Phantasy for viola and orchestra, and the works I mentioned in a previous reply. Therefore, now I consider Bax one of my favorite British composers. It was worth to explore.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 06, 2017, 09:36:26 PM
Recently I had the opportunity of hearing almost all his orchestral works, and I wasn't wrong when I said my appreciations about those pieces: they are better than the symphonies (at least according to my tastes). Special mentions are the 3 Northern Ballads, A Legend, In Memoriam, Festival Overture, On the Sea Shore (this piece really captures a magnificent view of the sea with a kind of storm in the distance), Cortège, London Pageant, Winter Legends, Phantasy for viola and orchestra, and the works I mentioned in a previous reply. Therefore, now I consider Bax one of my favorite British composers. It was worth to explore.
On the Sea Shore is a new discovery for me too. Yes, the Festival Overture, despite its unpromising title, is excellent. I'd add Nympholept too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 07, 2017, 03:39:44 PM
On the Sea Shore is a new discovery for me too. Yes, the Festival Overture, despite its unpromising title, is excellent. I'd add Nympholept too.

I had forgotten Nympholept. The concertante works didn't make the best impressions on me (Concertante for piano -left hand- and orchestra, Concertante for wind instruments and orchestra, Morning Song and the violin concerto). I'd save the cello concerto and Saga Fragment. The next stuff will be the chamber works. I'll do that when the time allows it  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 07, 2017, 08:50:59 PM
I had forgotten Nympholept. The concertante works didn't make the best impressions on me (Concertante for piano -left hand- and orchestra, Concertante for wind instruments and orchestra, Morning Song and the violin concerto). I'd save the cello concerto and Saga Fragment. The next stuff will be the chamber works. I'll do that when the time allows it  :)
I don't think much of the Violin or Cello Concerto but like the Symphonic Variations. The Harp Quintet is, by far, my favourite of Bax's chamber works.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 07, 2017, 06:35:40 AM
Interesting new release. This may be the same recording as was available on Dutton:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on September 07, 2017, 03:24:25 PM
I like both. Nympholept, Tintagel, Festival Overture, The Tale the Pine Trees Knew and the Tapiola-like November Woods are favourites of mine.

Vandermolen, you're all right in my book.  I too like both.  I see Bax more as timeline development than genre.  So music written during 1910-20 whether it is tone poem or symphony is dramatic and passionate.  But later Bax has more french influence by way of Sibelius regardless if it is symphony or poems.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 08, 2017, 12:30:22 AM
Vandermolen, you're all right in my book.  I too like both.  I see Bax more as timeline development than genre.  So music written during 1910-20 whether it is tone poem or symphony is dramatic and passionate.  But later Bax has more french influence by way of Sibelius regardless if it is symphony or poems.
Thank you.  :)
I very much agree about the sibelian influence. Symphony 5 had a big impact on me when I discovered it in the 1970s on a Lyrita LP. It is still, I think, the best performance of it, conducted by Raymond Leppard.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: tjguitar on November 16, 2017, 11:10:02 AM
Interesting new release. This may be the same recording as was available on Dutton:



The Goosens performance is the same as Dutton, but as far as I know, this is the first release of this recording of that performance of Winter Legends...
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2017, 11:34:24 AM
I've recently come to really appreciate Bax's Piano Quintet, a symphonically-scaled work in Bax's trademark "legendary" style. The opening is one of my favorites in chamber music - a passionate cello melody accompanied by rippling piano arpeggios. It's a real emotional journey of a piece. I highly recommend this recording:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 16, 2017, 12:11:39 PM
I love the Harp Quintet.
That Bridge and Bax CD looks great too.
Here is a review of the new Lyrita release. It's sitting on my desk upstairs but I haven't opened it yet:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2017/Nov/Bax_sy2_REAM1137.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on November 16, 2017, 12:22:31 PM
I love the Harp Quintet.

A beautiful work indeed - one of Bax's most readily accessible pieces IMO.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on November 16, 2017, 02:33:54 PM
How strange.  I just decided to listen to the work.  I had noticed activity on this thread, but had not visited it or read the thread and thought to myself, "you hardly ever listen to anything by Bax."  So I looked for some chamber music and saw the Harp Quintet.

 :)

Did you enjoy it?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on January 09, 2018, 05:12:12 PM
Quick poll...have any of you heard a live concert performance of a Bax symphony?  I am just curious how rare is it to actually hear one of his long works live.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 10, 2018, 12:21:38 AM
Quick poll...have any of you heard a live concert performance of a Bax symphony?  I am just curious how rare is it to actually hear one of his long works live.

It's very rare indeed.

I have seen No.5 decades ago and the Albert Hall was half empty and No.2 (also at a Prom concert in London I think) more recently.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Maestro267 on January 10, 2018, 07:59:43 AM
It is a complete and utter disgrace, one of the things for which classical music must be most shameful, that the concert hall repertoire is so narrow. But as we all know, The Big £/$ rules the world.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 10, 2018, 11:48:13 AM
It is a complete and utter disgrace, one of the things for which classical music must be most shameful, that the concert hall repertoire is so narrow. But as we all know, The Big £/$ rules the world.

I agree.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on April 09, 2018, 12:32:11 AM
I listened to Barbirolli conducting Bax's Fourth symphony last night. I put it on a cd-r with his recording of Ireland's The Forgotten Rite and Mai Dun. Barbirolli's Fourth is available as download from the Art Music Forum,and available on Youtube. It made me wish,even more,that he'd recorded more Bax symphonies (and more Bax!). Going by the few Bax recordings he made,and I've heard,he seems the ideal conductor (and for Ireland). The Fourth is often regarded as one of Bax's weakest symphonies,if not the weakest. Yet,it's one of my favourites!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Biffo on April 09, 2018, 01:01:45 AM
I have Barbirolli conducting Symphony No 3, recorded in 1943/44 with the composer present (Dutton). It is coupled with the Violin Concerto conducted by Boult with Eda Kersey as soloist. Barbirolli also recorded Tintagel and The Garden of Fand - these have appeared with different couplings over the years.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on April 09, 2018, 08:15:36 AM
I listened to Barbirolli conducting Bax's Fourth symphony last night. I put it on a cd-r with his recording of Ireland's The Forgotten Rite and Mai Dun. Barbirolli's Fourth is available as download from the Art Music Forum,and available on Youtube. It made me wish,even more,that he'd recorded more Bax symphonies (and more Bax!). Going by the few Bax recordings he made,and I've heard,he seems the ideal conductor (and for Ireland). The Fourth is often regarded as one of Bax's weakest symphonies,if not the weakest. Yet,it's one of my favourites!
How exciting! No.4 is one of my favourites along with 3 and 5 although I like them all. No.6 is sometimes seen as the best of them all but it is possibly my least favourite even though I still like it. I wish that Barbirolli had done a complete VW symphony cycle for EMI as, I think, was originally planned (or maybe it was to be shared with Boult). He was only able to complete Nos. 2 and 5 before he died. I do have him performing Nos. 2,6,7 and 8 (he was the dedicatee) on different labels.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on May 14, 2018, 07:04:00 PM
Recently discovered two of Bax's chamber works that I found to be equal in quality to his best orchestral works (though they are certainly 'lighter' and less 'epic' than, say, his symphonies) - his String Quartet no. 1 and Harp Quintet. The String Quartet no. 1 is a folksy, tuneful, almost Dvorakian work with a heart-rending slow movement, and the Harp Quintet is a magical score filled with Celtic beauty.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 14, 2018, 10:32:10 PM
Recently discovered two of Bax's chamber works that I found to be equal in quality to his best orchestral works (though they are certainly 'lighter' and less 'epic' than, say, his symphonies) - his String Quartet no. 1 and Harp Quintet. The String Quartet no. 1 is a folksy, tuneful, almost Dvorakian work with a heart-rending slow movement, and the Harp Quintet is a magical score filled with Celtic beauty.
The Harp Quintet is my favourite of Bax's chamber works with a lovely and haunting tune.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on May 15, 2018, 08:48:03 AM
The Harp Quintet is my favourite of Bax's chamber works with a lovely and haunting tune.

Indeed, that tune, first introduced by the cello, is so gorgeous and memorable.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 26, 2018, 07:29:23 PM
As a chamber music addict (besides the symphonic  :D ), today I listened the epic Piano Quintet in G minor:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WpsqaceuL._SY355_.jpg)

Written in a symphonic scale, it's full of memorable stuff that blends Impressionism, late-Romanticism and Celtic folk melodies, resulting an absorbing and captivating piece with many riveting moments, both lyrical as stormy ones. I dare to say it's one of the greatest British piano quintets ever penned. The recording makes justice to the work, and it's longer than that of Naxos.

All in all, it was utterly worth listening
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 26, 2018, 10:01:20 PM
As a chamber music addict (besides the symphonic  :D ), today I listened the epic Piano Quintet in G minor:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WpsqaceuL._SY355_.jpg)

Written in a symphonic scale, it's full of memorable stuff that blends Impressionism, late-Romanticism and Celtic folk melodies, resulting an absorbing and captivating piece with many riveting moments, both lyrical as stormy ones. I dare to say it's one of the greatest British piano quintets ever penned. The recording makes justice to the work, and it's longer than that of Naxos.

All in all, it was utterly worth listening

Thanks Cesar - the Harp Quintet is by far my favourite chamber work by Bax. I must have another listen to the Piano Quintet.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on July 27, 2018, 06:29:13 AM
As a chamber music addict (besides the symphonic  :D ), today I listened the epic Piano Quintet in G minor:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WpsqaceuL._SY355_.jpg)

Written in a symphonic scale, it's full of memorable stuff that blends Impressionism, late-Romanticism and Celtic folk melodies, resulting an absorbing and captivating piece with many riveting moments, both lyrical as stormy ones. I dare to say it's one of the greatest British piano quintets ever penned. The recording makes justice to the work, and it's longer than that of Naxos.

All in all, it was utterly worth listening

Yes, it’s a great work! Bax’s chamber output contains some real gems, such as this, the Harp Quintet, and the String Quartet no. 1.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 27, 2018, 01:24:00 PM
The Harp Quintet is another stunner with lovely Celtic melodies. Bax composed a significant number of chamber works and ones with a peculiar combination. If the others have that great artistic quality, I'll surely find wondrous treasures.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 27, 2018, 02:05:26 PM
As a chamber music addict (besides the symphonic  :D ), today I listened the epic Piano Quintet in G minor:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WpsqaceuL._SY355_.jpg)

Written in a symphonic scale, it's full of memorable stuff that blends Impressionism, late-Romanticism and Celtic folk melodies, resulting an absorbing and captivating piece with many riveting moments, both lyrical as stormy ones. I dare to say it's one of the greatest British piano quintets ever penned. The recording makes justice to the work, and it's longer than that of Naxos.

All in all, it was utterly worth listening
Just ordered this second hand on Amazon. The Gliere was a bit expensive.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on July 28, 2018, 03:13:04 AM
Vandermolen always makes me think of this. The second ever,record player I owned,after the Fidelity one (around £!7!) I bought in Woolworths. This was when I was still a youngster. I would have been playing my Chandos Bax Lp's (and the Lyrita Lp of Tintagel,etc) on this. And why the connection? It's a 70's Van Der Molen 10DL. I saved up for this. It had big stereo speakers and my mother bought it from one of those big mail order catalogues,Grattans or Littlewoods. I think the volume control went a bit crackly in the end and the lid got cracked in a tenancy dispute. Not a particularly spectacular piece of hi-fi,I suppose;but it was loud and had a nice thunderous,bass on it! It was,also,a lot of pocket money to a teenager!!

(https://i.imgur.com/KeY6PGK.jpg)      (https://i.imgur.com/S3eBC8w.jpg)     
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 28, 2018, 03:18:54 PM
Vandermolen always makes me think of this. The second ever,record player I owned,after the Fidelity one (around £!7!) I bought in Woolworths. This was when I was still a youngster. I would have been playing my Chandos Bax Lp's (and the Lyrita Lp of Tintagel,etc) on this. And why the connection? It's a 70's Van Der Molen 10DL. I saved up for this. It had big stereo speakers and my mother bought it from one of those big mail order catalogues,Grattans or Littlewoods. I think the volume control went a bit crackly in the end and the lid got cracked in a tenancy dispute. Not a particularly spectacular piece of hi-fi,I suppose;but it was loud and had a nice thunderous,bass on it! It was,also,a lot of pocket money to a teenager!!

(https://i.imgur.com/KeY6PGK.jpg)      (https://i.imgur.com/S3eBC8w.jpg)   

I'm sure that, with that name, it must be a superior product  8)
As for 'Van der Molen' it's my mother's family name. My great grandfather was a Dutchman. It is the same as 'Miller' (from the mill' in English - I think that this is right but no doubt our Dutch friends here will correct me if I'm wrong). I wish that my name was Jeffrey Van der Molen as I think that (in Britain) it would make me sound more aristocratic ( 8)). However, it's not but at least I can use a derivative of it as my GMG name.  That Boult/Bax  LP/CD is excellent and it led to my first encounter with the legendary 'Northern Ballad No.1 which is a very fine.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 05, 2018, 12:54:40 PM
As a chamber music addict (besides the symphonic  :D ), today I listened the epic Piano Quintet in G minor:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WpsqaceuL._SY355_.jpg)

Written in a symphonic scale, it's full of memorable stuff that blends Impressionism, late-Romanticism and Celtic folk melodies, resulting an absorbing and captivating piece with many riveting moments, both lyrical as stormy ones. I dare to say it's one of the greatest British piano quintets ever penned. The recording makes justice to the work, and it's longer than that of Naxos.

All in all, it was utterly worth listening
Thank you Cesar! I couldn't understand where the original recommendation came from. Maybe I should have checked the Bax thread!!! What with your recommendation and Kyle's enthusiastic support I have discovered one of Bax's greatest works. Now the Harp Quintet is my second favourite chamber work by Bax. The Piano Quintet is an epic masterpiece. Thanks again  :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 05, 2018, 01:15:17 PM
Thank you Cesar! I couldn't understand where the original recommendation came from. Maybe I should have checked the Bax thread!!! What with your recommendation and Kyle's enthusiastic support I have discovered one of Bax's greatest works. Now the Harp Quintet is my second favourite chamber work by Bax. The Piano Quintet is an epic masterpiece. Thanks again  :)

You are very welcome. Yes, it is a work of symphonic proportions indeed. At first I considered the Harp Quintet like his best chamber work, but now knowing this stunning work, the former comes in 2nd place, though is very eloquent and Celtic as well.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 05, 2018, 01:26:00 PM
I agree that the Bax Piano Quintet is one of his very finest works regardless of genre.  My only thought is that I find the Naxos/Ashley Wass/Maggini version to be significantly superior to the Chandos disc.  The short life of the Mistry Quartet was always slightly puzzling.........   The Naxos coupling of the equally fine Bridge Quintet is just as good as both as music and performance
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 05, 2018, 02:34:07 PM
I agree that the Bax Piano Quintet is one of his very finest works regardless of genre.  My only thought is that I find the Naxos/Ashley Wass/Maggini version to be significantly superior to the Chandos disc.  The short life of the Mistry Quartet was always slightly puzzling.........   The Naxos coupling of the equally fine Bridge Quintet is just as good as both as music and performance

Thanks. Amazon informs me that I have a copy of that disc so will certainly be looking it out.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2018, 12:28:36 AM
As a chamber music addict (besides the symphonic  :D ), today I listened the epic Piano Quintet in G minor:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WpsqaceuL._SY355_.jpg)

Written in a symphonic scale, it's full of memorable stuff that blends Impressionism, late-Romanticism and Celtic folk melodies, resulting an absorbing and captivating piece with many riveting moments, both lyrical as stormy ones. I dare to say it's one of the greatest British piano quintets ever penned. The recording makes justice to the work, and it's longer than that of Naxos.

All in all, it was utterly worth listening

Cesar and Kyle, I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed discovering this Piano Quintet - what an epic. I would say that it is actually one of my favourite works by Bax and ranks, in my view, with those by Shostakovich, Bloch, Weinberg and Schnittke although obviously a very different kind of work. I have been listening to it continuously since I obtained the Chandos recording (I must hear the Ashley Wass version on Naxos as well). Maybe circumstances have something to do with it as a very good friend from my college days is terminally ill and I don't want to listen to orchestral music so much these days (notwithstanding Simpson's 9th Symphony) - don't know why. Sibelius is about the only composer whose music I can usually listen to regardless as to how I am feeling - something to do with its connection with nature perhaps. However I have found much comfort listening to this poetic, legendary and soulful work by Bax. Probably too much information - but why not? Anyway thank you.
 :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on August 09, 2018, 05:29:13 AM
Cesar and Kyle, I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed discovering this Piano Quintet - what an epic. I would say that it is actually one of my favourite works by Bax and ranks, in my view, with those by Shostakovich, Bloch, Weinberg and Schnittke although obviously a very different kind of work. I have been listening to it continuously since I obtained the Chandos recording (I must hear the Ashley Wass version on Naxos as well). Maybe circumstances have something to do with it as a very good friend from my college days is terminally ill and I don't want to listen to orchestral music so much these days (notwithstanding Simpson's 9th Symphony) - don't know why. Sibelius is about the only composer whose music I can usually listen to regardless as to how I am feeling - something to do with its connection with nature perhaps. However I have found much comfort listening to this poetic, legendary and soulful work by Bax. Probably too much information - but why not? Anyway thank you.
 :)

Sorry to hear about your friend, Jeffrey. What better way to find solace than in the warmth and intimacy of chamber music. I agree, Bax’s Piano Quintet belongs in the ranks of similarly epic and poetic works in the medium by Bartók, Brahms, Bloch (no. 1), Franck, Ornstein, Shostakovich, Taneyev, Vierne, and Weinberg.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2018, 05:48:31 AM
Sorry to hear about your friend, Jeffrey. What better way to find solace than in the warmth and intimacy of chamber music. I agree, Bax’s Piano Quintet belongs in the ranks of similarly epic and poetic works in the medium by Bartók, Brahms, Bloch (no. 1), Franck, Ornstein, Shostakovich, Taneyev, Vierne, and Weinberg.
Thank you Kyle. Much appreciated.
 :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 09, 2018, 10:07:25 AM
Cesar and Kyle, I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed discovering this Piano Quintet - what an epic. I would say that it is actually one of my favourite works by Bax and ranks, in my view, with those by Shostakovich, Bloch, Weinberg and Schnittke although obviously a very different kind of work. I have been listening to it continuously since I obtained the Chandos recording (I must hear the Ashley Wass version on Naxos as well). Maybe circumstances have something to do with it as a very good friend from my college days is terminally ill and I don't want to listen to orchestral music so much these days (notwithstanding Simpson's 9th Symphony) - don't know why. Sibelius is about the only composer whose music I can usually listen to regardless as to how I am feeling - something to do with its connection with nature perhaps. However I have found much comfort listening to this poetic, legendary and soulful work by Bax. Probably too much information - but why not? Anyway thank you.
 :)

Glad to know you have found delightment galore with the Bax. Otherwise, I'm so sorry for your friend. I'm really sure the best memories will prevail between you.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2018, 09:14:08 PM
Glad to know you have found delightment galore with the Bax. Otherwise, I'm so sorry for your friend. I'm really sure the best memories will prevail between you.
Thank you Cesar for the kind words. The Bax has been a wonderful discovery and I don't understand how I never appreciated it before. The Naxos recording which I've had since 2011 according to Amazon maybe didn't make such an impression on me although some prefer it. A review I read of the Chandos recording points out that it brings out the Celtic aspects of the quintet more strongly than the alternative version.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 07, 2019, 03:33:23 PM
Relax with Bax

I've been listening to my 2 Bax CDs (Naxos, Symphonies 2 & 3) for the first time in a long time. I'd forgotten how much I liked this music and now I want to explore more. Questions on particular discs:

1. Is the Handley symphony set worth getting if I have the above 2 symphonies already? or should I just get another Naxos or two? Also, some people have complained about the Chandos sound - anyone have objections to it?

A comparison of Chandos with Naxos would be appreciated.

2. If I want only 1 (one) disc of the chamber music, is the Hyperion with the Nonet etc. the one I should get?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on January 07, 2019, 04:51:47 PM
Relax with Bax

I've been listening to my 2 Bax CDs (Naxos, Symphonies 2 & 3) for the first time in a long time. I'd forgotten how much I liked this music and now I want to explore more. Questions on particular discs:

1. Is the Handley symphony set worth getting if I have the above 2 symphonies already? or should I just get another Naxos or two? Also, some people have complained about the Chandos sound - anyone have objections to it?

A comparison of Chandos with Naxos would be appreciated.

2. If I want only 1 (one) disc of the chamber music, is the Hyperion with the Nonet etc. the one I should get?

They are both so good (sorry wrong answer I'm sure).  I would characterize the Handley set as preferred because it sounds more opulent and wet (in terms of reverb) which fits the rich sonics better.   The Naxos I find more precise and less lush.  If I had to pick one, for Bax it would be Chandos/Handley but you won't go wrong with either.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on January 07, 2019, 04:58:08 PM
Relax with Bax

I've been listening to my 2 Bax CDs (Naxos, Symphonies 2 & 3) for the first time in a long time. I'd forgotten how much I liked this music and now I want to explore more. Questions on particular discs:

1. Is the Handley symphony set worth getting if I have the above 2 symphonies already? or should I just get another Naxos or two? Also, some people have complained about the Chandos sound - anyone have objections to it?

A comparison of Chandos with Naxos would be appreciated.

2. If I want only 1 (one) disc of the chamber music, is the Hyperion with the Nonet etc. the one I should get?

To the 2nd question:

That Hyperion CD is clearly one of the best about his chamber music. You won't go wrong if you get it.

I recommend this CD too:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61WG7T2KKPL._SS500.jpg)

The String Quintet is perhaps the least interesting work on it, but the others are just beautiful.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 08, 2019, 12:15:26 PM
Sorry to cloud the issue but I think that the two Lyrita CDs featuring symphonies 1 and 7 and 2 and 5 are unsurpassed.


The Lyrita CD featuring Bax's Symphony 6 under Norman Del Mar is, in my opinion, not as good as the Naxos version which would be my No.1 choice (Lloyd Jones). I think that Raymond Leppard and Myer Fredman were much better conductors of the music of Bax than Vernon Hadley or Norman Del Mar (whom I saw conduct a truly awful performance of 'A Pastoral Symphony' by Vaughan Williams). If you want a box set I'd go for the Bryden Thompson which is consistently good and No.4 is best of all I think.

That Hyperion CD of chamber music is wonderful and I absolutely love the Harp Quintet. Thanks to Cesar and Kyle I have discovered Bax's Piano Quintet which is terrific - a most moving and powerful score.

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on January 08, 2019, 06:28:40 PM
Sorry to cloud the issue but I think that the two Lyrita CDs featuring symphonies 1 and 7 and 2 and 5 are unsurpassed.


The Lyrita CD featuring Bax's Symphony 6 under Norman Del Mar is, in my opinion, not as good as the Naxos version which would be my No.1 choice (Lloyd Jones). I think that Raymond Leppard and Myer Fredman were much better conductors of the music of Bax than Vernon Hadley or Norman Del Mar (whom I saw conduct a truly awful performance of 'A Pastoral Symphony' by Vaughan Williams). If you want a box set I'd go for the Bryden Thompson which is consistently good and No.4 is best of all I think.

That Hyperion CD of chamber music is wonderful and I absolutely love the Harp Quintet. Thanks to Cesar and Kyle I have discovered Bax's Piano Quintet which is terrific - a most moving and powerful score.

Oh yes, any of the CDs that contains the Piano Quintet is mandatory too. Again, my pleasure for bringing it to your ears!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 12:03:34 AM
Oh yes, any of the CDs that contains the Piano Quintet is mandatory too. Again, my pleasure for bringing it to your ears!
:)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on January 09, 2019, 10:51:51 AM
It's hard to beat this Naxos CD which couples the equally excellent Bax and Bridge piano quintets in fine performances:

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 09, 2019, 11:02:12 AM
They are both so good (sorry wrong answer I'm sure).  I would characterize the Handley set as preferred because it sounds more opulent and wet (in terms of reverb) which fits the rich sonics better.   The Naxos I find more precise and less lush.  If I had to pick one, for Bax it would be Chandos/Handley but you won't go wrong with either.

I am hesitant about Handley for two reasons. I found complaints about the sound, notably in this detailed German review (http://www.klassik-heute.com/4daction/www_medien_einzeln?id=15108) but also occasionally elsewhere. But other listeners seem to love the sound, so it's hard to tell. It's interesting that you describe the sonics as "opulent" while the German reviewer calls them "dry as dust" (staubtrocken).

Also, how good are symphonies 1, 4 and 7 really? They seem to be the critical non-favorites. Maybe I should just get the Naxos 5th and be content with that. (I had the Naxos 6th, but wasn't all that impressed with it)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 11:29:17 AM
It's hard to beat this Naxos CD which couples the equally excellent Bax and Bridge piano quintets in fine performances:


I've lent it to the Head of Music at the school where I work, having enthused wildly about it - so, I'm having to make do with the Chandos recording for now. They are both fine performances as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on January 09, 2019, 12:11:34 PM
Also, how good are symphonies 1, 4 and 7 really? They seem to be the critical non-favorites. Maybe I should just get the Naxos 5th and be content with that. (I had the Naxos 6th, but wasn't all that impressed with it)

The 1st is actually my favorite Bax symphony - it's well-constructed and powerful with a chillingly atmospheric slow movement. I'm not too keen on the 4th - it has some interesting parts but seems too diffuse to my ears.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 12:16:57 PM
I am hesitant about Handley for two reasons. I found complaints about the sound, notably in this detailed German review (http://www.klassik-heute.com/4daction/www_medien_einzeln?id=15108) but also occasionally elsewhere. But other listeners seem to love the sound, so it's hard to tell. It's interesting that you describe the sonics as "opulent" while the German reviewer calls them "dry as dust" (staubtrocken).

Also, how good are symphonies 1, 4 and 7 really? They seem to be the critical non-favorites. Maybe I should just get the Naxos 5th and be content with that. (I had the Naxos 6th, but wasn't all that impressed with it)

I like all the Bax symphonies although my favourites are 3 and 5. No.3 is IMHO the most poetic with a wonderfully tranquil Epilogue. No.5 is perhaps the most integrated of them all. 7 has an extraordinarily valedictory Epilogue which I find very moving, especially in Raymond Leppard's recording on Lyrita, which must have been the first recording of the work. 4 is not the greatest but I always enjoy hearing it.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Maestro267 on January 12, 2019, 04:58:09 AM
This is the first time I've ever read about complaints about the Chandos sound. More often than not it's very highly praised.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 12, 2019, 12:06:33 PM
This is the first time I've ever read about complaints about the Chandos sound. More often than not it's very highly praised.

Yeah, which is why I was puzzled when I read dissenting opinions. I wonder if it's one of those recordings that sounds good on some equipment but not on others.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 12, 2019, 12:20:24 PM
This is the first time I've ever read about complaints about the Chandos sound. More often than not it's very highly praised.
As far as the Bax boxed set is concerned my problem is with Handley's IMHO mediocre performances rather than the Chandos sound and my view is much the same with his Vaughan Williams cycle. However, I greatly admire his Bantock recordings and much else besides.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 12, 2019, 12:27:01 PM
As far as the Bax boxed set is concerned my problem is with Handley's IMHO mediocre performances rather than the Chandos sound and my view is much the same with his Vaughan Williams cycle.

What do you consider mediocre about his performances?

BTW I like what I've heard of his VW.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on January 12, 2019, 04:11:26 PM
What do you consider mediocre about his performances?

BTW I like what I've heard of his VW.

I wrote a longish reply which disappeared into cyber space. Basically I think that Vernon Handley was a very good but not great conductor of either Bax or VW. From my subjective point of view there is nothing wrong with his performances but none of them would be a first choice either, except perhaps his earlier Guildford PO recording of Bax's 4th Symphony. Maybe it's because I was brought up with Boult, Previn and Barbirolli in VW and Barbirolli, Downes, Leppard and Fredman in Bax that I feel this way. His 'Job' is excellent and those harps at the end of VW Symphony 9 are very special. In general I do, however, prefer Bryden Thompson's cycle of the Bax and VW symphonies. I will try to listen to Handley's Bax cycle again.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on January 12, 2019, 04:51:51 PM
I wrote a longish reply which disappeared into cyber space. Basically I think that Vernon Handley was a very good but not great conductor of either Bax or VW. From my subjective point of view there is nothing wrong with his performances but none of them would be a first choice either, except perhaps his earlier Guildford PO recording of Bax's 4th Symphony. Maybe it's because I was brought up with Boult, Previn and Barbirolli in VW and Barbirolli, Downes, Leppard and Fredman in Bax that I feel this way. His 'Job' is excellent and those harps at the end of VW Symphony 9 are very special. In general I do, however, prefer Bryden Thompson's cycle of the Bax and VW symphonies. I will try to listen to Handley's Bax cycle again.

I agree with you.  I find Bryden Thompson's RVW and Bax superior to Vernon Handley though it still is a very fine recording.  The performance by Thompson just fits the music better IMO and is how I envision the way it should sound.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on January 12, 2019, 05:08:54 PM
The 1st is actually my favorite Bax symphony - it's well-constructed and powerful with a chillingly atmospheric slow movement. I'm not too keen on the 4th - it has some interesting parts but seems too diffuse to my ears.

My thoughts exactly.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on February 03, 2019, 08:40:34 PM
It's agreeable when you feel a determined work doesn't work for you, and some time later, suddenly, it makes much more sense. That is the case of the 4th Symphony. It happened to me today. I remember not being enthralled by what I heard some months ago, likely because of the somewhat (not always) recurrent "issue" with this composer: lots of ideas but rather diffuse. Possibly it does have a degree of that, though. However, today my reaction was very different. Now I've come to appreciate better its meaning, and there is even a memorable melody in the 3rd movement, something I didn't pay attention to before.

I hope it can work for other works of other composers.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on February 04, 2019, 06:47:30 AM
Sorry to cloud the issue but I think that the two Lyrita CDs featuring symphonies 1 and 7 and 2 and 5 are unsurpassed.



That is a great coupling of THE two most successful Lyrita Bax recordings.  Although I find the CD transfer has lost a little of the sheer weight of the organ in the 2nd symphony, compared with my vinyl copy.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 04, 2019, 06:52:30 AM
That is a great coupling of THE two most successful Lyrita Bax recordings.  Although I find the CD transfer has lost a little of the sheer weight of the organ in the 2nd symphony, compared with my vinyl copy.

Interesting to know. I love the doom-laden organ entry in Symphony 2.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on February 04, 2019, 07:30:21 AM
It's agreeable when you feel a determined work doesn't work for you, and some time later, suddenly, it makes much more sense. That is the case of the 4th Symphony. It happened to me today. I remember not being enthralled by what I heard some months ago, likely because of the somewhat (not always) recurrent "issue" with this composer: lots of ideas but rather diffuse. Possibly it does have a degree of that, though. However, today my reaction was very different. Now I've come to appreciate better its meaning, and there is even a memorable melody in the 3rd movement, something I didn't pay attention to before.

I hope it can work for other works of other composers.

That’s good to know, Cesar (I was also rather unimpressed with the 4th at first hearing). Which recording did you listen to?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Maestro267 on February 04, 2019, 08:04:11 AM
It's quite bizarre how many people seem to find the Fourth unimpressive. It was the first of his symphonies I really got into, and it remains my favourite, with 6 and 2 following it. The odd-numbered symphonies aren't really as memorable to me personally. They're fine works, but nothing majorly sticks in my mind from them, and when I do listen to Bax's symphonies, it's always the even-numbered ones that jump out at me first.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 04, 2019, 08:59:16 AM
It's quite bizarre how many people seem to find the Fourth unimpressive. It was the first of his symphonies I really got into, and it remains my favourite, with 6 and 2 following it. The odd-numbered symphonies aren't really as memorable to me personally. They're fine works, but nothing majorly sticks in my mind from them, and when I do listen to Bax's symphonies, it's always the even-numbered ones that jump out at me first.

That's really interesting as I like the odd numbered ones especially 1,3 and 5 + 7 in Raymond Leppard's recording. I'm less keen on No. 6 than many but am more keen on No.4 than some. With Malcolm Arnold it's also the odd numbered symphonies which I like more + No.6.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on February 04, 2019, 10:23:07 AM
That’s good to know, Cesar (I was also rather unimpressed with the 4th at first hearing). Which recording did you listen to?

That by Bryden Thomson on Chandos, which some claim it's the best recording of it.

That's really interesting as I like the odd numbered ones especially 1,3 and 5 + 7 in Raymond Leppard's recording. I'm less keen on No. 6 than many but am more keen on No.4 than some. With Malcolm Arnold it's also the odd numbered symphonies which I like more + No.6.

The odd numbered ones, somehow, appeal to me the most too.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2019, 09:43:28 PM
It's quite bizarre how many people seem to find the Fourth unimpressive. It was the first of his symphonies I really got into, and it remains my favourite, with 6 and 2 following it. The odd-numbered symphonies aren't really as memorable to me personally. They're fine works, but nothing majorly sticks in my mind from them, and when I do listen to Bax's symphonies, it's always the even-numbered ones that jump out at me first.

What may be even more bizarre is I don’t think much of Bax’s music in general. The only work I ever connected with on an emotional and intellectual level was the chamber work In Memoriam. I find so much of his music meandering (not in a good way) and I often feel like “Where’s the heart?” or “What’s the point of this?"
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 05, 2019, 02:53:46 AM
What may be even more bizarre is I don’t think much of Bax’s music in general. The only work I ever connected with on an emotional and intellectual level was the chamber work In Memoriam. I find so much of his music meandering (not in a good way) and I often feel like “Where’s the heart?” or “What’s the point of this?"

I don't think that's at all bizarre John. Many classical music enthusiasts find Bax's music too diffuse and rambling. Vaughan Williams (a friend of Bax's) said that Bax could have done with some 'gruelling lessons with Stanford' at the Royal College of Music (which Bax, unlike VW, didn't attend) but then admitted that they would only have argued anyway. As with Miaskovsky, in a way, there are moments of intense poetry in Bax (the Epilogue of Symphony 3 for example and that of Symphony 7) which I find very poignant and moving. Symphony 5 (especially in Leppard's Lyrita recording) has the tightest structure I think and is probably my overall favourite of the seven.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2019, 07:25:46 AM
I don't think that's at all bizarre John. Many classical music enthusiasts find Bax's music too diffuse and rambling. Vaughan Williams (a friend of Bax's) said that Bax could have done with some 'gruelling lessons with Stanford' at the Royal College of Music (which Bax, unlike VW, didn't attend) but then admitted that they would only have argued anyway. As with Miaskovsky, in a way, there are moments of intense poetry in Bax (the Epilogue of Symphony 3 for example and that of Symphony 7) which I find very poignant and moving. Symphony 5 (especially in Leppard's Lyrita recording) has the tightest structure I think and is probably my overall favourite of the seven.

Indeed, Jeffrey. Despite my struggle with Bax, I still own A LOT of his music, but I find his chamber music much more successful than the orchestral music, but it’s really been quite some time since I’ve even listened to any of his music at all. Oh wait...I just thought of an orchestral piece I find rather good, the opening movement of Spring Fire.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 05, 2019, 08:25:45 AM
Indeed, Jeffrey. Despite my struggle with Bax, I still own A LOT of his music, but I find his chamber music much more successful than the orchestral music, but it’s really been quite some time since I’ve even listened to any of his music at all. Oh wait...I just thought of an orchestral piece I find rather good, the opening movement of Spring Fire.

I've always loved the Harp Quintet and thanks to recommendations from Kyle and Cesar of this forum (during the Mirror Image 'wilderness years' I think  8)) I discovered the wonderful Piano Quintet. What do you think of this work John?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2019, 08:52:50 AM
I've always loved the Harp Quintet and thanks to recommendations from Kyle and Cesar of this forum (during the Mirror Image 'wilderness years' I think  8)) I discovered the wonderful Piano Quintet. What do you think of this work John?

I’ll have to revisit it (the Piano Quintet), Jeffrey. The Harp Quintet, IIRC, was lovely.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on February 05, 2019, 09:11:07 AM
I don't think that's at all bizarre John. Many classical music enthusiasts find Bax's music too diffuse and rambling. Vaughan Williams (a friend of Bax's) said that Bax could have done with some 'gruelling lessons with Stanford' at the Royal College of Music (which Bax, unlike VW, didn't attend) but then admitted that they would only have argued anyway. As with Miaskovsky, in a way, there are moments of intense poetry in Bax (the Epilogue of Symphony 3 for example and that of Symphony 7) which I find very poignant and moving. Symphony 5 (especially in Leppard's Lyrita recording) has the tightest structure I think and is probably my overall favourite of the seven.

I am surprised, although perhaps I shouldn't be, that with all the Bax symphony cycles during the CD era - I can think of at least three - the Lyrita recordings still hold sway on this forum. Well done guys. ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 05, 2019, 09:28:44 AM
I am surprised, although perhaps I shouldn't be, that with all the Bax symphony cycles during the CD era - I can think of at least three - the Lyrita recordings still hold sway on this forum. Well done guys. ;)

I still think they are the best (certainly I,2,5 and 7).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on February 05, 2019, 09:56:40 AM
My listening to the symphonies has not been as satisfying as some other works by Bax. The Violin and Cello Concertos are mesmerizing. And I remember being enthralled by basically everything on this disc.



Bax is a master of atmosphere, almost unparalleled, in my view. The symphony doesn't seem quite the right genre for him.

And now I'm getting sentimental because it was long-departed member Lethevich that recommended this disc.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on February 05, 2019, 10:45:43 AM
Yes, atmosphere is one of the strongest points of Bax's music, and also the colourful orchestration. Definitely it seems evoking something legendary, and that appeals largely to my tastes, despite I find some of his music a bit disappointing, especially in his violin sonatas.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on February 05, 2019, 05:25:22 PM
Yes, atmosphere is one of the strongest points of Bax's music, and also the colourful orchestration. Definitely it seems evoking something legendary, and that appeals largely to my tastes, despite I find some of his music a bit disappointing, especially in his violin sonatas.

That's a very fair point.  Sort of the same feelings I have with Gliere. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on February 06, 2019, 01:21:55 AM
I have heard it said that Bax needs an orchestra to show his true worth. I do not agree with that. I have not heard the violin sonatas but some other works for example 3rd SQ, Piano Quintet, Harp Quintet and piano works are excellent. Bax is a more disciplined composer with smaller forces.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 06, 2019, 02:34:06 AM
My listening to the symphonies has not been as satisfying as some other works by Bax. The Violin and Cello Concertos are mesmerizing. And I remember being enthralled by basically everything on this disc.



Bax is a master of atmosphere, almost unparalleled, in my view. The symphony doesn't seem quite the right genre for him.

And now I'm getting sentimental because it was long-departed member Lethevich that recommended this disc.
That is possibly my favourite Bax disc. I especially like Christmas Eve and Nympholept but even the unpromisingly titled 'Festival Overture' turns typically Baxian. I preferred the original release which included Tintagel:
(http://)
The second posting on this thread is a recommendation from me for this disc.  8)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on February 06, 2019, 02:52:17 AM
I am surprised, although perhaps I shouldn't be, that with all the Bax symphony cycles during the CD era - I can think of at least three - the Lyrita recordings still hold sway on this forum. Well done guys. ;)

Regardless of performance, the first 2 (Myer Fredman conducting) were demonstration-quality recordings in their day.  I love them.

With Malcolm Arnold it's also the odd numbered symphonies which I like more + No.6.

I could say the same about Beethoven!  ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 21, 2019, 01:36:54 AM
Interesting-looking new release. The Sonata uses the same thematic material as two movements from the 1st Symphony. I'm interested to see compositions by Harriet Cohen as well:
(http://)
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2019/Feb/Bax_piano_SOMMCD0193.htm
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on February 21, 2019, 04:09:58 AM
Interesting-looking new release. The Sonata uses the same thematic material as two movements from the 1st Symphony. I'm interested to see compositions by Harriet Cohen as well:
(http://)
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2019/Feb/Bax_piano_SOMMCD0193.htm

Stunning version of the Symphony/Sonata - best yet.  It uses more than just material in the outer movements - its a straight orchestration of the this sonata as Symphony No.1.  Bax at his most explosively powerful....
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 21, 2019, 04:11:10 AM
Stunning version of the Symphony/Sonata - best yet.  It uses more than just material in the outer movements - its a straight orchestration of the this sonata as Symphony No.1.  Bax at his most explosively powerful....
I look forward very much to receiving it - thanks.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on February 22, 2019, 04:35:59 AM
This is indeed a beautifully played version. Fascinating to hear music, which I first came to know through the First Symphony, performed in their original piano arrangement:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 03, 2019, 01:42:55 AM
Currently enjoying this. This recording was the reason why Lyrita never recorded Symphony 4. The Edward Downes recording of Symphony 3 on RCA was the reason why Lyrita, unfortunately never recorded that one either. At least the Guildford recording of Symphony 4 (which I like very much) is, unlike the Downes recording of Symphony 3, available on CD. As I mentioned on the WAYLTN thread it is one of the few genuine released from the company which perpetrated the Joyce Hatto recordings fraud. It's companion on this CD is Moeran's 'Serenade'.
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Biffo on March 03, 2019, 02:28:19 AM
Currently enjoying this. This recording was the reason why Lyrita never recorded Symphony 4. The Edward Downes recording of Symphony 3 on RCA was the reason why Lyrita, unfortunately never recorded that one either. At least the Guildford recording of Symphony 4 (which I like very much) is, unlike the Downes recording of Symphony 3, available on CD. As I mentioned on the WAYLTN thread it is one of the few genuine released from the company which perpetrated the Joyce Hatto recordings fraud. It's companion on this CD is Moeran's 'Serenade'.
(http://)

I presume Lyrita thought the market couldn't bear more than one recording per symphony in those days. Barbirolli recorded No 3 (1943/44) but it was a bit elderly by then or even out of print.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 03, 2019, 05:01:37 AM
I presume Lyrita thought the market couldn't bear more than one recording per symphony in those days. Barbirolli recorded No 3 (1943/44) but it was a bit elderly by then or even out of print.
I can't think of any other reason why they didn't record them and am sure you are right. I think that Barbirolli's pioneering recording was only reissued on LP later - so I think it was the Downes and Guildford/Handley version which discouraged Lyrita from recording those works - which was a pity for Bax admirers.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on March 03, 2019, 05:16:39 AM
This is indeed a beautifully played version. Fascinating to hear music, which I first came to know through the First Symphony, performed in their original piano arrangement:
(http://)
Strange! I'm listening to this cd,right now,and not having seen these posts,I was wondering whether you had heard this......and if not,why?!! ??? >:( ;D I don't think you are 'into' Bax's piano music (?) but this has to be fascinating,if you are an admirer of his First symphony. From what I'm hearing,it can also stand on it's own merits. I also think it gives you a bit more of an insight into the composers creative processes than that early,uncompleted effort. You remember that Dutton release?! (I think I will give it another go later,incidentally!)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 03, 2019, 06:06:20 AM
Strange! I'm listening to this cd,right now,and not having seen these posts,I was wondering whether you had heard this......and if not,why?!! ??? >:( ;D I don't think you are 'into' Bax's piano music (?) but this has to be fascinating,if you are an admirer of his First symphony. From what I'm hearing,it can also stand on it's own merits. I also think it gives you a bit more of an insight into the composers creative processes than that early,uncompleted effort. You remember that Dutton release?! (I think I will give it another go later,incidentally!)

Your right about my lack of awareness of Bax's piano music. I think that I have a Naxos CD of it somewhere, however I don't recall it making that much of an impression on me. The work that really struck me, thanks to recommendations here,  is the Piano Quintet which I find marvellous.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on March 03, 2019, 11:20:34 AM
Odd that without a rich tradition of chamber music (compared with orchestral works) two great Piano Quintets were produced by British composers - Bax and Elgar.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on March 03, 2019, 01:09:52 PM
Odd that without a rich tradition of chamber music (compared with orchestral works) two great Piano Quintets were produced by British composers - Bax and Elgar.

I also find the piano quintets of Bridge and Vaughan Williams to be really superb works, and amongst the finest in the genre.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on March 03, 2019, 05:21:40 PM
Odd that without a rich tradition of chamber music (compared with orchestral works) two great Piano Quintets were produced by British composers - Bax and Elgar.

Not odd.  They were very influenced by the Germans and French who had a rich tradition. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on March 04, 2019, 02:29:15 AM
I also find the piano quintets of Bridge and Vaughan Williams to be really superb works, and amongst the finest in the genre.

Good. I was hoping of some suggestions to prove me wrong. I was referring to all British chamber works not only Piano Quintets. Not heard the Bridge - I struggle with his string quartets. I will listen to RVW (Phantasy?) at the first opportunity.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on March 04, 2019, 02:33:02 AM
Not odd.  They were very influenced by the Germans and French who had a rich tradition.

So were many other British composers - some much more so. That didn't stop decent British chamber works being thin on the ground.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 04, 2019, 04:36:23 AM
I also find the piano quintets of Bridge and Vaughan Williams to be really superb works, and amongst the finest in the genre.
+1
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 04, 2019, 04:39:14 AM
Good. I was hoping of some suggestions to prove me wrong. I was referring to all British chamber works not only Piano Quintets. Not heard the Bridge - I struggle with his string quartets. I will listen to RVW (Phantasy?) at the first opportunity.
OT

Kyle might mean this early work by VW (withdrawn?) which has been a lovely recent discovery:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on March 04, 2019, 01:41:39 PM
I also find the piano quintets of Bridge and Vaughan Williams to be really superb works, and amongst the finest in the genre.

I was going to add the Bridge!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on March 04, 2019, 01:44:23 PM
On a different Bax thread - he enriched the harp repertoire significantly.  His Fantasy Sonata for Viola & Harp is a cracker.  This is an excellent disc

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 04, 2019, 11:47:22 PM
On a different Bax thread - he enriched the harp repertoire significantly.  His Fantasy Sonata for Viola & Harp is a cracker.  This is an excellent disc



Never seen that CD before - thanks for posting it. I love the Harp Quintet which, so far, along with the Piano Quintet is my favourite chamber work by Bax.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 06, 2019, 06:00:33 AM
I really liked 'Tintagel' in this recording:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on March 12, 2019, 11:33:08 AM
OT

Kyle might mean this early work by VW (withdrawn?) which has been a lovely recent discovery:
(http://)

Yep, that’s what I meant. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 12, 2019, 10:16:39 PM
Yep, that’s what I meant. :)

Thought so. It's a lovely work.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on March 13, 2019, 01:11:26 AM
I really liked 'Tintagel' in this recording:
(http://)

Agreed. Recordings have been kind to "Tintagel". Have you visited the place? Teeming with tourists - I think they should be made to prove their Bax credentials before being allowed in! ;)

Something else that attracts me to the Weldon recording is that he includes the "Wasps" suite not just the Overture.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 13, 2019, 01:48:06 AM
Agreed. Recordings have been kind to "Tintagel". Have you visited the place? Teeming with tourists - I think they should be made to prove their Bax credentials before being allowed in! ;)

Something else that attracts me to the Weldon recording is that he includes the "Wasps" suite not just the Overture.

Yes, decades ago when it was really atmospheric and then a few years ago when it was a tourist nightmare. I agree that anyone not familiar with Bax's music should be physically ejected from the place.
 8)

I'm not a great fan of the Wasps but enjoy the suite more than the ubiquitous Overture. On the CD I prefer Holst's Perfect Fool music with its magical and poetic qualities.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on March 13, 2019, 07:43:28 AM
This Bax thread now runs to 43 pages, but I don’t see much mention of one of my new favorite works of his, the tone poem In memoriam, written in response to the Irish Easter Uprising (not to be confused with his chamber work of the same name). It’s a predominantly gentle, reflective work which rises to some stirring climaxes along the way. Very touching and direct music. It can be found on a Hallé CD titled “For the Fallen” with Sir Mark Elder conducting and on a Chandos CD with Vernon Handley conducting.

https://youtu.be/zznTaL61lBo
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 13, 2019, 10:41:17 AM
This Bax thread now runs to 43 pages, but I don’t see much mention of one of my new favorite works of his, the tone poem In memoriam, written in response to the Irish Easter Uprising (not to be confused with his chamber work of the same name). It’s a predominantly gentle, reflective work which rises to some stirring climaxes along the way. Very touching and direct music. It can be found on a Hallé CD titled “For the Fallen” with Sir Mark Elder conducting and on a Chandos CD with Vernon Handley conducting.

https://youtu.be/zznTaL61lBo

Thanks for alerting us to this little-known work Kyle. I've hardly ever listened to it so I fished out my Chandos CD and enjoyed it much more than I expected to. It starts off just like 'The Garden of Fand' which is not one of my favourite works by Bax and incorporates a tune from his later film score for 'Oliver Twist' which I found rather sentimental, although overall 'In Memoriam' made a very positive impression on me and I want to hear it again:
(http://)

Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on March 15, 2019, 01:38:40 PM
Thanks for alerting us to this little-known work Kyle. I've hardly ever listened to it so I fished out my Chandos CD and enjoyed it much more than I expected to. It starts off just like 'The Garden of Fand' which is not one of my favourite works by Bax and incorporates a tune from his later film score for 'Oliver Twist' which I found rather sentimental, although overall 'In Memoriam' made a very positive impression on me and I want to hear it again:
(http://)

Glad you enjoyed it, Jeffrey. My one friend recently discovered it as well and now believes it to be Bax’s finest work!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 15, 2019, 02:42:29 PM
Glad you enjoyed it, Jeffrey. My one friend recently discovered it as well and now believes it to be Bax’s finest work!
Interesting Kyle.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Alek Hidell on March 15, 2019, 08:08:40 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YE4yfRkdL.jpg)

Just finished a (first) listen to this set a few days ago. I still feel like such a neophyte in classical music, and there are idioms in it that are taking me a long time to "get." This is one of them. Don't get me wrong: I found much to enjoy in this set, including the fine interview with Handley that concludes it. He was certainly enthusiastic about Bax's music, and he prompted me to relisten to the 3rd and 6th symphonies (he considered the 6th Bax's masterpiece). But a lot of what's here went in one ear and out the other.

So here's another in a long line of discs, or sets of discs, that will require more listens for me. Handley also recorded many (all?) of the tone poems - I wish a few more of them were included here (the only non-symphonies are the Rogue's Comedy Overture and Tintagel).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Daverz on March 15, 2019, 08:40:41 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YE4yfRkdL.jpg)

Just finished a (first) listen to this set a few days ago. I still feel like such a neophyte in classical music, and there are idioms in it that are taking me a long time to "get."

The Bax symphonies a pretty tough nut, but they may grow on you, like stinky cheese or bitter beer.  The best place to start with Bax is the tone poems, e.g. Garden of Fand and November Woods.





Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 15, 2019, 09:42:28 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YE4yfRkdL.jpg)

Just finished a (first) listen to this set a few days ago. I still feel like such a neophyte in classical music, and there are idioms in it that are taking me a long time to "get." This is one of them. Don't get me wrong: I found much to enjoy in this set, including the fine interview with Handley that concludes it. He was certainly enthusiastic about Bax's music, and he prompted me to relisten to the 3rd and 6th symphonies (he considered the 6th Bax's masterpiece). But a lot of what's here went in one ear and out the other.

So here's another in a long line of discs, or sets of discs, that will require more listens for me. Handley also recorded many (all?) of the tone poems - I wish a few more of them were included here (the only non-symphonies are the Rogue's Comedy Overture and Tintagel).

I understand you, and it's nice to see more people exploring this fascinating composer. I felt almost the same than you: much of the music seemed not to make sense at first, but some time later the enjoyment came more easily.

As Daverz suggested, those tone poems are a good introduction to his orchestral music other than the symphonies. I would also recommend the Chandos series (see picture below, it's one of the those CDs), which offers practically all of them, including ballets:

(https://www.chandos.net/artwork/CH10156.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 16, 2019, 02:55:37 AM
Possibly my favourite Bax disc and a great introduction to his music:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on March 16, 2019, 10:56:56 AM
As Daverz suggested, those tone poems are a good introduction to his orchestral music other than the symphonies. I would also recommend the Chandos series (see picture below, it's one of the those CDs), which offers practically all of them, including ballets:

(https://www.chandos.net/artwork/CH10156.jpg)

I would second this recommendation - this disc contains all three of the most famous tone poems in excellent performances and sonics.  Available at cheap marketplace prices too.....
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Alek Hidell on March 16, 2019, 11:46:35 AM
Thanks to all. I have heard one or two of the tone poems (though I can't say for sure what they were :-[) and liked them - which was one reason I gave the symphonies a go. The other reason was that Google Music offers a download of the symphonies set for $10. :D

(They also offer multiple volumes of 'The Complete Bach Symphonies' ...  ??? :laugh:)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 16, 2019, 10:48:03 PM
Thanks to all. I have heard one or two of the tone poems (though I can't say for sure what they were :-[) and liked them - which was one reason I gave the symphonies a go. The other reason was that Google Music offers a download of the symphonies set for $10. :D

(They also offer multiple volumes of 'The Complete Bach Symphonies' ...  ??? :laugh:)

When I was in the USSR in 1985 I went into a record shop ( they existed in those days!) called 'Melodiya' on Nevsky Prospect in Leningrad (as it then was). Although the proprietor looked at me like I was nuts when I asked if they had any music by Miaskovsky ( eventually I found a couple of string quartets on LP) I was impressed that they had so many LPs devoted to the music of Sir Arnold - until I realised that 'Bax' was the Russian for 'Bach'  ::).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on March 20, 2019, 03:14:45 AM
I played the Fourth a few days ago. I turned it off last time (about a week,or,two,ago). This time I enjoyed it. It is a little uneven,I suppose;but I still prefer it to the Sixth,and,the third. It has some bracing "sea music" which I do like. That's if I stick around long enough!! ;D I seem to have read that some critics feel that Thomson's recordings of Bax,with the Ulster orchestra,were more favourably received by some critics?!
The recording I DO like of the third,is the one by Barbirolli. If I want to listen to the third,and enjoy it,that's my first port off call. Incidentally,I got the Downes recording of the third off one of those vinyl blogs of old,out of print,Lp's. The sound is pretty good;but you can tell it's off an Lp;and there's some noise on one track. It's probably still up there,somewhere?
I like Downes recordings of Bax,on the Carlton cd. I also like his recording of Bantock's Pagan symphony. The bit with all the percussion (Dance of the Satyrs) is very different,in his performance. I thought it was a bit wierd sounding at first. Now,I've got used to it,I've grown to like it. The Downes is now my favourite recording. And I think the Bax pieces and Pagan symphony go so well together. I missed this recording when it was broadcast. I remember taping his performance of Boughton's,lovely (imo) "Deidre" Symphony. As soon as I saw the cd I had to buy it. His performance of the third is my favourite;despite the superior sound quality of the Hyperion cd. I like some of Boughton's music,incidentally. Like Schreker,I can't help wishing he'd composed more music for orchestra,instead of (believe it,or not,vandermolen!) operas,or music-dramas! His First symphony is a bit of a yawn,admittedly. But it was an early effort.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2019, 11:34:56 PM
I played the Fourth a few days ago. I turned it off last time (about a week,or,two,ago). This time I enjoyed it. It is a little uneven,I suppose;but I still prefer it to the Sixth,and,the third. It has some bracing "sea music" which I do like. That's if I stick around long enough!! ;D I seem to have read that some critics feel that Thomson's recordings of Bax,with the Ulster orchestra,were more favourably received by some critics?!
The recording I DO like of the third,is the one by Barbirolli. If I want to listen to the third,and enjoy it,that's my first port off call. Incidentally,I got the Downes recording of the third off one of those vinyl blogs of old,out of print,Lp's. The sound is pretty good;but you can tell it's off an Lp;and there's some noise on one track. It's probably still up there,somewhere?
I like Downes recordings of Bax,on the Carlton cd. I also like his recording of Bantock's Pagan symphony. The bit with all the percussion (Dance of the Satyrs) is very different,in his performance. I thought it was a bit wierd sounding at first. Now,I've got used to it,I've grown to like it. The Downes is now my favourite recording. And I think the Bax pieces and Pagan symphony go so well together. I missed this recording when it was broadcast. I remember taping his performance of Boughton's,lovely (imo) "Deidre" Symphony. As soon as I saw the cd I had to buy it. His performance of the third is my favourite;despite the superior sound quality of the Hyperion cd. I like some of Boughton's music,incidentally. Like Schreker,I can't help wishing he'd composed more music for orchestra,instead of (believe it,or not,vandermolen!) operas,or music-dramas! His First symphony is a bit of a yawn,admittedly. But it was an early effort.
V much agree with you cilgwyn about Boughton although I really like 'The Immortal Hour'. His Oboe Concerto (written for his daughter I think) which is very nice. I didn't like the 'Cromwell Symphony' nearly as much as the moving Symphony 3 by Bainton on the same Dutton CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on May 31, 2019, 05:04:23 AM
What are everyone’s thoughts on Bax’s 7th Symphony? I listened to it for the first time recently (Thomson/Chandos) and am in two minds about it. I found the first two movements to be, quite frankly, rambling, uninspired, and unmemorable. But, to me, the third movement is on a completely different level - unusually for Bax, it’s a theme-and-variations with an Epilogue, which (mercifully) “forces” him to structure the movement coherently (it is this element of coherence that is so glaringly missing in the first two movements). But, more importantly, it is music of great beauty, with a valedictory quality appropriate for the “sunset” of Bax’s symphonic cycle. I would argue that this movement should have the right to be played separately (perhaps under the title “Theme and Variations”), though I know others will disagree. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset for the first two movements?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on May 31, 2019, 05:55:53 AM
What are everyone’s thoughts on Bax’s 7th Symphony? I listened to it for the first time recently (Thomson/Chandos) and am in two minds about it. I found the first two movements to be, quite frankly, rambling, uninspired, and unmemorable. But, to me, the third movement is on a completely different level - unusually for Bax, it’s a theme-and-variations with an Epilogue, which (mercifully) “forces” him to structure the movement coherently (it is this element of coherence that is so glaringly missing in the first two movements). But, more importantly, it is music of great beauty, with a valedictory quality appropriate for the “sunset” of Bax’s symphonic cycle. I would argue that this movement should have the right to be played separately (perhaps under the title “Theme and Variations”), though I know others will disagree. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset for the first two movements?
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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo 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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan 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....
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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:

(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk 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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 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. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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.
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons 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:
(http://)

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. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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
(http://)
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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons 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
(http://)
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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons 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
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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!  ::)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons 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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 17, 2019, 09:47:17 AM
A strong recommendation for this magical 1956 broadcast of Bax's 2nd Symphony, which fully conveys the sense of looming catastrophe which pervades the work.
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on June 17, 2019, 07:57:26 PM
Sadly I don't have that recording, I hope it is not a mono one if I get it.

On the other hand, this time I wanted to hear the 6th, which some claim is one of his best, and now I tend to agree with that. It has one of the most epic and marked beginnings I know by him, grabbing immediately the attention of the listener. I confirm the ability to evoke atmospheres is one of Bax's strongest attributes, I feel I'm taken to a cold and hostile scenery, not without some warmer moments that chiefly woodwinds offer. The contrast between the wild outbursts and the restful fairy-like moments is another appeal I find here. Moreover, the inner cohesion is linked to the exuberant orchestration that in turn helps to the atmosphere, it's just getting carried away by the fantastic sonorities, hence melodies are not always necessary to enjoy this work or most of the works by this composer. And I think it's one of your least favorite symphonies of him, Jeffrey, isn't it? I wonder why!  ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 17, 2019, 08:16:29 PM
Sadly I don't have that recording, I hope it is not a mono one if I get it.

On the other hand, this time I wanted to hear the 6th, which some claim is one of his best, and now I tend to agree with that. It has one of the most epic and marked beginnings I know by him, grabbing immediately the attention of the listener. I confirm the ability to evoke atmospheres is one of Bax's strongest attributes, I feel I'm taken to a cold and hostile scenery, not without some warmer moments that chiefly woodwinds offer. The contrast between the wild outbursts and the restful fairy-like moments is another appeal I find here. Moreover, the inner cohesion is linked to the exuberant orchestration that in turn helps to the atmosphere, it's just getting carried away by the fantastic sonorities, hence melodies are not always necessary to enjoy this work or most of the works by this composer. And I think it's one of your least favorite symphonies of him, Jeffrey, isn't it? I wonder why!  ;)

Hi Cesar. Symphony 2 is mono and Winter Legends is stereo.
Actually I have the highest opinion of all the Bax symphonies, although it's true that I do not consider No.6 the greatest. I think part of the problem is that I don't consider Norman Del Mar's Lyrita recording (the only one available for decades) on the same level as the other Lyrita recordings by Raymond Leppard and Myer Fredman. Actually I think that the Naxos recording by Lloyd-Jones or the Bryden Thomson on Chandos is preferable. I will listen again to Symphony 6 and it is a great symphony I agree. It may be that the Lyrita recording of Symphony 6 always struck me as rather 'boxed in'.

On a separate note I came across this rather touching obituary of Myer Fredman, the conductor of the legendary first recordings of Bax's 1st and 2nd symphonies (not to mention Havergal Brian's 6th and 16th also on Lyrita):
https://kevinpurcell.com.au/Content/2014/07/myer-fredman-1932-2014-the-passing-of-a-very-great-conductor-and-musician/
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 17, 2019, 10:43:06 PM
I remember that broadcast of Winter Legends very well.  I don't have the disc but it must have 1978 or 79?  The Colin Scott-Sutherland book - the only real reference for Bax's music - made great play of its importance in his output.  So when the chance to hear it came up I was very interested.  Being at school at the time I had to rig up a simple timer for the radio at home (my mother pushing the record button on the rather basic music centre) and I ended up with a prized rather low-fi cassette - I think it just fitted on one side of a C-90!  To this day neither of the big piano concertante works by Bax - Winter Legends or Symphonic Variations do much for me.  A case of where Baxian "sprawl" overwhelms the music.  But I keep trying.......
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 17, 2019, 11:12:22 PM
I remember that broadcast of Winter Legends very well.  I don't have the disc but it must have 1978 or 79?  The Colin Scott-Sutherland book - the only real reference for Bax's music - made great play of its importance in his output.  So when the chance to hear it came up I was very interested.  Being at school at the time I had to rig up a simple timer for the radio at home (my mother pushing the record button on the rather basic music centre) and I ended up with a prized rather low-fi cassette - I think it just fitted on one side of a C-90!  To this day neither of the big piano concertante works by Bax - Winter Legends or Symphonic Variations do much for me.  A case of where Baxian "sprawl" overwhelms the music.  But I keep trying.......

1978. I prefer the Symphonic Variations to Winter Legends. I remember that I recorded Hilding Rosenberg's 2nd Symphony 'Grave' from a radio broadcast on to a cassette!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on June 18, 2019, 01:03:09 PM
Sadly I don't have that recording, I hope it is not a mono one if I get it.

On the other hand, this time I wanted to hear the 6th, which some claim is one of his best, and now I tend to agree with that. It has one of the most epic and marked beginnings I know by him, grabbing immediately the attention of the listener. I confirm the ability to evoke atmospheres is one of Bax's strongest attributes, I feel I'm taken to a cold and hostile scenery, not without some warmer moments that chiefly woodwinds offer. The contrast between the wild outbursts and the restful fairy-like moments is another appeal I find here. Moreover, the inner cohesion is linked to the exuberant orchestration that in turn helps to the atmosphere, it's just getting carried away by the fantastic sonorities, hence melodies are not always necessary to enjoy this work or most of the works by this composer. And I think it's one of your least favorite symphonies of him, Jeffrey, isn't it? I wonder why!  ;)

I also listened to the 6th recently (Thomson recording, which is great) and very much agree with you. Along with the 1st and 5th, it’s among Bax’s most powerful and cohesive symphonies. The opening is indeed very gripping and the valedictory ending is quite moving, and there’s much great material in between (particularly the ‘will-o-the-wisp’ scherzo section in the finale). It seems that preference of the Bax symphonies is one of the few things we and Jeffrey disagree on! ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on June 18, 2019, 01:09:03 PM
I remember that broadcast of Winter Legends very well.  I don't have the disc but it must have 1978 or 79?  The Colin Scott-Sutherland book - the only real reference for Bax's music - made great play of its importance in his output.  So when the chance to hear it came up I was very interested.  Being at school at the time I had to rig up a simple timer for the radio at home (my mother pushing the record button on the rather basic music centre) and I ended up with a prized rather low-fi cassette - I think it just fitted on one side of a C-90!  To this day neither of the big piano concertante works by Bax - Winter Legends or Symphonic Variations do much for me.  A case of where Baxian "sprawl" overwhelms the music.  But I keep trying.......

I agree with you about the prolixity of Winter Legends and Symphonic Variations, though there are some colorful passages in the former especially. I prefer the later Concertante for Piano Left Hand to both works - it boasts an especially lovely slow movement with one of Bax’s signature “Celtic” tunes. Rather oddly this movement often puts me in mind of the slow sections of the Hanson Piano Concerto!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on June 18, 2019, 04:15:41 PM
Hi Cesar. Symphony 2 is mono and Winter Legends is stereo.
Actually I have the highest opinion of all the Bax symphonies, although it's true that I do not consider No.6 the greatest. I think part of the problem is that I don't consider Norman Del Mar's Lyrita recording (the only one available for decades) on the same level as the other Lyrita recordings by Raymond Leppard and Myer Fredman. Actually I think that the Naxos recording by Lloyd-Jones or the Bryden Thomson on Chandos is preferable. I will listen again to Symphony 6 and it is a great symphony I agree. It may be that the Lyrita recording of Symphony 6 always struck me as rather 'boxed in'.

On a separate note I came across this rather touching obituary of Myer Fredman, the conductor of the legendary first recordings of Bax's 1st and 2nd symphonies (not to mention Havergal Brian's 6th and 16th also on Lyrita):
https://kevinpurcell.com.au/Content/2014/07/myer-fredman-1932-2014-the-passing-of-a-very-great-conductor-and-musician/

Oh, too bad for my interests. Having stereo recordings I lean prefering them over mono  :(

As for the 6th, often first listens leave a strong impression, so I kind of understand your approach to that work in those terms.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on June 18, 2019, 04:17:04 PM
I also listened to the 6th recently (Thomson recording, which is great) and very much agree with you. Along with the 1st and 5th, it’s among Bax’s most powerful and cohesive symphonies. The opening is indeed very gripping and the valedictory ending is quite moving, and there’s much great material in between (particularly the ‘will-o-the-wisp’ scherzo section in the finale). It seems that preference of the Bax symphonies is one of the few things we and Jeffrey disagree on! ;)

Very good! Those are my favorites too, and the 4th is not far behind.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 25, 2019, 10:19:37 AM
An underrated performance of Symphony 6 IMO. I much prefer it to the Norman Del Mar recording on Lyrita which always sounds rather constipated (sorry) and boxed-in to me.
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 25, 2019, 12:44:52 PM
An underrated performance of Symphony 6 IMO. I much prefer it to the Norman Del Mar recording on Lyrita which always sounds rather constipated (sorry) and boxed-in to me.
(http://)

I agree that the Lyrita recording is one of their few technical duds but I find this Bostock version poor in the extreme.  The Munich Orchestra are 2nd rank at best.  Add a lack of rehearsal and Bostock's middle of the road, nothing insightful, dull but safe approach and its a non-starter for me.  Topped off by a depressingly slack Tintagel
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 25, 2019, 01:27:44 PM
I agree that the Lyrita recording is one of their few technical duds but I find this Bostock version poor in the extreme.  The Munich Orchestra are 2nd rank at best.  Add a lack of rehearsal and Bostock's middle of the road, nothing insightful, dull but safe approach and its a non-starter for me.  Topped off by a depressingly slack Tintagel
I think that this is the general consensus but I find the rather under-stated performance of interest and holding my attention although I tend to agree with you regarding Tintagel.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 26, 2019, 02:27:12 AM
I think that this is the general consensus but I find the rather under-stated performance of interest and holding my attention although I tend to agree with you regarding Tintagel.

Ingrate that I am...!  Not so long ago who would have thought we could discuss the relative merits of 5 different recorded versions of a Bax Symphony - including 3 complete cycles
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2019, 04:13:33 AM
Ingrate that I am...!  Not so long ago who would have thought we could discuss the relative merits of 5 different recorded versions of a Bax Symphony - including 3 complete cycles
Yes, that's true!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on June 26, 2019, 05:31:16 AM
How does the David Lloyd-Jones cycle on Naxos measure up?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2019, 05:37:24 AM
How does the David Lloyd-Jones cycle on Naxos measure up?

I like No.6 very much - possibly my favourite version. I think that they are all good without necessarily being anything special. I like the coupling of Nympholept and Symphony 4 and also like the recordings of 3 and 7.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 26, 2019, 07:34:05 AM
How does the David Lloyd-Jones cycle on Naxos measure up?

My memory was exactly the same as Vandermolen's - good without being anything "market-leading".  But to be fair - I listened to that No.7 the other day in isolation (in the sense that I haven't listened to that work in any performance for some time) and actually enjoyed it more than I remembered.......
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Brian on June 26, 2019, 09:50:22 AM
I realized this morning that I have no memory of any of the Bax symphonies or which is which. So I decided to re-listen to them all and write notes for my own future reference. But just in case anybody else finds the notes interesting, will post them here.

Symphony No. 1 in E flat. Starting with a blast of percussion and brass, the first movement initially lives up to its "feroce" marking (one tune sounds a little like the Star Wars imperial march), before a long secondary episode that's slower and more pastoral. Almost half the movement is gone before the development starts. There's a goofy little circus interlude around 8:30 (Fredman performance) but mostly it's a return to the agitated mood, with one tranquil episode near the end. The slow movement is at least as foreboding - droning strings, snarling muted trombones. It's generally pretty successful. I like the finale's fairly convincing twists and turns between major and minor keys, too. Also, I thought Bax symphonies were generally longer than this. There is some fat that could have been trimmed, a bit of empty-calorie trombone blasting, and not too much that is Truly Memorable, but it's all quite nice and generally worth revisiting.

Symphony No. 2 in E minor and C major (?!). Yet another sinister beginning, but this time driven by lower strings and woodwinds. Bax sure does love his muted brass. The first movement has its dial set firmly to menace, mystery, and vague foreboding; the slow movement is a little like that of Symphony No. 1, too, but with a folksy central episode that only feels appropriate because it's rather solemnly scored and played (Fredman again). After a while, it too turns toward angst. I'm starting to wonder if all of Bax's symphonies run together in my mind because they're stuck firmly in the same mood of snarly menace and turbulence. The organ is a welcome surprise, a pretty natural way of turning up the heat.

Symphony No. 5. Skipping ahead because this is the next thing on the Lyrita CD (Leppard performance). And I'm afraid the Fifth mostly seems to be offering more of the same - probably Bax's most lyrical second subject yet, bookended by more of the familiar feeling of vague threat/menace. Lots more muted brass. This seems to be the symphony where he gives most attention to colorful string writing. At 13:30 in the first movement, there's a surprisingly jaunty outburst that takes us over to the world of Elgar's marches. Then follows one of the calm oasis moments which Bax seems to like to put in his first movement codas. I completely forgot to take notes on the slow movement. The finale, while still basically foreboding/intimidating, is more dancelike than any Bax so far, kinda tarantell-ish and snappy. Reminds me of George Lloyd. It bogs down a little towards the end before reaching a determined upbeat ending on a major chord - maybe the first happy ending so far??

Okay, I'm burned out for now....more later.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2019, 10:20:40 PM
My memory was exactly the same as Vandermolen's - good without being anything "market-leading".  But to be fair - I listened to that No.7 the other day in isolation (in the sense that I haven't listened to that work in any performance for some time) and actually enjoyed it more than I remembered.......
That was also my recent experience with Symphony 7.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 26, 2019, 10:24:48 PM
I realized this morning that I have no memory of any of the Bax symphonies or which is which. So I decided to re-listen to them all and write notes for my own future reference. But just in case anybody else finds the notes interesting, will post them here.

Symphony No. 1 in E flat. Starting with a blast of percussion and brass, the first movement initially lives up to its "feroce" marking (one tune sounds a little like the Star Wars imperial march), before a long secondary episode that's slower and more pastoral. Almost half the movement is gone before the development starts. There's a goofy little circus interlude around 8:30 (Fredman performance) but mostly it's a return to the agitated mood, with one tranquil episode near the end. The slow movement is at least as foreboding - droning strings, snarling muted trombones. It's generally pretty successful. I like the finale's fairly convincing twists and turns between major and minor keys, too. Also, I thought Bax symphonies were generally longer than this. There is some fat that could have been trimmed, a bit of empty-calorie trombone blasting, and not too much that is Truly Memorable, but it's all quite nice and generally worth revisiting.

Symphony No. 2 in E minor and C major (?!). Yet another sinister beginning, but this time driven by lower strings and woodwinds. Bax sure does love his muted brass. The first movement has its dial set firmly to menace, mystery, and vague foreboding; the slow movement is a little like that of Symphony No. 1, too, but with a folksy central episode that only feels appropriate because it's rather solemnly scored and played (Fredman again). After a while, it too turns toward angst. I'm starting to wonder if all of Bax's symphonies run together in my mind because they're stuck firmly in the same mood of snarly menace and turbulence. The organ is a welcome surprise, a pretty natural way of turning up the heat.

Symphony No. 5. Skipping ahead because this is the next thing on the Lyrita CD (Leppard performance). And I'm afraid the Fifth mostly seems to be offering more of the same - probably Bax's most lyrical second subject yet, bookended by more of the familiar feeling of vague threat/menace. Lots more muted brass. This seems to be the symphony where he gives most attention to colorful string writing. At 13:30 in the first movement, there's a surprisingly jaunty outburst that takes us over to the world of Elgar's marches. Then follows one of the calm oasis moments which Bax seems to like to put in his first movement codas. I completely forgot to take notes on the slow movement. The finale, while still basically foreboding/intimidating, is more dancelike than any Bax so far, kinda tarantell-ish and snappy. Reminds me of George Lloyd. It bogs down a little towards the end before reaching a determined upbeat ending on a major chord - maybe the first happy ending so far??

Okay, I'm burned out for now....more later.
Interesting reviews and thanks for posting. I have a higher opinion of the sibelian 5th Symphony and find it to be the most integrated of the seven. On the Star Wars theme I wonder if anyone else has noticed the similarity between the March from Prokofiev's 'The Love of Three Oranges' and the 'Parade of the Ewoks' from Star Wars: 'Return of the Jedi'.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on June 27, 2019, 08:06:44 PM
On the Star Wars theme I wonder if anyone else has noticed the similarity between the March from Prokofiev's 'The Love of Three Oranges' and the 'Parade of the Ewoks' from Star Wars: 'Return of the Jedi'.

Yes, of course! :D As Brian points out, there are numerous "Star Wars moments" in Bax's output, not least the openings of the Piano Quintet (the Force theme!) and November Woods (some of the quieter, more atmospheric moments in the soundtrack). I wonder if John Williams knew Bax's music? I think it's very possible that he did.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on June 28, 2019, 05:29:03 AM
Yes, of course! :D As Brian points out, there are numerous "Star Wars moments" in Bax's output, not least the openings of the Piano Quintet (the Force theme!) and November Woods (some of the quieter, more atmospheric moments in the soundtrack). I wonder if John Williams knew Bax's music? I think it's very possible that he did.

John Williams is an anglophile (as was his predecessor, Bernard Herrmann) and very much influenced by RVW.  I'm not sure if he was inspired by Bax or rather both of them were inspired by the Ravelian/English style...sort of a mixture of impressionism and pastoralism giving it an oriental exotic mythical quality, like old legends. 
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 28, 2019, 10:42:36 AM
OT
I think that in the Avatar film James Horner uses a theme very similar to one in Prokofiev's 'War and Peace' opera, representing the Russian commander Kutuzov.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on June 28, 2019, 02:54:01 PM
OT
I think that in the Avatar film James Horner uses a theme very similar to one in Prokofiev's 'War and Peace' opera, representing the Russian commander Kutuzov.

If you can give more specifics, I would definitely like to understand your reference better.  There is certainly Horner's frequently heard "danger motif" which can be heard in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky which itself can be he heard in the opening bar of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on June 29, 2019, 03:42:51 AM
Playing,now! A cd-r,I made,of the following:

1) Northern Ballad No 1                       LPO/Boult
2) Northern Ballad No 2                       BBCPO/Downes
3) Northern Ballad No 3                       BBCPO/Downes
4) The Tale the Pine Trees Knew           Ulster Orch/Boult

In that order! I rather liked the idea of putting all three Northern Ballads on one cd! Unfortunately,Chandos spoilt it,for me,by adding bilge like,the orchestration of,Red Autumn;and The Happy Forest,which I just don't think is one of Bax's best works! Anyway! The Northern Ballads go nicely together,because of their steely,Northern hue. As does,The Tale the Pine Trees Knew! I picked these recordings,because they are my favourites! (And I got rid of the Cello Concerto!! So,I can't rip Thomson's recording! Worse luck!! :o ;D). I might make another cd with Boult's recording of November Woods,as well! (It shares a similar atmosphere,in some ways,imho!). I included the shot of this Lp,because I like the cover photo! And it just seems to fit the music! Anyone know where the photo was taken?! It might say on the back of the Lp?!!

(https://i.imgur.com/0AW7eYQ.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Biffo on June 29, 2019, 04:06:05 AM
Playing,now! A cd-r,I made,of the following:

1) Northern Ballad No 1                       LPO/Boult
2) Northern Ballad No 2                       BBCPO/Downes
3) Northern Ballad No 3                       BBCPO/Downes
4) The Tale the Pine Trees Knew           Ulster Orch/Boult

In that order! I rather liked the idea of putting all three Northern Ballads on one cd! Unfortunately,Chandos spoilt it,for me,by adding bilge like,the orchestration of,Red Autumn;and The Happy Forest,which I just don't think is one of Bax's best works! Anyway! The Northern Ballads go nicely together,because of their steely,Northern hue. As does,The Tale the Pine Trees Knew! I picked these recordings,because they are my favourites! (And I got rid of the Cello Concerto!! So,I can't rip Thomson's recording! Worse luck!! :o ;D). I might make another cd with Boult's recording of November Woods,as well! (It shares a similar atmosphere,in some ways,imho!). I included the shot of this Lp,because I like the cover photo! And it just seems to fit the music! Anyone know where the photo was taken?! It might say on the back of the Lp?!!

(https://i.imgur.com/0AW7eYQ.jpg)

Unfortunately, it doesn't. I found a copy for sale on ebay and it had a photo of the reverse, no info regarding the cover.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 29, 2019, 04:46:37 AM
If you can give more specifics, I would definitely like to understand your reference better.  There is certainly Horner's frequently heard "danger motif" which can be heard in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky which itself can be he heard in the opening bar of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1.
I'll see if I can find my Avatar soundtrack CD.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on June 29, 2019, 04:49:04 AM
Playing,now! A cd-r,I made,of the following:

1) Northern Ballad No 1                       LPO/Boult
2) Northern Ballad No 2                       BBCPO/Downes
3) Northern Ballad No 3                       BBCPO/Downes
4) The Tale the Pine Trees Knew           Ulster Orch/Boult

In that order! I rather liked the idea of putting all three Northern Ballads on one cd! Unfortunately,Chandos spoilt it,for me,by adding bilge like,the orchestration of,Red Autumn;and The Happy Forest,which I just don't think is one of Bax's best works! Anyway! The Northern Ballads go nicely together,because of their steely,Northern hue. As does,The Tale the Pine Trees Knew! I picked these recordings,because they are my favourites! (And I got rid of the Cello Concerto!! So,I can't rip Thomson's recording! Worse luck!! :o ;D). I might make another cd with Boult's recording of November Woods,as well! (It shares a similar atmosphere,in some ways,imho!). I included the shot of this Lp,because I like the cover photo! And it just seems to fit the music! Anyone know where the photo was taken?! It might say on the back of the Lp?!!

(https://i.imgur.com/0AW7eYQ.jpg)
Nice idea cigwyn!
I rather like this compilation:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on June 29, 2019, 05:48:49 AM

4) The Tale the Pine Trees Knew           Ulster Orch/Boult

Ulster Orchestra/Thomson ..... surely......
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on July 02, 2019, 01:41:04 PM
I've got to say. As great as the Lyrita recording,undoubtedly is;after playing the Thomson recording,this has to be my favourite recording. The ferocity of the opening,and the thrilling,brooding,grandeur of the second movement,just have more impact for me. The Chandos recording certainly helps. But Bryden Thomson paces it,just perfectly for me. A magnificent recording! I'm listening to this recording,as part of the original box set,by the way!

(https://i.imgur.com/k9Lb4I0.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 02, 2019, 01:56:38 PM
I've got to say. As great as the Lyrita recording,undoubtedly is;after playing the Thomson recording,this has to be my favourite recording. The ferocity of the opening,and the thrilling,brooding,grandeur of the second movement,just have more impact for me. The Chandos recording certainly helps. But Bryden Thomson paces it,just perfectly for me. A magnificent recording! I'm listening to this recording,as part of the original box set,by the way!

(https://i.imgur.com/k9Lb4I0.jpg)
It's a fabulous disc cilgwyn and I also like Christmas Eve very much. I was thinking about Bax today (as one does) and realised that, whilst I often have fine snatches of his music running through my head, I often cannot place which symphony it is from (4,6,7?). With Vaughan Williams I can immediately identify the symphony, or other work, where the music is from but invariably not with Bax. Maybe something to do with the diffuse nature of his musical inspiration.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on July 02, 2019, 07:28:43 PM
It's a fabulous disc cilgwyn and I also like Christmas Eve very much. I was thinking about Bax today (as one does) and realised that, whilst I often have fine snatches of his music running through my head, I often cannot place which symphony it is from (4,6,7?). With Vaughan Williams I can immediately identify the symphony, or other work, where the music is from but invariably not with Bax. Maybe something to do with the diffuse nature of his musical inspiration.

That's quite understandable, Jeffrey. Though an admirer of most of Bax's music, I feel the same way. His symphonies (and orchestral works in general) do not have as strongly profiled distinguishing characteristics as the works of some other composers, such as Vaughan Williams. Whereas each of VW's symphonies have very different characters and moods, all of Bax's have generally the same combination of epic/heroic/legendary/angry/mysterious moods, with the 1st and 2nd tending most towards "angry/mysterious".
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 02, 2019, 08:58:03 PM
That's quite understandable, Jeffrey. Though an admirer of most of Bax's music, I feel the same way. His symphonies (and orchestral works in general) do not have as strongly profiled distinguishing characteristics as the works of some other composers, such as Vaughan Williams. Whereas each of VW's symphonies have very different characters and moods, all of Bax's have generally the same combination of epic/heroic/legendary/angry/mysterious moods, with the 1st and 2nd tending most towards "angry/mysterious".
I do agree Kyle although, paradoxically, Bax remains one of my favourite symphonists.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 02, 2019, 11:09:29 PM
That's quite understandable, Jeffrey. Though an admirer of most of Bax's music, I feel the same way. His symphonies (and orchestral works in general) do not have as strongly profiled distinguishing characteristics as the works of some other composers, such as Vaughan Williams. Whereas each of VW's symphonies have very different characters and moods, all of Bax's have generally the same combination of epic/heroic/legendary/angry/mysterious moods, with the 1st and 2nd tending most towards "angry/mysterious".

My problem with Bax (and it is my problem not his) in a nutshell. I love the tone poems which have an atmosphere all of their own. The one symphony that I do like does have an identifiable theme, the sea of the 4th. The others I find diffuse. I think the problem is that my scatter-gun approach doesn't work with Bax, I need to pick a symphony and concentrate on that alone.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 02, 2019, 11:11:11 PM
Unfortunately, it doesn't. I found a copy for sale on ebay and it had a photo of the reverse, no info regarding the cover.

Lake District?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on July 03, 2019, 06:12:00 AM
It does look a bit like Ullswater to me.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Biffo on July 03, 2019, 06:20:16 AM
It does look a bit like Ullswater to me.

This is a similar view of Ullswater (water, pine tree) - https://www.thelakedistrict.org/things-to-do/walks/aira-force-to-glenridding-with-steamer-return/
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on July 09, 2019, 02:24:45 AM
It's a fabulous disc cilgwyn and I also like Christmas Eve very much. I was thinking about Bax today (as one does) and realised that, whilst I often have fine snatches of his music running through my head, I often cannot place which symphony it is from (4,6,7?). With Vaughan Williams I can immediately identify the symphony, or other work, where the music is from but invariably not with Bax. Maybe something to do with the diffuse nature of his musical inspiration.
Interesting! I can remember the beginnings of some of the symphonies,and sections of some of the symphonies;particularly the first two! I remember when I had the original Chandos Lp's,as a youngster,having the Second and First symphonies running,round and round,in my head. Particularly,the first two movements of the First,and 1st movement of the Second. My moods,tending to favour,some of the more brooding,turbulent and stormy,moments. I always seemed to associate the music with the Welsh countryside,in my minds eye. The mountains of North Pembrokeshire (well,mountains to us!). The second movement of the First symphony,is one of his finest creations,in my humble opinion! I used to see the rocky crags and cairns and sweeping vistas,across to the sea,in my mind;as I 'listened'! Having always been fascinated by Folklore,and,particularly,of the Welsh,or Celtic variety,Bax's music seemed an ideal accompanied. A sort of musical sound track,you might say! VW just didn't seem the right sort of music,for that kind of countryside. And,I wasn't really,'into',his music,anyway,back then. In fact,I was always,rather bemused,by the choice of music favoured in programs about the Welsh countryside,and history. It always seemed to tame and serene. Wales with it's turbulent history. The invasion and conquest of Wales and all the bloody deaths and suffering that must have caused. The erection of castles across the land,to contain and suppress,their ancient foes. Of course,that's all history,now! ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on July 09, 2019, 02:37:12 AM
Incidentally. A bit off-topic! But I listened to a cd-r I have had for some time,of Goossen's Second Symphony. The First was interesting. I quite liked it. But the Second Symphony grabbed my attention. I kept hearing snatches of it in my head. Particularly,those strange,'stamping' sounds,in the final movement! I'm not a musician,and I can't think of how else to describe them. I have read reviews,describing the music as being Baxian. Or,resembling that sound world. The first two,I presume? After listening to Bridge's Phantasm,I started thinking they sounded more like the sound world of late Bridge. Imagine if Bridge had composed a symphony (I wish he had!). A bit of the first two Bax symphonies;and maybe a little late Scriabin (as late as it gets) thrown in. But the world of late Bridge,was the closest comparison,to my ears. Thorny,chromatic and turbulent,with an epic feel. (Imagine if Bax had taken the style of his first two symphonies even further?) I even tried to cancel my order,at one point. Thankfully,the cd has been sent out,anyway! I just had to have it on an actual,physical cd. And with,a nice booklet,hopefully?!! It really 'grabbed me',that symphony! I had to own a cd of it!! ??? ;D
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 09, 2019, 09:29:08 PM
Interesting! I can remember the beginnings of some of the symphonies,and sections of some of the symphonies;particularly the first two! I remember when I had the original Chandos Lp's,as a youngster,having the Second and First symphonies running,round and round,in my head. Particularly,the first two movements of the First,and 1st movement of the Second. My moods,tending to favour,some of the more brooding,turbulent and stormy,moments. I always seemed to associate the music with the Welsh countryside,in my minds eye. The mountains of North Pembrokeshire (well,mountains to us!). The second movement of the First symphony,is one of his finest creations,in my humble opinion! I used to see the rocky crags and cairns and sweeping vistas,across to the sea,in my mind;as I 'listened'! Having always been fascinated by Folklore,and,particularly,of the Welsh,or Celtic variety,Bax's music seemed an ideal accompanied. A sort of musical sound track,you might say! VW just didn't seem the right sort of music,for that kind of countryside. And,I wasn't really,'into',his music,anyway,back then. In fact,I was always,rather bemused,by the choice of music favoured in programs about the Welsh countryside,and history. It always seemed to tame and serene. Wales with it's turbulent history. The invasion and conquest of Wales and all the bloody deaths and suffering that must have caused. The erection of castles across the land,to contain and suppress,their ancient foes. Of course,that's all history,now! ;D
Very interesting. I discovered Vaughan Williams at about the same time I discovered the Yorkshire Dales, my favourite part of England, where I have had many enjoyable holidays. I learned to associate Vaughan Williams's 6th Symphony, eecially the turbulent opening, with the craggy landscape of the bleaker sections of the Dales (Swaledale for example). Also I was no doubt influenced by the Decca Eclipse cover picture, although that was actually of the Lake Disrict rather than the Dales. Therefore I learnt to associate the 6th Symphony with the English landscape rather that with post-apocalyptic nuclear destruction!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 09, 2019, 09:36:39 PM
Incidentally. A bit off-topic! But I listened to a cd-r I have had for some time,of Goossen's Second Symphony. The First was interesting. I quite liked it. But the Second Symphony grabbed my attention. I kept hearing snatches of it in my head. Particularly,those strange,'stamping' sounds,in the final movement! I'm not a musician,and I can't think of how else to describe them. I have read reviews,describing the music as being Baxian. Or,resembling that sound world. The first two,I presume? After listening to Bridge's Phantasm,I started thinking they sounded more like the sound world of late Bridge. Imagine if Bridge had composed a symphony (I wish he had!). A bit of the first two Bax symphonies;and maybe a little late Scriabin (as late as it gets) thrown in. But the world of late Bridge,was the closest comparison,to my ears. Thorny,chromatic and turbulent,with an epic feel. (Imagine if Bax had taken the style of his first two symphonies even further?) I even tried to cancel my order,at one point. Thankfully,the cd has been sent out,anyway! I just had to have it on an actual,physical cd. And with,a nice booklet,hopefully?!! It really 'grabbed me',that symphony! I had to own a cd of it!! ??? ;D
I agree. Fine work. Christo like Goossens as well. I have the box set of his symphonies and the individual releases - in other words the same CD twice (let's not go there  ::)). I like both symphonies very much. What a shame that David Measham's fine recording, on Unicorn, was never released on CD (whereas his excellent Miaskovsky No.21 was). I think that it is the best recorded performance. Symphony No.1 was also Richard Hickox's last ever recording before his untimely death. I wish that he had gone on to record Symphony 2. I think that Goossens's Symphony 2 is rather 'Baxian' but he has a unique style and is perhaps my favourite 'conductor composer':

(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Christo on July 11, 2019, 03:05:18 AM
I agree. Fine work. Christo like Goossens as well. I have the box set of his symphonies and the individual releases - in other words the same CD twice (let's not go there  ::)). I like both symphonies very much. What a shame that David Measham's fine recording, on Unicorn, was never released on CD (whereas his excellent Miaskovsky No.21 was). I think that it is the best recorded performance. Symphony No.1 was also Richard Hickox's last ever recording before his untimely death. I wish that he had gone on to record Symphony 2. I think that Goossens's Symphony 2 is rather 'Baxian' but he has a unique style and is perhaps my favourite 'conductor composer':

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41cVceR9esL.jpg)(https://www.picclickimg.com/d/l400/pict/254241792275_/David-Measham-Conducts-Eugene-Goossens-Symphony-No-1.jpg)
Agree about the Measham being the finest recording of the three; a pity it was never released on cd. The ABC Goossens box set is a treasure trove; still had the order it directly from Australia, fifteen years ago (for some reason ABC wasn't available in Europe, then).
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 12, 2019, 08:14:52 PM
I've got to say. As great as the Lyrita recording,undoubtedly is;after playing the Thomson recording,this has to be my favourite recording. The ferocity of the opening,and the thrilling,brooding,grandeur of the second movement,just have more impact for me. The Chandos recording certainly helps. But Bryden Thomson paces it,just perfectly for me. A magnificent recording! I'm listening to this recording,as part of the original box set,by the way!

(https://i.imgur.com/k9Lb4I0.jpg)

My thoughts exactly. The 2nd movement on this recording is superior in both interpretation and atmosphere. Definitely Thomson and his orchestra understood this epic music.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 13, 2019, 11:33:59 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41cVceR9esL.jpg)(https://www.picclickimg.com/d/l400/pict/254241792275_/David-Measham-Conducts-Eugene-Goossens-Symphony-No-1.jpg)
Agree about the Measham being the finest recording of the three; a pity it was never released on cd. The ABC Goossens box set is a treasure trove; still had the order it directly from Australia, fifteen years ago (for some reason ABC wasn't available in Europe, then).

After reading positive posts of the Measham recording of Goossens 1st Symphony I purchased a copy only to find it was a poor pressing which does happen time to time buying second hand vinyl. Another copy will turn up.

Watched the Ken Russell film of Bax this week. Russell himself plays Bax and the likeness is uncanny but Russell is a far better director then actor. The film was a bit arty in an old fashioned way and the acting stilted so I would not recommend it but was fascinated in a fly on the wall way. The opening was amusing with the middle-aged Bax sitting in a cinema with the equally middle-aged John Ireland. Bax is eyeing up the young ladies, and Ireland, the young men.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2019, 12:05:48 AM
After reading positive posts of the Measham recording of Goossens 1st Symphony I purchased a copy only to find it was a poor pressing which does happen time to time buying second hand vinyl. Another copy will turn up.

Watched the Ken Russell film of Bax this week. Russell himself plays Bax and the likeness is uncanny but Russell is a far better director then actor. The film was a bit arty in an old fashioned way and the acting stilted so I would not recommend it but was fascinated in a fly on the wall way. The opening was amusing with the middle-aged Bax sitting in a cinema with the equally middle-aged John Ireland. Bax is eyeing up the young ladies, and Ireland, the young men.
I've never come across that film before. I remember his surprisingly conventional documentary film about Vaughan Williams many years ago.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 14, 2019, 05:23:16 AM
I've never come across that film before. I remember his surprisingly conventional documentary film about Vaughan Williams many years ago.

I know of the Vaughan Williams film but have not seen it. I think there is a Mahler film too which again I have not seen.

I very much enjoyed the evocative Elgar film in black and white first shown by the BBC on their Monitor series in 1962 (I have the DVD). Russell also featured Delius in a film which is good.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on July 14, 2019, 08:59:27 AM
And Tchaikovsky.  Played as I recall by Richard 'Dr Kildare' Chamberlain.  Not so good.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2019, 09:47:12 AM
And Tchaikovsky.  Played as I recall by Richard 'Dr Kildare' Chamberlain.  Not so good.
One of those 'so bad it's good' films I think.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2019, 09:47:52 AM
I know of the Vaughan Williams film but have not seen it. I think there is a Mahler film too which again I have not seen.

I very much enjoyed the evocative Elgar film in black and white first shown by the BBC on their Monitor series in 1962 (I have the DVD). Russell also featured Delius in a film which is good.
I rather liked the Mahler film. Nuts but enjoyable.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: kyjo on July 14, 2019, 04:53:58 PM
It’s very interesting to see the difference of opinions regarding recordings of the Bax symphonies on different sites! Here on GMG, it seems that the Thomson and various Lyrita recordings are generally regarded to be the best. On MusicWeb International, multiple reviewers seem to think the Handley cycle is the best. Lloyd-Jones’ cycle seems generally agreed upon to be the weakest (though not by far), though it has received some positive reviews on Amazon in particular. It just goes to show how much variety of interpretation can be applied to Bax’s music!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on July 15, 2019, 05:41:26 AM
I prefer Thompson to Handley's cycle fine as they both are.  I just feel Thompson's sonics are more in keeping with the mysterious moodiness of the material.  Regardless, both and Naxos cycles are very fine.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2019, 08:55:16 AM
I prefer Thompson to Handley's cycle fine as they both are.  I just feel Thompson's sonics are more in keeping with the mysterious moodiness of the material.  Regardless, both and Naxos cycles are very fine.
I tend to agree with this. Many people rate the Handley cycle as preferable to Thomson in the VW symphonies but I much prefer Thomson's recordings.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on July 15, 2019, 11:03:07 AM
I know of the Vaughan Williams film but have not seen it. I think there is a Mahler film too which again I have not seen.

I very much enjoyed the evocative Elgar film in black and white first shown by the BBC on their Monitor series in 1962 (I have the DVD). Russell also featured Delius in a film which is good.

The Russell/Bax film is AWFUL!!!!! Indulgent rubbish and ignorant about the subject.  Arty nonsense......
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on July 15, 2019, 12:51:21 PM
I'm listening to Thomson's recording of Bax's Fifth,right no! I think I,marginally,prefer this to the Lyrita recording,great as it,almost certainly,is! I love the way he gets that funny,dancey bit in the first movement (Oh g*d,I wish I was a musician,at times like this!¬ ::) Do,you know the bit I'm referring to,vandermolen? !I'll have to look at the booklet!!) And the sound quality is so sumptuous. It brings out all the glory of Bax's orchestration. The opening is superb. And I love the way he brings out the legendary,quality of the music. No wonder I was so captivated by this as a teen! :) I also think Thomson has the edge,on Lyrita,in No1! But they're both marvelous!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 16, 2019, 12:26:53 AM
I'm listening to Thomson's recording of Bax's Fifth,right no! I think I,marginally,prefer this to the Lyrita recording,great as it,almost certainly,is! I love the way he gets that funny,dancey bit in the first movement (Oh g*d,I wish I was a musician,at times like this!¬ ::) Do,you know the bit I'm referring to,vandermolen? !I'll have to look at the booklet!!) And the sound quality is so sumptuous. It brings out all the glory of Bax's orchestration. The opening is superb. And I love the way he brings out the legendary,quality of the music. No wonder I was so captivated by this as a teen! :) I also think Thomson has the edge,on Lyrita,in No1! But they're both marvelous!
Well cigwyn, I'm listening to Symphony 5 right now (Leppard) and am eagerly anticipating the 'funny, dancey bit' (coming up in a moment I think). I remain loyal to the Leppard recording and feel that the mysterious, brooding and gloomy opening is unrivalled and that the whole performance has an especially 'legendary' feel to it which I find captivating. It was much the same for me with Edward Downes's LSO recording of Symphony 3 with the LSO on an RCA LP (never transferred to CD - more's the pity). Also, the Leppard in its LP form, with that dreary purple abstract cover design, had a huge effect on my youthful self (as in your case too I think but perhaps with Thomson). The Thomson set is fabulous as well so I might give his recording of Symphony No.5 a listen to later.

Added later: the other thing that I especially like about the Leppard recording is that the 'liturgical theme' at the end of the work, with its affirmative sense of home-coming, is especially well realised - perhaps my favourite Bax moment in my favourite Bax symphony. No.5 is the most integrated of the seven I think.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Biffo on July 16, 2019, 01:00:17 AM
The Russell/Bax film is AWFUL!!!!! Indulgent rubbish and ignorant about the subject.  Arty nonsense......

Russell made his reputation with the Elgar and Delius films. After that he made numerous other films about composers - Strauss, Mahler, Bruckner, Martinu etc, some for TV others for the cinema.

Replace Russell/Bax with Russell/******** and add a composer of choice he made a film about.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 16, 2019, 06:07:22 AM
The big mistake Russell made was casting himself in the role of Bax. He can't act for toffee!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 16, 2019, 07:58:08 AM
The big mistake Russell made was casting himself in the role of Bax. He can't act for toffee!
There is a slight resemblance  8)

(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: cilgwyn on July 16, 2019, 10:06:43 AM
My thoughts exactly. The 2nd movement on this recording is superior in both interpretation and atmosphere. Definitely Thomson and his orchestra understood this epic music.
Yes,the second movement of Thomson's recording,in particular,blows the earlier Lyrita reading out of the water;in terms of sheer atmosphere and the thrilling grandeur,when the music reaches it's thunderous climax. I remember,as a youngster,how that passage just get going around in my head!
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 16, 2019, 10:23:18 PM
There is a slight resemblance  8)

(http://)

There is! Put it this way he couldn't have played Elgar or Delius.  ;)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on July 17, 2019, 01:19:46 AM
Two unrelated bits of Baxian odds and ends.  Has anyone ever seen/read the book "Magister" by Jonathan Wylie.  It is a very odd (not very good!) fantasy novel.  The author is in fact a husband and wife double act... not that that matters a jot either way.  The really curious premise here is about a young wizard from the "Royal Academy of Magic" who discovers the lost work of Sir Edward Beck.  Basically (and this is acknowledged not me making a connection that does not exist) the idea for the book comes from Magic = Music & Beck = Bax.  Like I say just a bit odd........

My 2nd unrelated bit of Bax - I collect Bax's published sheet music and today received one of the last things I do not have - the 6 works for Piano Duet bound together in ex-public library editions.  On one level I am delighted to have found this - really tricky to come across the 2 piano sonata for example.  But on another level yet another epitaph to the loss of the extraordinary institutions that were public libraries.  This set comes from my old "home" library in Liverpool which through the darkest and most deprived times in that wonderful city had an amazing public library with a remarkable music section.  Remember that musicians such as Vernon Handley relate borrowing scores by the dozen from local libraries to study unusual and rare works.  Perhaps its my age but I love holding a score - seeing the old print.  Resources like IMSLP online are astonishing but of course subject (quite rightly) to copyright restrictions.....
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 17, 2019, 01:42:44 AM
There is! Put it this way he couldn't have played Elgar or Delius.  ;)
Although he could possibly have played Tikhon Khrenninkov - an interesting potential subject for a Ken Russell film!
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 17, 2019, 06:46:13 AM
Although he could possibly have played Tikhon Khrenninkov - an interesting potential subject for a Ken Russell film!


Indeed. State before art.

Like Shostakovich, Bax always seemed to strike a serious pose when photographed. I love this as he actually appears happy enjoying a drink and company in an Irish pub.

(https://cdn-03.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-reviews/article36348528.ece/c396c/AUTOCROP/w620/2017-11-25_ent_36485886_I1.JPG)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 17, 2019, 08:14:55 AM
Indeed. State before art.

Like Shostakovich, Bax always seemed to strike a serious pose when photographed. I love this as he actually appears happy enjoying a drink and company in an Irish pub.

(https://cdn-03.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-reviews/article36348528.ece/c396c/AUTOCROP/w620/2017-11-25_ent_36485886_I1.JPG)
That's a lovely photo of Bax which I've never seen before. Thanks for posting it Lol. Bax actually lived in 'The White Horse' pub in Storrington, not too far from here in his final years.There is a commemorative plaque on the outside of the pub and a few Baxian bits and pieces inside.
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on July 17, 2019, 11:00:19 PM
That's a lovely photo of Bax which I've never seen before. Thanks for posting it Lol. Bax actually lived in 'The White Horse' pub in Storrington, not too far from here in his final years.There is a commemorative plaque on the outside of the pub and a few Baxian bits and pieces inside.
(http://)

That looks a nice pub Jeffrey. No wonder Bax had a ruddy complexion living on the premises for twelve years!

The "Running Horse" a short walk from where I live is Elinor Rumming's ale house in the first portrait of Vaughan Williams "Five Tudor Portraits".
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 17, 2019, 11:40:12 PM
That looks a nice pub Jeffrey. No wonder Bax had a ruddy complexion living on the premises for twelve years!

The "Running Horse" a short walk from where I live is Elinor Rumming's ale house in the first portrait of Vaughan Williams "Five Tudor Portraits".
Interesting Lol. The Five Tudor Portraits is a work I have come to appreciate more in recent years.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on July 18, 2019, 12:12:35 AM
(https://cdn-03.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-reviews/article36348528.ece/c396c/AUTOCROP/w620/2017-11-25_ent_36485886_I1.JPG)

Thinks: "how am I going to get out of this tight corner?"
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 18, 2019, 12:41:10 AM
(https://cdn-03.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-reviews/article36348528.ece/c396c/AUTOCROP/w620/2017-11-25_ent_36485886_I1.JPG)

Thinks: "how am I going to get out of this tight corner?"

Hahaha
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 20, 2019, 05:50:32 PM
Looking at the interesting photos shown here lately, I found this very cool one surfing on the web:

(https://i.imgur.com/q5oSOOB.jpg)

Three striking composers (Alwyn, Bax and Rubbra) + Barbiroli + an unknown gentleman for me.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on July 20, 2019, 09:07:24 PM
Looking at the interesting photos shown here lately, I found this very cool one surfing on the web:

(https://i.imgur.com/q5oSOOB.jpg)

Three striking composers (Alwyn, Bax and Rubbra) + Barbiroli + an unknown gentleman for me.
It's the composer Bernard Stevens Cesar (composer of the 'Symphony of Liberation'). That nice photo also appears in the Dutton CD of Alwyns's first and second symphonies.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 22, 2019, 04:47:28 PM
It's the composer Bernard Stevens Cesar (composer of the 'Symphony of Liberation'). That nice photo also appears in the Dutton CD of Alwyns's first and second symphonies.

Good to know, Jeffrey. Thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: relm1 on July 25, 2019, 03:11:20 PM
Bax's Symphony No. 2 first movement is marked "Molto Moderato".  What the hell does that mean?  Strongly medium?  It's sort of like saying molto mezzo-piano.  That's a bit nonsensical.  Forcefully medium.   ??? :o ::) :-[
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on September 14, 2019, 12:08:10 AM
I think a large donation from an English music enthusiast must have been made to an Oxfam store I regularly visit. Spoilt for choice!
I am not entirely convinced by the Bax symphonies although enjoying his tone poems and chamber works. My main gripe is that they to my ears can become diffuse at times. The complete Bryden Thomson set for a tenner was too tempting even with my scepticism. Well, there is nothing diffuse about the first symphony, a powerful work where Bax lets rip!   
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 14, 2019, 12:18:06 AM
I think a large donation from an English music enthusiast must have been made to an Oxfam store I regularly visit. Spoilt for choice!
I am not entirely convinced by the Bax symphonies although enjoying his tone poems and chamber works. My main gripe is that they to my ears can become diffuse at times. The complete Bryden Thomson set for a tenner was too tempting even with my scepticism. Well, there is nothing diffuse about the first symphony, a powerful work where Bax lets rip!
What an extraordinary bargain Lol! That Oxfam store sounds like an Aladdin's Cave! I like all the Bax symphonies, notwithstanding their diffuseness and hope you enjoy investigating those fine performances.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on September 14, 2019, 08:13:00 AM
What an extraordinary bargain Lol! That Oxfam store sounds like an Aladdin's Cave! I like all the Bax symphonies, notwithstanding their diffuseness and hope you enjoy investigating those fine performances.

The world seems to have moved on from CD (as it did for LP) so there are some bargains to be had. :)
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: SymphonicAddict on September 15, 2019, 07:09:56 AM
I think a large donation from an English music enthusiast must have been made to an Oxfam store I regularly visit. Spoilt for choice!
I am not entirely convinced by the Bax symphonies although enjoying his tone poems and chamber works. My main gripe is that they to my ears can become diffuse at times. The complete Bryden Thomson set for a tenner was too tempting even with my scepticism. Well, there is nothing diffuse about the first symphony, a powerful work where Bax lets rip!

Try his 5th Symphony. I consider it his most consistent, gripping and epic. 1 & 6 are my other favorites.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Irons on September 15, 2019, 10:36:33 PM
Try his 5th Symphony. I consider it his most consistent, gripping and epic. 1 & 6 are my other favorites.

Cheers. I will do that.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: aukhawk on September 15, 2019, 11:33:53 PM
I think you're over-selling it.  Are gripping and epic really Baxian qualities?
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: vandermolen on September 16, 2019, 12:09:19 AM
I think you're over-selling it.  Are gripping and epic really Baxian qualities?

In the case of the 5th (and arguably the 6th) Symphony I think so, especially in Raymond Leppard's performance of No.5.
Title: Re: Sir Arnold Bax
Post by: Roasted Swan on September 16, 2019, 01:27:22 AM
I think you're over-selling it.  Are gripping and epic really Baxian qualities?